Americans Schatz and Furr look to continue USA streak in Kele World Challenge. Memphis, TN - For the past few years, Donny Schatz and Brad Furr have ended their Pennzoil World of Outlaws seasons and jumped on a plane to Australia. The two...
Americans Schatz and Furr look to continue USA streak in Kele World Challenge.
Memphis, TN - For the past few years, Donny Schatz and Brad Furr have ended their Pennzoil World of Outlaws seasons and jumped on a plane to Australia. The two finished second and third in the prestigious World Series Sprintcars series last winter in Australia and both have become favorites in the land down under. The two drivers will also carry the favorite moniker into Friday night's Kele World Challenge which will be the final race in Friday's Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals.
"It's a great race for the fans and that's really what racing is supposed to be all about," said Schatz, who calls Fargo, ND home and is the defending Kele World Challenge Champion. "Roger Johnson and the folks at Kele continue to help racing grow and I'm pleased to help in that effort too. I've been going to Australia the last couple of winters, and the people really treat me like one of their own. Brad and I became friends racing in Australia last yea r, and I'd sure like to have a good battle with him to win the World Challenge. We were both right there in the World Series, but we came up short. Hopefully, we can keep the string of American winners going in the World Challenge."
Schatz will hope to repeat his run from the back of the field to victory in this year's World Challenge again driving his #15 ParkerStore J&J. Last winter, he drove for Luch Monte in Australia and won 11 times (7 World Series Wins plus the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic and $50,000 Summer Slam). He narrowly missed winning the World Series title, but comes into the Knoxville Nationals on a major roll after winning Saturday night's $100,000 Historical Big One.
Furr, who calls Pleasanton, CA, home when he's not traveling on the road with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws or racing in Australia, is having a solid season with the Outlaws in his #2 Sanmina Eagle. He won his first "A" feature at Texas Motor Speedway and is bidding to make his second Nationals "A" main lineup. He finished third in the Kele World Challenge in 2000 and is hoping for another good showing this year.
"I'm honored to be in this race again," said Furr. "Last year, we won three races and the Rookie of the Year title in Australia, and I'd like to help keep this sport growing by racing in Australia again this year. There is so much adrenaline going at the Nationals and with the fireworks that the World Challenge will bring, the fans will just go nuts. I hope we can make a run to the front like Donny did last year and Danny (Lasoski) did two years ago. We'll just go out and do our best."
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, and the Kele Companies of Memphis, Tennessee.
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. The top 16 eligible drivers in the top 106 in points will then be inverted for the start of the Kele World Challenge race, with the remaining drivers 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 earn the title of "best world sprint car driver".
In 2000, Danny Lasoski became the third American to win the Kele World Challenge and first to win both the Kele World Challenge and Warrambool's Classic in the same season. In the 12-lap race, Danny Smith took the early lead, but couldn't hold off a hard-charging Lasoski, who started eighth in the event.