Kemenah Earns His First World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory Pevely, MO -- July 9, 2005 -- Car after car tried to knock down the wall in Turns 1 and 2 Saturday night at I-55 Raceway, but the wall took a defiant stand and threw every car back...
Kemenah Earns His First World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory
Pevely, MO -- July 9, 2005 -- Car after car tried to knock down the wall in Turns 1 and 2 Saturday night at I-55 Raceway, but the wall took a defiant stand and threw every car back onto the track, some upright and some not.
Chad Kemenah and Donny Schatz didn't chance it. Instead, they set up their cars to work on the bottom of the high-banked 1/3-mile oval. While Shane Stewart started on the pole and powered his way along the cushion, which in some spots was the concrete fence, Kemenah and Schatz tip-toed along the very bottom and found themselves finishing first and second.
For Kemenah, a three-time champion with the All Stars, it was the first World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory in his career. Kemenah, Stewart and Jason Solwold thrilled the packed stands with side-by-side, back-and-forth duels before Stewart finally succumbed to the concrete, flipping in Turn 2 with 12 laps to go.
Stewart tried to recover, especially to keep pace in the March to the Mean 15, but one lap later he looped his car in Turn 2 just as Solwold surged in front of Kemenah for the lead. With the lap not complete, Solwold was moved back to second and on the restart Kemenah shot to the front as a wild scramble for second ensued. Solwold fended off Schatz, Steve Kinser and Brooke Tatnell, but the slicing and dicing never let up.
Kemenah, who surprised everyone by going high on that final restart, quickly moved back down when he realized the peril of challenging the wall and began to pull away. Schatz raced his way along the bottom and was strong enough to catch and pass Solwold for second. Then Tatnell moved down to a middle groove and got Solwold for the third on the final lap with Kinser hanging on for fifth in the 40-lap feature.
"This is probably my biggest win," said Kemenah, who has been the fastest qualifier on three nights this season with the Outlaws before collecting $10,000 for winning Saturday night. "Knoxville was really cool last year to run second, but when you can say you won your first Outlaws race, that's in the elite there."
"Me and Shane got going there for a while and it was really good for the fans. I had to stay on the bottom because I didn't think I could get around the outside of him. I saw him get tangled up with the fence. I didn't want to see that. I wanted to try to beat him while he was running but I'll take it whenever I can get it."
Nobody was more surprised than Schatz when Kemenah went high on the final restart, but without any mirrors in a sprint car, Kemenah had no idea who was running directly behind him, only knowing that most of the cars were trying to get around on the top of the track.
"When you're leading you don't have any idea where you're at," said Kemenah, of Findlay, Ohio. "I went up there just to try to get the car as wide as I could. I don't care how it happened, I was the first one to the checkered flag. I've been so close, I'm just tickled to death."
"We do concentrate on that All Star deal, but we like to come race with these guys whenever we can because we feel it makes our whole team better."
Schatz's second-place run, one night after winning at Route 66 Raceway, signals that he definitely has his program turned around as the series heads into the Month of Money.
"We just need to put up good finishes," said Schatz, a four-time feature winner this season. "I guess at the end we were there. There were a lot of cars better than us, but they made mistakes on the last couple of laps. I really thought I was going to get him there. With two laps to go I got to second and started to catch him a little bit and he got off the bottom and that's where I was good. I just got overdriving it, I guess. That happens from time to time."
What benefited Schatz the most is the knowledge he can't run on the top at a track like I-55 Raceway. He never even considered running that line during the night.
"I know I can't run up there and do it smoothly on a track like this so I just don't do it," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D. "I guess a lot of those other guys are better at it. Ten years ago I could, today I can't. That's just the way it is. If you know you're not going to be any good there or it's going to jerk you around and you're going to get in trouble, get away from it. I watched the modified race and a lot of those guys got in trouble up there. That's not my kind of racetrack anymore."
