This Saturday night east Tennessee’s Wartburg Speedway will play host to one of the biggest Limited Late Model races ever seen in this area as a first place check made out in the amount of $4,370 awaits the eventual winner. The race is being jointly promoted by track owner and operator Raymond Shepard along with the family of the late Dylan Kennedy, who passed away just over one year ago.
The event will be held in Kennedy’s honor.
One of the drivers who figures to play a role in the outcome of the race for Steelhead Late Model machines is former 411 Motor Speedway track champion Jason Cardwell of Knoxville. Despite some bad breaks along the way, the driver of the No. 07 car has completed a relatively successful first half of the 2017 racing season. But he knows that winning such a big prize would go a long way toward improving his team’s outlook on the 2017 campaign.
“We’ve had some bad luck this year,” Cardwell explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “We’ve won three races but I feel like we could have won eight or nine. We’re working really hard and we’ve had a fast car all year, but we just keep having stuff go wrong at bad times.”
Cardwell knows that this weekend’s race will come with its challenges. The high-banked quarter-mile Wartburg Speedway has not always treated the veteran racer kindly.
“I’ve struggled some at Wartburg in the past,” Cardwell recalled. “It’s not been my best track for some reason. I haven’t really raced up there as much as I have at some of the other tracks around here and I just haven’t gotten a real good feel for that place. But for that much money, we’re going to go up there and give it our best shot.”
Cardwell’s family owned effort has had a good working relationship with Shepard in the past. As a matter of fact, the bottom of the No. 07 ride displays the name Cardwell-Shepard Motorsports on it. However, Cardwell knows that will not provide him any advantages once the green flag waves over the feature race on Saturday evening.
“Raymond and I have worked together before and everything, but he’ll make sure everything is run real fair,” Cardwell pointed out. “He’s been a good friend and supporter of ours but he won’t show us or anybody else any favoritism. We’ll have to be at our best to win there. I really appreciate Raymond and the Kennedy family for putting this race on for the Steelhead racers in this area.”
The 39-year-old would count this race as one of his career highlights if he is able to win it. But the competition will almost certainly be tough for such a big amount of money.
“It’s a big deal to run for that kind of money,” Cardwell declared. “We’re going to give it our best shot. You have to show up ready to run and make sure everything is right in your preparation. There will be cars from all over that will come and try for that purse but we’re going to do our best to beat whoever shows up. It ought to be some good competition. Whoever wins it will have to earn it.”