Kemenah Heats Up in World of Outlaws Return to Lawrenceburg
The Findlay, Ohio, native withstands Kraig Kinser in an epic, side-by-side battle
LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. – May 28, 2012 – The hottest race day of the season produced arguably the best feature in a special Memorial Day event.
Fighting temperatures in the mid-90s and high humidity most of the day on Monday, Chad Kemenah outlasted Kraig Kinser to claim the first World of Outlaws feature at Lawrenceburg Speedway since 2009.
“I seen Kraig get underneath me a couple of times and I figured we were going to win it or wear it,” Kemenah said. “Kraig, he’s an awesome race car driver. He could have probably pinched me off there a couple of times. He raced me like I race him I believe and that matters.”
The duo traded the lead several times and battled side by side for nearly three consecutive laps. With Kemenah maintaining his momentum on the high lane, Kinser hit his marks on the bottom groove to stay within striking distance of first place.
Kemenah snuck by at the flag stand on lap 30 and barely edged Kinser on the ensuing lap, when a yellow flag was waved for a spin by Cody Darrah in turn four. Kemenah chose the inside lane on the double-file restart – which he had to do twice after the initial attempt was called back for Donny Schatz starting too early – and pulled away to his second Outlaws win of the season.
“It’s hard to win these things,” Kemenah said. “You’re racing against Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, and Schatz and Joey (Saldana). They’re the best and they’re the best for a reason. Any time you win them, you cherish them because you just don’t know when the next one is going to be.”
The race was anything but a given for Kemenah, who caught a break when Danny Lasoski – who led the first 11 laps of the feature – pulled to the infield with a blown engine on lap 12. That gave Kemenah the top spot with polesitter Craig Dollansky in hot pursuit.
The first caution of the race happened on lap 14 when Darrah slowed dramatically in turn two. Kemenah rocketed to a sizeable advantage on the restart while Dollansky and Kinser traded slide jobs for the runner-up position for several laps.
Traffic began to play a role with approximately a dozen laps remaining as Dollansky closed to within a car length of Kemenah for the lead. However, Dollansky’s right rear tire blew going into turn one on lap 27 – ending his bid for the win.
The restart featured a wild battle between Kemenah and Kinser, who first found the lead as he exited turn two on the bottom of lap 28. Kemenah stayed on the cushion and the momentum carried him into the lead entering each corner, but Kinser’s bottom lane propelled him to the top spot exiting the turns.
“It was getting fun there,” Kinser said. “He was a little bit better than me on the top, could carry his momentum a little bit better and he pulled it off tonight.
“I couldn’t carry that much momentum around the bottom. I don’t know if I was a little too free everywhere so I wasn’t tight enough where I could carry momentum to keep up with him up top. I was just trying to run the bottom to make the track as short as I could and just try to keep the car straight and under control the whole time.”
Kinser led laps 28 and 29 by a nose, and at one point almost had his car entirely in front of Kemenah. But the outside lane prevailed and Kemenah led the lap prior to the caution with five laps remaining, giving him the opportunity to choose where to start on the double-file restart.
The inside lane proved effective as he easily drove into a comfortable lead by turn one before moving to the cushion for the remainder of the race. Kinser and Kyle Larson then put on a show to close out the final laps.
The duo swapped the runner-up position a handful of times before Kinser slipped by exiting turn four on the final lap.
“We definitely set up for the end there,” Larson said after a season-best third-place finish. “We were really good at the end. Maybe could have used another caution, but who knows I might have got hung out like Kraig did there on that last restart. I’ll take a third.
“It’s always satisfying just finishing in the top 10 with these guys.”
World of Outlaws points leader Steve Kinser placed fourth and David Gravel was fifth. Sammy Swindell, who set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 11.924 seconds, ended sixth with Kerry Madsen seventh and NASCAR star Tony Stewart eighth. Daryn Pittman finished ninth and Jason Sides rounded out the top 10.
Lasoski, Dollansky, Larson and Gravel each picked up a heat race victory, and Danny Smith claimed the Last Chance Showdown.
Lucas Wolfe utilized a provisional and charged from last – 25th – to place 14th, earning the KSE Hard Charger Award for the first time this season.