2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Chad Kemenah Stability is one of the many keys pieces of the puzzle that are necessary to be successful with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, and Chad...
2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Chad Kemenah
Stability is one of the many keys pieces of the puzzle that are necessary to be successful with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, and Chad Kemenah is anxious to begin the new racing season with some added stability after having a very tumultuous 2007 campaign.
The 2006 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year drove three different cars including his own machine during the course of the 2007 season. In July he joined forces with Hard 8 Racing and just when it appeared his luck was turning around, he suffered a concussion during the Knoxville Nationals, which forced him to miss the next three events.
Once back in the seat, he and the team began building and preparing for the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series campaign. With the new season here, Kemenah is ready to hit the road for the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. Led by new crew chief Mike Cool, a veteran of the sport, Kemenah is very eager to take to the track in the Sunshine State.
"We're really looking forward to the season," said Kemenah. "I feel like we have a very good team in place. We hi\red a good mechanic in Mike Cool. I think things will look a lot better for us than they did in the last year."
The Hard 8 Racing Team, owned by Jon Kantor, has relocated from its base in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Kemenah's shop in Findlay, Ohio. This will allow them to return to the shop a number of times during the season to regroup, and also to have a chance to keep up-to-date with all of the parts and pieces they need to have stocked in their trailer for the always demanding World of Outlaws season, which will keep them on the road for weeks on end.
"It's going to help out a lot, especially with all the travel back and forth," he noted. "Ohio is very centrally located when you are rolling in and out of states and you can roll through and if you need something at the shop, there it is. We won't need to go all the way back to Oklahoma. It was Jon's (Kantor) idea to bring the team up here, because its more friendly to World of Outlaws racing, travel-wise than Oklahoma was."
Last season, Kemenah finished 17th overall in the championship standings with the series, on the strength of 13 Top-10 finishes. He earned a season-best third-place finish at Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky on a very chilly April evening, driving his own No. 3X. He matched that with a strong third-place performance for at K-C Raceway in Ohio in late July that saw him battle two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz, 20-time title winner Steve Kinser and Terry McCarl for the lead, before a national television audience. It was the best World of Outlaws finish for Hard 8 Racing in their first full year on the road with the series.
"We're trying to get a lot more organized for this season," said the four time All Star Circuit of Champion titlist. "When you run with the World of Outlaws, you can't do it half-winded. We joined the team halfway through the year last year, and I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I knew we had to get a few things together to compete at that level. Jon's given me the opportunity to do that and I can't ask for anything more than that from a car owner."
Kemenah is excited to begin the season with the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. He has had several strong runs at the half-mile during his career, including winning the World of Outlaws season opener there in 2006.
"It's a big thing to try and get momentum built right away," he said. "With the level of competition that the World of Outlaws has right now, you have to be on top of your game. If you get behind the eight-ball, you can stay behind there for quite a while. Hopefully we can get a good start and carry momentum through the season."
Kemenah will compete a number of times this season on tracks in his home state of Ohio, including at: Attica Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway, K-C Raceway, Limaland Motorsports Park and Sharon Speedway. Having competed full-time with the series for the last two years, he has had the chance to compete at a variety of tracks from coast-to-coast as well as in Canada, and he looks forward to continuing to add to that list this season.
"I always enjoy racing around home, but I also want to get to where we enjoy going anywhere to race, because we know we are competitive," said Kemenah. "It is nice to race around home, because I grew up on a lot of the Ohio tracks. Hopefully with the way we are approaching it this year, we can be competitive anywhere."
Kemenah enters the 2008 season with two career Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature wins and seeks to add to this total. He is confident in the team that Hard 8 Racing has assembled and all of the hard work and countless hours they have put in this winter working in the shop.
"We want to win some races, and that is one of our goals," said Kemenah. "At the end of the season, I want to be in the Top-10 in points if not better. Having a new crew chief and learning to work with him will be a key. Hopefully we can get everything going and run well and win some races for Jon Kantor."
Kemenah began the season by competing in the 22nd Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma and will head to Florida early to turn some laps prior to the World of Outlaws season opener.