After many years of running his own operation, Chad Kemenah feels the weight has been lifted off his shoulders. With his brother, Brian, turning the wrenches and the backing of Rob Hunter Racing he is focusing on being a race car driver again.
With only one caution in the feature, that deft focus came into play as Kemenah patiently worked through lapped traffic to secure his first All Star Circuit of Champions win since 2005 Saturday night at Mercer Raceway Park. It was his 28th career victory with the series.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve won one of these All Star races, but hopefully its a sign for maybe a lot more to come,” Kemenah said. “I think I have the greatest car owner out there and that helps.”
|Mercer winner Chad Kemenah in action at Lernerville Friday night.
(Pat Miller Photo)
Kemenah, who also won Fred Rahmer’s race at Path Valley last Sunday, took the lead from Lee Jacobs on lap 17 and didn’t relinquish it. The Findlay, OH native had to bide his time and pick off lapped cars one by one as the likes of Cody Darrah, Dale Blaney and Jacobs were in hot pursuit.
“I just tried to pace myself,” Kemenah said. “At this place if you get to pushing it too hard that’s when you get yourself in trouble.”
“We had a real good race car. I have to thank J and J for building us some great cars.”
|Darrah finished 2nd at Lernerville and Mercer
(Pat Miller Photo)
Jacobs, the dash winner, and Eric Williams had the front row for the 30-lap main event with Jacobs getting the early jump. Williams, coming off a very impressive performance at Lernerville the night before, challenged Jacobs for the lead several times early on. On lap eight as the duo approached the back of the field, Williams got a bit above the cushion in turn three and spun out. Williams was able to restart the race, but his hopes of picking up his first All Stars victory were dashed.
After the race resumed Kemenah, the 2002-2005 ASCoC champion, worked his way into second place and eventually made the winning move. Jacobs then had a spirited duel with Dale Blaney for the runner up position. While they battled for several laps, Cody Darrah reeled them both in and made a bold move to the inside on the backstretch to go from fourth to second.
Darrah closed in on Kemenah, but never really challenged him for the win. He settled for the runner up spot for the second straight night. Jacobs rounded out the podium, followed by Ed Lynch, Jr in fourth, and Jack Sodeman, Jr in fifth. Lynch and Sodeman both took advantage of a late bobble by Blaney, who finished sixth.
Blaney set a new track record in qualifying with a time of 13.241.
Jared Zimbardi, Dan Kuriger, Sodeman, and Lynch won the heat races which were dominated by local drivers. Kuriger drew the pole for the dash, but his car wouldn’t fire. The gremlin in the 08 couldn’t be conquered so Kuriger took the green in Davey Jones’ 76 car. He ran a couple of laps and went pit side.
Young gun Parker Price Miller took the checkers in the B Main.
Other feature winners included George Hobaugh Jr, who staved off a challenge from Brandon Spithaler to win the outlaw sprint warriors, Tim Burns in the stocks, and Jason Darocha in the modified lites.
Feature Finish- 30 Laps (Starting Position in Parenthesis)
1. Chad Kenemah (5) 2. Cody Darrah (3) 3. Lee Jacobs (1) 4. Ed Lynch Jr (8)
5. Jack Sodeman Jr (4) 6. Dale Blaney (7) 7. Brandon Spithaler (16) 8. Cole Duncan (6)
9. Greg Wilson (12) 10. Ryan Smith (14) 11. Tim Shaffer (11) 12. Jared Zimbardi (9)
13. Sheldon Haudenschield (18) 14. Paige Polyak (19) 15. Danny Smith (20)
16. Brandon Matus (22) 17. Travis Philo (26) 18. Parker Price Miller (21) 19. AJ Flick (24)
20. Danny Holtgraver (13) 21. Adam Kekich (15) 22. Andrew Palker (17)
23. Caleb Helms (25) 24. Eric Williams (2) 25. Dan Kuriger (10) 26. Scott Priester (23)