Settling In: Kemenah Continues to Mesh with Hard 8 Racing It's never easy to take over the reigns of a different car in the middle of a season, especially for an injured driver but, that is what Chad Kemenah recently did as he joined Hard 8 ...
Settling In: Kemenah Continues to Mesh with Hard 8 Racing
It's never easy to take over the reigns of a different car in the middle of a season, especially for an injured driver but, that is what Chad Kemenah recently did as he joined Hard 8 Racing prior to the World of Outlaws event at I-55 Raceway on July 7.
In just a handful of starts with the team, Kemenah continues to gain momentum and gel with veteran crew chief Ray Brooks.
Kemenah will have a chance to build on the solid foundation that the team has established this season with Zach Chappell behind the wheel, prior to the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender sustaining a knee injury earlier this month. Kemenah will head to the high-banked Lebanon Valley Speedway on Sunday, July 22 for the second of three races this season for the World of Outlaws in the state of New York.
Kemenah, the reigning World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, finished fifth in the race at the half-mile last season, one of his 27 Top-10 finishes he recorded in his first full season on the road with the series. He picked up his first Top-10 with Hard 8 Racing at the famed Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway last weekend in just his fourth start in the car, with a very solid field of 51 cars in attendance.
"We've been very fortunate to run pretty well up at Lebanon Valley," said Kemenah, driver of the Kantor Oil Company XXX. "Going back with a new team, I am excited to head up there and hope to have a strong finish."
The event at Lebanon Valley will be the fourth race in-a-row on a half-mile track for the World of Outlaws, after competing for three straight nights at Williams Grove Speedway in the Summer Nationals. Last weekend, the series competed at Eldora Speedway, which also is a high-banked half-mile. Kemenah is quick to point out just how important time trials are on half-mile tracks in determining how the rest of the night will play out.
"We hope to get our qualifying turned around," he noted. "We are racing pretty good and we just have to get qualified better. Lebanon Valley is known for getting slick pretty quick. It's kind of like a high-banked Williams Grove with the long straightaways and the corners the way they are. Hopefully we can go up there and have a good run."
Kemenah has been able to settle in quickly at Hard 8 Racing thanks in large part to veteran crew chief Ray Brooks. He also brought his nephew A.J. with him as they had been working together for Kemenah's team prior to him joining Hard 8 Racing.
"Ray (Brooks) is really great to work with," said Kemenah. "Not only is his experience helpful, but as a person he is great to work with. It makes it all a little easier. Jon Kantor and his wife Linda who own the car, and who I recently met for the first time are great people. We're having a lot of fun and we just have to start racing a little better."
For Kemenah this is the third different car that he has driven this season. He began the season driving for Premier Motorsports, before fielding his own entry. When the opportunity came about to join Hard 8 Racing after Chappell's injury, Kemenah thought long and hard before making a decision.
"It was unfortunate for Zach and I hope his leg heals quickly," said the native of Findlay, Ohio. "He is too young to have something like that happen to him. It was not tough for me to join the team, knowing what the other option was and that is paying all of your bills. Right now we are just taking it one day at a time and we'll see what happens."
Kemenah has driven three different chassis' as well this season. He began the season in a J&J for Premier Motorsports, before driving a Maxim for his own team, and now is piloting a XXX for Hard 8 Racing. Being a veteran of the sport he is able to quickly adapt to whatever type of chassis he is running. On the season, he has eight Top-10 finishes and also has one quick time honor to his credit this season.
"They make all the cars so close now, that it really doesn't matter," explained the four-time All Star Circuit of Champions titlist. "That's the least of the worries. The race cars are similar and our job is to just keep getting better. We just have to qualify a little better. Like I said, we are not racing bad, we're just having a tough time getting qualified."
The World of Outlaws are in the midst of a stretch of five races in five days at three different tracks, which Kemenah believes is an advantage for the team as they continue to mesh and work together.
"The more we can race together the better we can hopefully get going," he stated. "It's just like walking. If you walk enough, eventually you can run. Hopefully we'll see that happen for us."
After three intense nights of racing at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania, Kemenah knows that another strong field of cars will be in place at Lebanon Valley Speedway and that includes the other 22 drivers currently following the World of Outlaws full-time, as well as a couple of the drivers from Pennsylvania who will make the trip East. Once he straps his helmet on and tightens the belts, it does not matter to Kemenah who he is racing against.
"You try to look at every race track the same," Kemenah said. "We are all here for the same reason and that is to win. I would have to say that this is the toughest year ever out here. When you have this many race cars out here it is tough. The whole season so far has been tough competition-wise."
On Sunday, July 22 at Lebanon Valley Speedway reserved tickets will be $25, with general admission tickets $24