Defending Outlaws Champion headlines field for Kele World Challenge. MEMPHIS, TN - The Kele World Challenge is a unique event that is designed to encourage sprint car drivers from around the world to showcase their talents. On August 9th, 20 ...
Defending Outlaws Champion headlines field for Kele World Challenge.
MEMPHIS, TN - The Kele World Challenge is a unique event that is designed to encourage sprint car drivers from around the world to showcase their talents. On August 9th, 20 sprint car drivers are expected to be taking part in the 16-lap Kele World Challenge race, which will be the highlight of Friday night's action during the 42nd Annual Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals.
With entries being received from some of the most accomplished sprint car drivers in the world, this year's Kele World Challenge promises to be one of the best in its history.
The 2001 sprint car season was a dream one for Danny "the Dude" Lasoski. Lasoski claimed his first Pennzoil World of Outlaws championship and also claimed his second Knoxville Nationals crown. For years, Lasoski did everything possible to get a full-time ride with the Outlaws and in 1998 he became a championship contender. In 2001, he teamed up with NASCAR star Tony Stewart and built a formidable team that had a dream first season.
Lasoski, who won the 2000 Kele World Challenge, started 15th in last year's race and finished fifth.
"We just got beat last year," said Lasoski. "We tried something that was totally radical and I'm not sure if the car didn't like it or I didn't like, but it didn't work. We're not going to try and reinvent the wheel this year. We're going to come out and see if we can win it like we did two years ago."
The growth of Sprint Car Racing continues to climb and annually more Americans go race in Australia, and more Australians come to race in America during their "off-season". Lasoski wants to race as many times as possible and the opportunity to win an event like this at Knoxville means even more.
"I love to race and that's another chance we get to be on the track in front of an unbelievable crowd," claimed Lasoski. "Roger Johnson and all his people have done a great job of identifying the importance of international racing, and we're really happy to be a part of it."
Following last year's WoO championship, Lasoski traveled to Australia in late January to compete in the Grand Annual Sprint Classic at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia. By doing so, he qualified for this year's Kele World Challenge.
"I raced for a legend in Garry Rush at last year's Classic," said Lasoski. "It was really a thrill for me to work with him, but unfortunately we didn't have the kind of run we wanted. I think we made a couple of laps and the thing just shut off. I don't know if we ever pinned down exactly what went wrong, but racing over in Australia is a great thrill for me."
Lasoski is one of 80 drivers eligible to compete this year's race as the drivers became eligible by competing in either the Gold Cup Race of Champions, the Williams Grove National Open, Warrnambool's Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, or Western Springs's Pacific Sprint Car Championship.
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Kele O.E.M. of Memphis, Tennessee, Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, and Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia.
RACE FACTS: Twenty drivers are expected to enter this year's Kele World Challenge and the lineup will be determined by qualifying points for the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals. In order to qualify for the 16-lap race, an eligible driver 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 a part of the 16-car invert for the start of the Kele World Challenge race, with the drivers outside of the top 106 tagging the dash lineup in order by points.
THE FIELD: 20 drivers are expected to enter the race including: Brent Antill (USA), PJ Chesson (USA), Max Dumesny (AUS), Brad Furr (USA), Jeff Hodgson (CAN), Skip Jackson (AUS), Lynton Jeffrey (AUS), Chad Kemenah (USA), Danny Lasoski (USA), Ricky Logan (USA), Kerry Madsen (AUS), David Murcott (AUS), Peter Murphy (AUS), Daryn Pittman (USA), Donny Schatz (USA), Jeff Shepard (USA), Danny Smith (USA), Brooke Tatnell (AUS), Tommy Tarlton (USA), Kurt Winker (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 the first event, Max Dumesny of Nelson, New South Wales, Australia, accumulated 693 points from both events and was crowned champion. He collected the $1000 bonus for winning the title. Australians Brooke Tatnell, Skip Jackson, and Garry Brazier claimed second, third and fifth while American Danny Smith finished fourth.