Memphis, TN-July 25, 2003- Kele World Challenge (KWC) veterans "Skip" Jackson and Danny Smith are hoping to dethrone Donny Schatz, the two-time and defending race winner, and become KWC champion again. The duo are the "iron men" of the race ...
Memphis, TN-July 25, 2003- Kele World Challenge (KWC) veterans "Skip" Jackson and Danny Smith are hoping to dethrone Donny Schatz, the two-time and defending race winner, and become KWC champion again. The duo are the "iron men" of the race which will take place at Knoxville Raceway on Friday, August 15th. Neither man has missed competing in the international challenge since it inception in 1994.
Skip Jackson, from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, is third on the all-time KWC money list. Danny Smith, from Danville, Indiana, is second on the list. Both men have won the event. Jackson won in 1998, 1997 and 1995. Smith reigned as champion in 1996.
"Racing in Australia is great because it keeps us in practice year-round," says Smith. "It is great to leave the chilly weather here in Indiana in January for the warm weather of Australia."
Jackson likes the warmer weather, but January in Australia means going home. "I really love going home and racing for the fans down there," says the Sydney native. "Australia is home and it will always be a home event, though I spend more time here(in the United States) now. This year I was able to take my wife and kids down to see my brothers."
Both men have been quite successful in their many years in the sport. Danny Smith first raced in Australia during the 1982-83 season and hasn't missed a Knoxville Nationals since 1978.
"We love racing in the Kele World Challenge because of the interest that we receive from the fans and the financial bonus," stated Smith. "Racing in Australia is also a good way to make money doing what I love during the winter."
Can Jackson or Smith unseat Schatz? "We have finished second two out of the last three years," smiled Smith. "As long as we have good equipment, we believe that we may have a car that can win the Kele World Challenge."
"Every year, it seems to get a little bit bigger and a little bit better," says Jackson. It will be tough to get to the front from the back. Donny Schatz has done it the past few years. We will give it our best shot. Anything is possible."
Skip Jackson and Danny Smith are household names in the racing community in Australia. Smith has more wins (6) at the Classic at Premier Speedway in Warrnambol than any American. He is second only to the Aussie master, Garry Rush, who has seven wins at the Classic. Skip Jackson has won more championships in Australia and the United States than any other current Kele World Challenge driver. Jackson was named Australian Sprintcar Champion in 2001. He won the World Series Sprintcar Championship in 1999, 1998 and 1997. He was also the Knoxville point champion in 1998 and 1997.
KELE WORLD CHALLENGE PICNIC
Fans will have an opportunity to meet their favorite drivers Tuesday, August 12th, at 1-3 p.m. at the Kele World Challenge Picnic located in the pavilion outside of turn four of Knoxville Raceway on the Marion County Fairgrounds. The picnic is a free event and is open to the public. The annual event is a great way for drivers and fans to come together and get a break from the stress of race week. You might even catch a glimpse of the King of Rock and Roll. The free event is sponsored by Knoxville Raceway.
KELE WORLD CHALLENGE ON TV
Portions of the Kele World Challenge are scheduled to air during the live television broadcast of the 43rd Annual Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals, presented by Visit Australia. The Knoxville Nationals, with associate sponsors Wirtgen America and Factory Motor Parts, will be televised live on the Speed Channel beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, August 16th.
WHAT IS THE KELE WORLD CHALLENGE?
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Knoxville Raceway, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville, Iowa and the Kele Companies of Memphis, TN. Kele World Challenge qualifying races were held at the Gold Cup Race of Champions in Chico, California, the Williams Grove National Open in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic in Warrnambool, Victoria (Australia), the International Sprint Car Series in Western Springs, a suburb of Auckland (New Zealand) and at the special Canadian only Qualifier held at Knoxville Raceway this past Spring.
Drivers line up in inverted order according to Knoxville Nationals qualifying points. Competitors then have only sixteen laps to attempt to claim the $10,000 first place prize.
TRADITIONS OF THE KELE WORLD CHALLENGE
There are many traditions that accompany the Kele World Challenge. Most of the ideas for the traditions come from the various countries that the participants are from. The national anthems of the various participating countries are sung before racing every night during the Knoxville Nationals. It is the raceway's way of thanking the fans and participants for traveling to the Sprint Car Capital of the World.
The idea for ropes that are used to pull out the participants of the Kele World Challenge comes from Warrnambool, Victoria (Australia). At the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic in Warrnambool, the ropes are used to pull cars across the track to prepare them to be pushed off. In Knoxville, ropes are used to pull the sprint cars around the track during a parade lap to allow fans to get a better look at the cars and their drivers. It is also the Kele World Challenge's way and our driver's way of saluting the fans while stealing a page from Warrnambool's tradition.
The tradition of having the participant's flags on the cars during the parade lap began last year. The idea came from CART, IRL and the Olympics. The flags help recognize the drivers and their homelands. The idea for the use of fireworks during the presentation came from Paramatta City Raceway in Sydney, NSW where bright white fireworks were set off on the front and backstretches of the track to celebrate the end of the race.
Music from the movie "2001 - A Space Oddessy" was added to the Kele World Challenge for the opening parade lap. The music suggests a global theme of nation against nation racing for the glory and gold at the Sprint Car Capital of the World.
P.S.: It worked for Elvis and the organizers are proudly from Memphis, Tennessee.