Thursday, 16 August 2018

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Taking their American racing campaign to the next level over the past week, the Keens Race Team contested six consecutive nights of racing at five different tracks throughout California and Oregon in the Northwest Speedweek Series, highlighted by a strong performance in round four at Sunset Speedway Park.

Having had a mixed run throughout previous rounds of the series, going up against some tough opponents on unfamiliar tracks, the fourth round of the series saw the team’s fortunes improve significantly, with Keen brothers, Daniel and Michael, both faring well, with Daniel lining up on the outside of the second row for the feature race, and Michael directly behind him in sixth.

Delivering one of his best drives of the six-round series, Daniel was running strongly in sixth; however, he was unfortunately unable to hold on to his position against some local heavy hitters, slipping back to finish just outside of the top 10.

Managing to make his way into third, Michael looked likely to score a podium result, but was not quite able to hold on to his position on a restart, ultimately crossing the finish line in an encouraging fifth and writing his name into the history books in the process, by becoming the first ever Australian to finish a feature race within the top five in a Northwest Speedweek Series round.

“To be in podium contention is a solid performance, and although it was disappointing to not grab a podium result, a top-five finish was still pleasing,” enthused Michael.

“Six consecutive nights of racing is a lot, so I can’t thank the whole team enough for their continued efforts. The experience we’ve gained is absolutely invaluable, so we’re really glad to have been able to participate in Speedweek.”

While their results at Sunset Speedway Park were certainly the highlight of the Speedweek Series for the Keens Race Team, consistent strong performances throughout qualifying saw both Daniel and Michael line up for each feature race over the six rounds.

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Commencing with the opening round at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in California, Daniel and Michael both made a strong start to their Speedweek Series crusades. While Michael lined up fifth for the feature race and Daniel seventh, it was Daniel who would greet the chequered flag first out of the pair, coming home ninth, while Michael finished one place behind his brother, after being sent rear of field for jumping the cushion earlier in the race.

Varied misfortune in round two at Coos Bay Speedway saw both brothers prematurely retiring to the infield, bringing their night to a disappointing end. Regaining their composure for round three at Willamette Speedway the following night, a tough feature race resulted in Daniel finishing 18th, after starting out of position 12, while Michael was unable to start the feature race, after qualifying in a pleasing seventh place.

Following their pleasing outing at Sunset Speedway Park, the fifth and penultimate Speedweek Series round at Cottage Grove Speedway produced some solid qualifying results for the team, with Michael collecting a heat-race win, before participating in the Dash, where he finished sixth, securing his starting position for the feature race. While Michael didn’t have the best of runs, greeting the chequered flag in 14th, Daniel was able to improve on his 12th-place starting position, coming home in 10th.

At the conclusion of the sixth and final Speedweek Series round at Cottage Grove Speedway, Daniel came home 11th from 10th in the feature race, with Michael finishing 20th, after a tough run from 18th.

For their next appearance, the Keens Race Team will be contesting this Friday night’s King of Kings event at Kings Speedway in California.

Keens Race Team would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting their maiden American racing tour: Dynamite Dan’s Cleaning Services, Keens Driver Training, Keenquip Race Gear, United Oil, Monster Graphics, and D&R Machining. Special thanks go to their mum and dad, Heather and John, and their grandparents, Paul and Kaye.

To find out more about the Keens Race Team and to keep up to date with their American campaign, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Keens Race Team.

Remaining 2017 Keens Race Team USA Schedule:

July 21
King of Kings - Kings Speedway (Hanford, CA)
July 22
Civil War Series - Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway (CA)
Placerville Speedway (CA)
July 29
Sprint Car Challenge Tour - Fernley 95A Speedway (NV)
August 3
360 Knoxville Nationals - Knoxville Raceway (IA)
August 4
360 Knoxville Nationals - Knoxville Raceway (IA)
August 5
360 Knoxville Nationals - Knoxville Raceway (IA)

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