2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Chad Kemenah Concord, NC-- January 25, 2009--After a tough 2007 season Chad Kemenah rebounded in impression fashion last season in his first full year behind the wheel for the Hard 8 Racing team,...
2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Chad Kemenah
Concord, NC-- January 25, 2009--After a tough 2007 season Chad Kemenah rebounded in impression fashion last season in his first full year behind the wheel for the Hard 8 Racing team, and he looks to build on that momentum this season as he returns to the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for the fourth consecutive campaign.
Kemenah has been busy in the shop all winter building cars and making sure all of the pieces are in place for the always grueling 80-plus race schedule that lasts nearly 10-month for the World of Outlaws season, beginning next week at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
"I'm ready to get going," said Kemenah. "It was nice to be around home and get to spend time with my wife and play with the kids. We are ready to get back racing and we started off the year by going out to the Chili Bowl. We are pretty excited for the season."
Kemenah recently began his 2009 season behind the wheel of a midget at the 23rd Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home state of his car owner Jon Kantor. On his qualifying night, Kemenah charged through the alphabet, winning the second C-Main, winning the second B-Main and coming from the 18th start spot in the A-Feature to finish sixth. He passed a total of 25 cars in those three events. He also raced his way into the 50-lap finale, a feat accomplished by just 25 of the over 250 drivers in attendance.
"Any kind of racing is good racing and helps you stay in shape," he noted. "It definitely can't hurt."
The 2009 season will mark the second full season for Kemenah with the Hard 8 Racing Team. He finished ninth in the World of Outlaws championship standings last season on the strength of 37 Top-10 finishes, with 13 of those being Top-Fives. He was among the Top-10 in laps led on the season and also set fast time in qualifying on four occasions.
"I think it will help having a full year together," explained the native of Findlay, Ohio. "Last year it was just my nephew A.J. and myself for a while out there, before we brought a kid from back around home on. This year we have someone hired so we are looking forward to it."
Looking to bolster the team, Hard 8 Racing has welcomed veteran crew chief (Dean) Bonzai Bruns to the fold as they look to build on the solid foundation they established last season. Having a bona fide crew chief on board will ease the duties that fell on Kemenah last season and will allow him to focus entirely on driving the car.
"We have Bonzai (Bruns) with us this year and hopefully having his knowledge and experience will help us get to victory lane," shared Kemenah. "He is someone that I have known for a while and really get along with, and that helps a lot, having people that get along on the road."
With the level of competition in the season opening Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park always at a premium, Kemenah looks to use some of his past experience and success at the half-mile to start off on a strong note in 2009. He won the season opener at Volusia in 2006 and also was victorious at the track in 2004. He has 25 career Top-10 finishes at the track, including two in World of Outlaws competition last season.
"I have been pretty fortunate to run well down there," he said. "Florida is always tough because of how many good cars always show up there wherever you race. Some of it is lady luck and some of it is having your stuff organized over the winter. You always want to come out of the box strong in Florida."
With one of the strongest fields ever assembled set to follow the World of Outlaws in 2009, Kemenah knows he and his team have to be on their game from the drop of the green flag in the first hot laps sessions at Volusia until the final checkered flag flies in the VAULT World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte some 80-plus races later.
"Any time that you go to an Outlaws race it will be tough," explained the 2006 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "It will never be easy. Hopefully it gets a little bit easier the more you go. We're just trying to get everything organized around the shop. Hopefully Bonzai and I can hit it off on the right foot. He came out a week early for the Chili Bowl and he and my father-in-law (Bob Hampshire) got things rolling pretty quick, so hopefully that is something to look forward to."
After coming close to winning several times in 2008, Kemenah has one main goal for this year and that is stand in Victory Lane. He enters 2009 with two career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins, as he looks to build on his ninth-place finish in points last season.
"We need to win races," he deadpanned. "I wanted to win last year and I felt like we had the car to probably win a couple, but things didn't fall our way. We have been out there paying our dues. This year hopefully we can get to victory lane once and after that more will follow."
The 2009 World of Outlaws season opens on February 6 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. For more information on the event, including tickets, visit: www.dirtcarnationals.com.