New Zealander Kerry Jones & Canadian Rick Wilson Bring International Talent To Kele World Challenge MEMPHIS, TN - The Kele World Challenge is an event that has been designed to encourage sprint car drivers from around the world to showcase their...
New Zealander Kerry Jones & Canadian Rick Wilson Bring International Talent To Kele World Challenge
MEMPHIS, TN - The Kele World Challenge is an event that has been designed to encourage sprint car drivers from around the world to showcase their talents. Next Friday's 16-lap Kele World Challenge will be the highlight of Friday night's action during the 41st Annual Amoco Knoxville Nationals.
This year, Kerry Jones will make history by becoming the first driver from New Zealand to compete in the Nationals, while Rick Wilson will carry the torch for Canada as he makes his Nationals debut.
Kerry Jones arrived in the US only a couple weeks ago and is beginning to get his feel for racing on American dirt. The native of Waiuku, South Auckland (NZ), will be piloting his #1NZ sprinter next week in his first Nationals and is thankful to be racing in the Kele World Challenge.
"This is going to be really exciting for me," said Jones. "We race at Western Springs Speedway and qualified for this event. I know that caliber of drivers here is going to be incredible. We're just hoping that we can be competitive and make all of the New Zealanders proud. Wille Kay, from Western Springs, was a big help in this deal and I can't thank him enough."
Jones competed last weekend at Knoxville and will race again Saturday at the legendary half-mile oval.
Rick Wilson has been racing sprint cars in the Northeast for the last several years and last fall he competed in the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway, which qualified him for the Kele World Challenge. Wilson, who will represent Canada in next Friday's Kele World Challenge, is excited about making his first visit to Knoxville and competing.
"We're really excited about coming out and racing," said Wilson. "We don't race 410's too often, but last weekend we went to Port Royal and really had the car going fast. It will be an honor to race with guys from all over the world and see what we can do. I guess to me it's sort of like the Olympics, and maybe we can bring back the "Gold" to Canada."
Wilson will drive Charlie Price's #27 J&J at the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals and he's hoping to catch on quick. "We've raced a lot of the big half-mile tracks in the Northeast, so we've got a little bit of experience. I know we're going to be in awe of everyone there, because we'll be on the track with the best in the business. We're just hoping to run well and learn a lot, so that we can come out every summer."
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia, and Kele O.E.M. of Memphis, Tennessee.
RACE FACTS: Seventeen drivers have entered this year's Kele World Challenge and the lineup will be determined by qualifying points for the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals. In order to qualify for the 16-lap race, an eligible driver (one of the 17 entered) must compete in the Nationals and earn points on either the Wednesday or Thursday qualification nights. Those eligible drivers in the top 106 in points will then be fully inverted for the start of the Kele World Challenge Dash, with the drivers outside of the top 106 tagg ing the dash line-up in order by points.
THE FIELD: 17 drivers have entered the race including: Terry McCarl (USA), Jason Meyers (USA), Danny Lasoski (USA), Brooke Tatnell (AUS), Christi Passmore (USA), Donny Schatz (USA), Danny Smith (USA), Brent Antill (USA), Rick Wilson (CAN), Skip Jackson (AUS), Tommy Tarlton (USA), Chad Kemenah (USA), Max Dumesny (AUS), Peter Murphy (AUS), Kerry Madsen (AUS), Kerry Jones (New Zealand), and Fred Rahmer (USA).
EVENT HISTORY: Since 1994, drivers that have competed in both the Knoxville Nationals and Warrambool Classic have been challenging to be the best "world" sprint car driver.
In 2000, Danny Lasoski became the third American to win the Kele World Challenge and first to sweep both the Kele World Challenge and "The Classic" in the same season. Danny Smith took the early lead, but couldn't hold off a hard-charging Lasoski, who started eighth in the 12-lap race. FINISH: 1. Danny Lasoski, 2. Danny Smith 3. Brad Furr 4. Donny Schatz 5. Randy Hannagan 6. Kerry Madsen 7. Skip Jackson 8. Peter Murphy 9. Chad Kemenah.