Al Kenny Delivers Canadian First!

Remarkable and rewarding might be the best words to describe the accomplishments of Canada’s Al Kenny during 2012. The Kingston Ontario native prevailed to win NHRA’s Lucas Oil World Championship title – and with that became the first Canadian driver to accomplish that within NHRA drag racing…..

Driving his Dan Page built/Gary Stinnett powered dragster within NHRA’s 8.90 indexed Super Comp category, the 60-year old veteran racer wrapped up that very hard fought championship during NHRA’s season-ending race (the AAA Auto Club Finals) held at Pomona California in early November.

Al Kenny’s Dan Page built/Stinnett-powered dragster was wicked consistent throughout 2012.

In fact Al battled right down to the wire with another Canadian racer, BC’s Stefan Kondolay, for the coveted title. When Kondolay (from Chilliwack) had a .002 foul start in the 4th round at Pomona it assured the title for Kenny. In the final national points tally for the enormously competitive class that features razor thin win margins, Kenny edged Kondolay by a scant 22 points (612 to 590).

Kenny had entered the final race of the very strategic and calculated long season knowing he could not claim any additional points and that Kondolay controlled his own championship fate.

Al’s son Jason Kenny played a major part in the overall team strategy that earned a NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp World Championship

“Stefan (Kondolay) could still catch and pass me with final round finish at Pomona,” Al reflected. “We tried to get into the lanes for a first round with Kondolay but that did not work (and almost never does). So the ladder was set up that only Samantha (my daughter) would have a chance to stop Kondolay in the 5th round if they both made it that far. As the race went on, Kondolay got three free ones during rounds 1-2-3 (two opponent red lights and a no show) and all I could do was watch. But Samantha also won three rounds which set up a 4th round match against Shane Molinari, the driver of Kondolay’s team car.”

After a prolonged pre-stage duel, Samantha used a big holeshot to defeat Molinari and thus eliminating the chance of an all ‘team car’ 5th round for Kondolay. The very next pair featured Kondolay himself versus Matt Constant and it was right then and there that the title was decided.

“With Stefan going red – Carol and I and Jason went wild,” Al admitted. “I remember the announcer saying “and that makes Al Kenny the 2012 Super Comp World Champ” and that was just amazing. It’s very hard to put the feelings into words. I’ve been racing for 39 years (since 1974) and for any drag racer, a NHRA World Championship is the ultimate prize.”

For Al and his son/tag team racing mate Jason the 2012 racing season was filled with highlights and important wins. It should not be overlooked that this Lucas Oil World Championship title for Al Kenny came in a class category that features arguably the most participants overall, and the highest talented pool of skilled drivers and tuners in all of drag racing.

NHRA’s Lucas Oil Sportsman racers (including Super Comp) can collect points towards the World Championship from within 8 divisional and 6 national event races each season. They can claim their best finishes from 5 divisional and 3 national events towards their season total.

Wife Carol and daughter Samantha coaxed many a winlight for Al Kenny during 2012!

Dissecting the season as to all the keys to the creation of the 2012 title is difficult. However according to Al Kenny some moments stood out more then others.

“We had a really good season start with the win at Maple Grove and followed with a runner-up at Lebanon Valley in our own division,” Al surmised. “Then the win at Norwalk’s national event was very big because that was my last national event I could claim points at. When I needed a good finish – I got it. So after Norwalk, I began to start thinking that I might have a shot at the title — I was certainly thinking “top ten” was possible for sure. Then after that I had a 5th round finish at Englishtown’s divisional race which really put me in a good spot. So when I headed west for the races at Las Vegas I was pretty focused. Both of those events at Las Vegas (the divisional and national) proved to be really nerve wracking. But when Jason beat Kondolay in the first round, in retrospect that proved to be HUGE! Jason then went on to win the race and all that was a tremendous big boost to our confidence.”

“I’m 60 years old, but feel great — so we’ll keep chasing it for a few more years,” Al triumphly added.

Ontario’s Al Kenny – Canada’s top rated “sharped dressed man”!

Editors Note: Want a real measure of Canadian Super Comp racing class competence? How about the fact that in addition to the 1-2 finish for the world title by Al Kenny and Stepan Kondolay — Al and Jason Kenny  finished 1-2 in the NHRA Northeast geographical division one and Stepan Kondolay and Mike Shannon (Kelowna BC) finished 1-2 within NHRA’s Pacific Northwest division six!  Yes — Canada knows dragsters — impressive for sure!

Posted by: Bruce Biegler

Photos by: Bruce Biegler & courtesy of Teresa Long