By sneaking into third, Brooke Tatnell extended his advantage in the March to the Mean 15, a five-race challenge to determine the newest member of the Mean 15. Tatnell now owns a 16-point lead over Solwold, a 26-point lead on Stewart and a 32-point lead on Terry McCarl.
"It was cut and dice," said Tatnell, a native of San Souci, New South Wales, Australia, who moved into the Top 10 in points despite missing four races in February. "It was one of those deals where you had to keep moving around. I was good on the top and made a bad decision on the restart to go to the bottom and lost three or four spots. I got back on the top and had to work twice as hard to make up those three spots we lost.
"The cushion was the fence. It was a foot-wide cushion and if you hit it wrong it would suck the front end into the fence. You couldn't really slide up and hit it. You sort of had to be on it or just below it, but you couldn't slide up to it. I feel bad for Shane because he had a good run going."
Solwold posted his most impressive run since he finished second in a preliminary feature in April at Eldora Speedway. Solwold was clearly determined to push his to the front, and had the cautions not worked against him, he might have been the one celebrating his first Outlaws victory. Instead, Solwold will settle for knowing that he jumped from fourth to second in the March to the Mean 15 with three races to go.
"That last yellow with 11 to go, I was actually catching up to Kemenah and I had a pretty good rhythm going," said Solwold, a former track champion at Skagit Speedway and native of Mt. Vernon, Wash. "Then we had the restart and I drove it in hard a couple of times trying to catch him and backed up to fourth, but that was the closest we felt to winning all year. I felt we had something for him. I liked the feeling so hopefully it will come back around."
"The cushion was hard. If you didn't hit it just right, something was going to happen to you. You'd bounce the front end over and into the wall. I got a little antsy after that last yellow. But we made it home in fourth. It's another good top 10 finish and that's what we need right now."
Points-leader Steve Kinser earned his 28th top-five finish this season, riding the cushion and surviving the wild finish.
"It had a real bad cushion on it," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind. "It was grabbing everybody. It was so slick to it, you just slide to it and hit it. If you ran in there too hard and hit it you could get upside down real easy. I'd run in there hard enough where I could hit it but it wouldn't upset but it wasn't going to turn me over. I'd like to run a little bit harder, but I wasn't working that good and I had a little too hard of a tire on."
The Outlaws have a few days to catch their breath before the intensity picks up with the Brad Doty Classic on Wednesday at Attica Raceway Park and then the King's Royal festivities next weekend at Eldora Speedway.
THE MARCH TO THE MEAN 15
On the second night of the March to the Mean 15 featuring Brooke Tatnell, Shane Stewart, Terry McCarl and Jason Solwold, Tatnell just edged Solwold at the line to grab third. Stewart led the most laps in the A-main and stood to gain the most ground until he took a wild tumble in Turn 2, one of many drivers to bounce around on the high side. Stewart wound up 17th with McCarl also taking on the wall in Turns 1 and 2 and finishing 14th.
The remaining three races to determine the newest member of the Mean 15 are the Brad Doty Classic Wednesday at Attica Raceway Park, the Knight Before the King's Royal July 15 at Eldora Speedway, and the Don Martin Memorial July 19 at Lernerville Speedway.
I-55 RACEWAY NOTEBOOK
I-55 Raceway is a 1/3-mile oval. Last night's race was the 10th this season on a track that size, including preliminaries, with five different winners. Chad Kemenah earned the first World of Outlaws victory in his career Saturday night. Steve Kinser won twice at Eagle Raceway and at Grandview Speedway, Tim Shaffer captured A-mains May 6 at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo., and Feb. 25 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. Craig Dollansky won at July 6 at Powercom Park and Feb. 26 at Bakersfield Speedway near Bakersfield, Calif. On April 2, Kraig Kinser won at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo.
