Kemenah Wins Final At Manzanita

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Chad Kemenah put his name in the history books on Saturday night, as he led all 30 laps en route to winning the final World of Outlaws event at the legendary Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. The victory for the 2006 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, also marked the first World of Outlaws win for his car owner Jon Kantor of Oklahoma.

Kemenah earned $10,000 for the third victory of his World of Outlaws career and the first since 2006. He battled the two winningest drivers in World of Outlaws history for the victory, with Sammy Swindell challenging him early in the race and Steve Kinser in the later going.

“This is really special,” said Kemenah. “I wanted to get the first win for the race team and I wanted to get it for Jon Kantor. He has given me the opportunity to come out here and compete against these guys every night. I told him we would get one and now hopefully we can one after another. That would be very nice. We need to consistently run up front.”

Kemenah added his name to a legendary list of drivers that have won at Manzanita Speedway over the 50-plus years the track located at the corner of 35th and Broadway has been in existence. He became the 12th driver to win an A-Feature with the World of Outlaws at the half-mile, as he piloted the Kantor Oil Company Maxim to a win in the second heat race and a win in the Crane Cams Dash to earn the pole position for the 30-lap main event.

“I went and took some dirt for the kids at home,” shared the native of Findlay, Ohio after celebrating with his crew in Victory Lane. “My wife doesn’t get to come out here very often, so I am taking some stuff home for her and the kids. I’m sure they were at home on the internet listening tonight.”

The race began with Kemenah and Swindell drag racing into turn one with Swindell taking the lead, though the first caution of the night came out before the full lap was in the books, leading to a compete restart. The second start saw Kemenah jump to the lead in turns one and two, as Swindell had his hands full with 2001 World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski as the duo battled for the second spot. At the same time, Steve Kinser began his march to the front, after gaining a couple of spots on the first lap.

A couple of more cautions before the first 10 laps were in the books, gave Kemenah open track to work with. He used strong restarts each time to pull away from Swindell who looked low in turns one and two each time on the restarts.

The final caution of the night flew with seven laps remaining as second-place running Sammy Swindell had a right rear tire go flat, as the leaders were negotiating lapped traffic. Kemenah used a strong restart to pull away from Kinser and wound up winning by over two seconds.

“I didn’t mind seeing the restart,” noted the winner. “When there is some rubber down, you are at the will of the lapped cars and sometimes it’s better to run second. It made me happy to see the caution come out and give me some clear race track.”

Kinser, who had 21 career wins at Manzanita Speedway, dating back to 1979, battled his longtime rival Swindell for a number of laps for the second spot a couple of different times over the course of the race. The native of Bloomington, Indiana was running second in the early going and looked to the inside of Kemenah on a lap-8 restart. He kept pace with Kemenah for a number of laps in lapped traffic, en route to a second-place performance, which moved him to within 11 points of three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz in the standings.

“We were pretty good,” said Kinser. “I got a little loose and with the rubber coming in, I was afraid to burn the tire off, so I went a little conservative.”

Kinser gained a lot of ground on Kemenah on the 16th lap, when a slower machine bottled him up, allowing Swindell to dive under him and for Kemenah to extend his lead. He tried everything he could late in the race aboard the Quaker State Maxim to track Kemenah down, after having a close call with a lapped machine that allowed Swindell to slip by him before he regained that spot late.

“I came up on him pretty quick and had to get out of the gas,” explained the 20-time series champion of his close call in traffic. “I really didn’t know what to do with him. It kind of got me messed up.”

Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, battled second-year driver Lucas Wolfe for a majority of Saturday night’s event, eventually coming home third in the Casey’s General Stores JEI to earn his fourth Top-Five finish of the season.

“I have to thank all the folks at Casey’s General Store and Don Lamberti,” said Lasoski. “We had to really baby this thing home. When Steve (Kinser) found the rubber before me, I knew we were in trouble. We didn’t have nearly a hard enough tire to run.”

Kraig Kinser started ninth and finished fourth in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim He got around Jason Meyers on the opening lap, before working on Terry McCarl and Lucas Wolfe.

“We were pretty good all night, other than in the dash,” he explained. “The driver was somewhere else for the dash, but we recovered well. We had a good car in the feature. We just started too far back.”

Wolfe wound up fifth in the Allebach Racing Maxim to earn his best finish of the season. Jason Meyers was sixth in the GLR Investments KPC, with Terry McCarl seventh in the Big Game Treestands Maxim. Jason Sides was eighth in the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim, with Johnny Herrera finishing ninth to earn the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award. Craig Dollansky rounded out the Top-10 in the Direct TV Maxim for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Schatz, who lined up sixth in the Armor All J&J spun on the third lap, restarted at the tail of the field and worked his way back up to 15th to retain his lead in the series championship standings.

The World of Outlaws return to action on Friday, April 10 at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas followed by a stop at Houston Raceway Park for the Texas Shootout on Saturday, April 11.

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