Kemenah wins Speedweek title at Eldora

It wasn’t on the level of the Malachi Crunch, but Chad Kemenah knew he’d might be facing a 1-2 punch from the father-son duo of Jac and Sheldon Haudenschild at Eldora Speedway on Saturday.

The eight-race, nine-day Ohio Sprint Speedweek came down to a winner-take-all finale at Eldora. Kemenah trailed Speedweek leader Sheldon Haudenschild by two points. He also knew Jac Haudenschild was as tough as they come at Eldora.

Kemenah ended up splitting the difference. He beat out Sheldon for the Ohio Speedweek championship, but finished third in the $10,000-to-win feature behind winner Jac.

Kemenah secured the Speedweek title by 30 points over runner-up Sheldon, who got crunched himself when he shredded a right rear tire 12 laps into the 30-lap feature. Sheldon finished 17th, seven laps behind the leaders.

Jac defended the family name a few laps later. With Jac approaching Kemenah’s bumper, Kemenah tried to dive under a lapped car going into Turns 3-4. The lapped car also went low and the two nearly touched. Jac took advantage of Kemenah losing momentum, stayed on the high line and raced into the lead.

“I just guessed wrong there on the last car,” Kemenah said.

Kemenah tried a couple slide jobs in the late laps – including pulling even with Jac on the final turn – but couldn’t pull off the slide job.

“Jac’s so good here that any slight mistake at all and he’s going to capitalize,” Kemenah said. “We’re not complaining. This is a really hard week and for our race team to come out on top, it’s says volumes about what we’re trying to do.”

The third-place finish kept Kemenah atop the All Star Circuit of Champions standings. He leads Dale Blaney by 14 points and Sheldon by 114.

“The big picture is the All Star championship. That’s the goal,” Kemenah said. “If we hang around the top three cars every time the wins will come. If not, we’ll hang around the top three and that’s fine, too.”

On Saturday, Kemenah led the first 12 laps and held a 3.4 second lead over Jac when the caution came out on lap 13. He never dropped out of the top three.

Tim Shaffer, who finished third at Speedweek, wrestled second place away from Kemenah in the waning laps. With four laps to go Jac, Shaffer and Kemenah were separated by just 1.4 seconds.

“You just want to win,” Kemenah said. “There’s a couple times I could have gotten ugly with Tim and passed him back. But you can’t wreck yourself out, either. You have to capitalize when you have bad luck because they’re going to do it when you have bad luck. … Anytime you can put your name on (a Speedweek championship), it’s really cool.”