When Chad Kemenah took the checkered flag Saturday night at I-55 Raceway, he became the 13th different winner this season on the Outlaws circuit. Steve Kinser leads the way with 12 victories, most recently winning June 18 at Eagle Raceway in the 22nd Annual Eagle Nationals. Kraig Kinser won his fourth A-feature of the season in June at Knoxville Raceway. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. Donny Schatz also has four A-feature victories, at Parramatta, Las Vegas and Houston and Joliet, Ill. Brian Paulus won Tuesday night at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season. He also won June 1 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Tim Shaffer picked up his second win of the season May 6 at Lake Ozark Speedway. Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature victory of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora. Tim Kaeding earned a World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park. Brian Paulus raced to a victory June 1 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Daryn Pittman was the winner April 23 at 81 Speedway in Wichita. Craig Dollansky has won two features, most recently at Powercom Park, and a preliminary, while Brooke Tatnell won a feature at Cedar Lake Speedway and Jeff Shepard won a feature at Volusia Speedway Park. In Preliminary Features, Danny Lasoski has won twice and Joey Saldana has won once.
In the Stacker 2 Dash to set the inside top six rows of the A-main, three of the drivers in the March to the Mean 15 took the green flag, but for the second night in a row Shane Stewart took the checkered flag to earn the pole for the feature. Jason Solwold was second, followed by Chad Kemenah, Brian Paulus, Brooke Tatnell and Steve Kinser.
In the second Dash that set the outside top six rows of the A-main, Kraig Kinser began his quest for a repeat at I-55 by easily taking the checkered flag. Craig Dollansky, a feature winner on Wednesday at Powercom Park, finished second, followed by Danny Lasoski, Friday night winner Donny Schatz, Daryn Pittman and Paul McMahan.
In the B-main, fast-qualifier Joey Saldana quickly powered to the lead as Jesse Hockett cut into second. Saldana was too strong for the field, motoring back into the lead after three cautions. Hockett held onto second with Terry McCarl settling for third and Jimmy Hurley earning the final transfer spot to the feature.
In the first heat, Jac Haudenschild raced the Dennis Roth-owned No. 83jr to the front in Turn 2 and held off Jason Sides to the checkered flag. Kraig Kinser cruised to the finish in third with Shane Stewart in fourth. The race for the fifth and final transfer spot was intense as Joey Moughan fought off the night's fastest qualifier, Joey Saldana.
In the second heat, Tim Shaffer shot to the front as Steve Kinser dove from fourth to second. Pole-sitter Jesse Hockett then blew a motor, moving Chad Kemenah up a spot. On the restart, Shaffer rushed back to the lead and held off Kinser as the field raced the rest of the way single-file. Wimmer finished third, Danny Lasoski was fourth and Kemenah fifth.
In the third heat, Jason Meyers and Tim Kaeding raced side-by-side into the first turn before Meyers slid in front down the backstretch. Meyers, Kaeding, Donny Schatz and Jason Solwold pulled in front leaving Paul McMahan and Terry McCarl to fight for the final transfer spot. With McCarl on the cushion, McMahan powered through the low groove. The two were side-by-side coming off of the final turn with McMahan blowing a motor but still barely holding off McCarl at the checkered flag.
In the fourth heat, Jeff Shepard and Brian Paulus raced to the front as Brooke Tatnell, Daryn Pittman and Craig Dollansky went three-wide down the backstretch. Paulus edged in front on Lap 4 and drove to the checkered flag. Tatnell was second, followed by Hockett, Dollansky and Pittman.
Joey Saldana paced the 32 cars that went through time trials with a lap around the 1/3-mile oval in 10.509 seconds at 114.187 mph. Stevie Smith owns the track record in an Outlaws event after turning a 10.189-second lap on March 30, 2002.
"It's good because our motor still isn't running very good," Saldana said. "I know we qualified fast time, but I don't think Pevely is a track where you know if your motor really runs. We just ran a nice clean lap and we went out early, but I think we're still fighting some motor issues and hopefully we can get it figured out before Eldora."
The Outlaws next head July 13 to the Brad Doty Classic at Attica Raceway Park and then next weekend to Eldora Speedway for the prestigious Knight Before the King's Royal and the King's Royal.
The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 13 the Duel in the Dakotas from Rede River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D.