One to Remember: Kemenah Recalls First Win at I-55 Chad Kemenah doesn't usually worry about remembering too many dates, but one that will always stick out in his mind, is July 9. That was the day last year when he won his first World of Outlaws...
One to Remember: Kemenah Recalls First Win at I-55
Chad Kemenah doesn't usually worry about remembering too many dates, but one that will always stick out in his mind, is July 9. That was the day last year when he won his first World of Outlaws A-Feature event at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri.
The series will be returning to I-55 for the second time this season on Saturday night, and though the date will be a day earlier, July 8 this year, Kemenah is still looking forward to it.
"That will definitely never leave my mind," he said. "When you get your first Outlaws win, that's something special. Hopefully we can enter the race this year on a roll."
The driver of the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle currently is seventh in series points, and leads the chase for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. Last weekend, he picked up two Top-10 finishes as the series rolled through the state of Kansas.
On Friday night at 81 Speedway, Kemenah qualified for the dash and lined up 10th in the A-Feature. When the checkered flag fell on the Wichita Twister Showdown, he was sixth. He backed that up on Saturday night at the Boot Hill Showdown at Dodge City Raceway Park with a solid ninth-place run.
On the year so far, he has five Top-Five finishes. Among those was a gutsy fourth-place run at Terre Haute on June 4, a day after sustaining a severe ankle injury at Eldora Speedway. In addition to this, he won his second career World of Outlaws event at Volusia Speedway Park in February on the opening night of the season.
Though he won at I-55 Raceway last year, Kemenah knows that it will be no walk in the park on Saturday. In fact, earlier this season when the series visited the high-banked 1/3-mile, he found himself in the B-Main. After racing his way into the A-Feature he battled all night long and walked away with a solid ninth-place finish.
"We've been really good there, but we also have been really bad," he said. "We know both sides of the coin, and what it looks like over there. It's a really neat race track and we look forward to going there every time we go over there."
The lap times will be some of the fastest that the series turns all season. The track record is 10.189 seconds and has stood since the 2002 season. Kemenah knows the importance of turning in two good qualifying laps, to set himself up for a good evening. Last season when he won at the track, he qualified second out of a tough 32-car field that was present.
"It's a place where you can pass really easily if you are good," said Kemenah of Findlay, Ohio. "It's a nice wide track and puts on a great show for the fans. When you go to Pevely, you know you are going to see one heck of a race. That makes it fun, when you are able to pass like that."
Kemenah and his team led by his crew chief and brother Brian, are working hard each day as they have embarked on the World of Outlaws trail full-time for the first time this season. He is no stranger though to being on the road as he raced 29 events with the series last season setting quick time on 8 different occasions. He accomplished all of this, while also winning his fourth straight title with the All Star Circuit of Champions.
"We just have to be a little bit more consistent," he said. "It's definitely a learning curve for us out here for the first time. We're doing alright and we'll get it figured out."
Though the he is always looking to gain a few more spots each night, Kemenah has been one of the steadiest drivers all season. In the A-Feature events he has qualified for this season, he only has finished outside the Top-15 on three occasions. Along with this, he has not had a finish below 15th since May 27.
Earlier in the season Mother Nature was one of the toughest competitors that the team faced, but as the summer heats up, they can now focus on racing the rest of the Mean 15.
"That's the biggest plus for the team, when you can simply race more," said Kemenah. "Racing is no different than walking. As soon as you can walk and the more you can walk, then you are going to run. Hopefully we can keep racing every night and that will make things better."
Before returning to his home state next week for a trio of races, Kemenah looks to continue to keep his momentum going at I-55 Raceway, which is co-owned by NASCAR star Ken Schrader. He knows he will have a battle on his hands not only from the rest of the Mean 15, but also the always tough weekly competitors from the area.
For ticket information about the I-55 race visit http://www.i55raceway.com or call 636-479-3219. On Saturday, reserved tickets will be $32, with general admission tickets $30, while children 12-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.