CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Utilizing a last corner pass to secure his place in Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions victory lane, Dave Blaney scored the Open Wheel Championships victory on Saturday night at Atomic Speedway.
Blaney drove under race leader Chad Kemenah at the exit of turn four for a $10,000 payday.
Blaney, pilot of the familiar Mohawk Northeast/Motter Equipment/Beltline Body Shop/No. 71m, started outside the front row and raced within the top-three the entire distance.
After swapping positions with Lee Jacobs to re-secure second after a lap 18 caution, Blaney’s focus was solely on Kemenah, soon chasing down the defending Arctic Cat All Star champion in traffic, ultimately setting up his last corner pass for the five-figure pay check. Kemenah led the first 29 and 3/4 circuits before losing the top spot to Blaney.
“I think his car was definitely better,” Blaney said about Kemenah. “He got hung up in traffic and I was able to get a lucky break. I feel bad for Chad. I’ve lost some races that way and it really sucks. Regardless, I’m really excited for my guys. We don’t get to race a whole lot, so to come out here and win is big for us; this is a big night.”
Despite starting from the front row, Blaney’s trip to victory lane was not conducted flawlessly. The Ohio native, who now calls North Carolina home, battled early with Lee Jacobs, actually losing the runner-up position to the 1881 Racing entry on lap 10 just as the leaders entered traffic for the first time. A pair of cautions on lap 18 and lap 19 bundled the field back together allowing Blaney to return the favor and slip back by Jacobs during the lap 18 restart.
By lap 26, Blaney worked his way to the rear bumper of Kemenah, closing a near-straightaway advantage. The pair raced nose-to-tail for the final five circuits, all before Blaney was able to poke his nose and drive under the Hunter Racing/Seneca Energy/DKW Transport/No. 10H.
“This is hard to do,” Blaney said. “These guys are good and they are racing from top to bottom. To end up standing here is pretty surprising and pretty awesome.”
Dave Blaney, Chad Kemenah, Cale Thomas, Lee Jacobs, Dale Blaney, Joey Saldana, Cole Duncan, Cap Henry, Tim Shaffer, Carson Macedo, Spencer Bayston, Travis Philo, Rico Abreu, Danny Smith, Caleb Armstrong, Josh Baughman, Jimmy Stinson, Tony Stewart, Brandon Wimmer, Max Stambaugh, Ryan Smith, Jordan Mackison, Caleb Helms, Ryan Myers.