Chad Kemenah has done a whole off-season’s worth of work over the last few weeks. After parting ways with Premier Motorsports earlier this month, the native of Findlay, OhioFindlay, Ohio has been working endlessly to build cars, and get everything in place, as he will complete the season fielding his own machines with the World of Outlaws. The reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year will head to the storied Dixie Speedway in, Woodstock, Georgia this Saturday, March 31, for the first time to do battle on the high-banked 3/8-mile oval in “The Hardee’s Southbound Showdown,” aboard the No. 3X machine.
While Kemenah has spent countless hours in the shop lately, he has had plenty of helping hands chip in, and that is one of the things he is most proud of. It has truly been a team effort in putting everything together, and hitting the road for the four race swing through the South that will conclude this weekend.
“We had some I guess you would call it mass confusion for about two weeks,” said Kemenah. “I think we have everything pretty much organized now. We’re building up some more race parts. I just have to thank everybody that pitched in and gave me a hand. There was a lot of people that came together. I have to thank Chuck Merrill from Maxim Race Cars, and especially my father-in-law (Bob Hampshire). He supplied me with some motors and a lot of help, as well as Greg Wilson’s team, and my brother-in-law. Just all kinds of people pitched in and helped us get to where we are.”
A break in the schedule earlier in the month, worked perfectly for the four-time All Star Circuit of Champion title winner, as it afforded him and his team time to return to OhioOhio to work in the shop. After the cross-country trip from the ArizonaArizona desert, they quickly began putting a new car together in time to make the long haul south to the Lone Star State Lone Star State.
“We really needed that week off after Arizona,” he explained. “We went down to Texas and over to Mississippi, and we weren’t really organized. We made both races and on the second night had a pretty fair run. We were pretty happy with that. We went home and just got organized.”
Kemenah is getting acquainted to driving a Maxim Chassis, after running a different car to start the season, as well as a different brand last season. Under the hood, he has Hampshire Racing Engines, built and maintained by his father-in-law. Each time he straps into the car, he learns different things about how it responds and feels like he is getting up to speed pretty quick.
“Most cars are pretty much the same, but have some differences,” explained Kemenah. Maxim cars are pretty comfortable. I haven’t run them a whole lot, but just last weekend I got comfortable. That is a plus. It seemed like we weren’t struggling real bad, and that makes you feel a lot more comfortable.”
For the fourth race in a row, Kemenah will visit a track for the first time, when he enters the pit gate at Dixie Speedway on Saturday March 31. After visiting numerous facilities from coast-to-coast for the first time last season in his maiden season with the World of Outlaws, he has learned to quickly adapt to tracks he has never seen.
“When you go to a place for the first time, you have to try to get it figured out as quick as you can,” he commented. “There will be quite a few people that haven’t raced at Dixie. There will be a bunch of us on the same page. Hopefully we’ll get it figured out pretty quick, and we need to start getting some good finishes.”
In just his second race in his own car, Kemenah picked up a very solid 12th-place finish in MississippiMississippi two races ago. He began the night by turning in the 15th fastest lap in time trials, with a very stout field of cars on hand. This put him in the heat race inversion, and he earned a spot in the A-Feature by way of a strong heat race finish. In his first race out in the car in Houston the night before, he finished a very solid fourth in the third heat race to earn a spot in the A-Feature.
“It was a great boost to run strong at Pike County (Miss.),” he stated. “Like I said before, we went down there and it was kind of mass confusion, and we came out of there pretty good.”
With the quantity and quality of cars on the road this season with the series, Kemenah stresses the importance of turning two good laps to start the night in time trials. He also points out how important heat races are, and how vital it is to transfer from those into the A-Feature each night.
“Qualifying is very important right now,” Kemenah said. “You definitely have to get inside the inversion to get into the front of the heat race. If not, you at least want to get qualified for the feature through the heat race, and stay out of the B-Main. The B-Main right now look like A-Mains anywhere.”
After this weekend, Kemenah is looking forward to returning to the Midwest for a number of races, including next weekend in Missouri where he won his first World of Outlaws A-Feature in 2005. Also, a number of races in the Buckeye State of Ohio dot the schedule in the month of April.
“We get to race around home pretty soon, and in the next month are around home quite a bit,” he said with confidence. “Those are race tracks that I have raced on quite a bit. Hopefully we can use that for a little momentum and get rolling for the rest of the season.”
On Saturday March 31 at Dixie Speedway, pit gates will open at 3 p.m., with grandstand gates opening at 5 p.m, and hot laps are set for 7 p.m.
Advance grandstand tickets for the event are available by contacting the track at: 770-926-5315. Advance adult grandstand tickets are $27, youth 9-17 years old are $10 with children 8-under admitted free of charge. Tickets are $5 higher at the gate on race day. Discount coupons are available at participating Hardee’s locations.
Pit passes are $40 with children 11-under $15, and trackside/tailgate section tickets are $35 per person with children 11-under $15. (Available only at the gate on race day)
For more information on tickets, visit http://www.dixiespeedway.com.