Kennison sells 2006 car to Kyle Busch, preparing new Distance-built entry
for 2007 PASS North Series schedule

OXFORD, Maine (Feb. 5, 2007) – One of NASCAR's hottest young stars has purchased a Maine-built Pro Stock car, and one of Maine's most promising short track drivers is taking his program to the next level.
Kyle Busch, driver of the Kellogg's Chevrolet for respected NASCAR stalwart Hendrick Motorsports, has recently purchased a 2006 Distance-built Pro Stock car from Oxford native Chris Kennison. Busch has plans to compete in selected Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South races in 2007 and a few races in Las Vegas when his schedule allows.

Kennison, who ran part-time in the now-absent Pro Stock division at Oxford Plains Speedway in 2004, then full-time in 2005 and 2006, has purchased a 2007 car from well known and respected car builder Jeff Taylor (Distance Racing), hired veteran crew chief Brian Burgess and is planning a full-time assault on the 2007 PASS North series schedule.
The western Maine-based racer tested the waters of PASS last fall with strong results, running as high as second place in the prestigious PASS 300 at the famed Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Just before traveling to Fairfield to pick up his new car, Kennison sat down to talk about his recent sale to such a high-profile racer and his plans for the 2007 PASS season. The former motocross racer has also assembled a fine group of marketing partners for the upcoming season.
"The sale of the car came about through a friend of my new crew chief," says Kennison. "Seth Holbrook, who is Mike Rowe's crew chief on the PASS tour, is friends with Kyle and talks to him periodically. In one of Kyle's calls to Maine recently he asked Seth if he thought Distance could possibly build him a new car.
"As everybody involved in this sport knows, Jeff (Taylor) is incredibly busy up there at Distance and really couldn't set aside time to build him one in a timely fashion. So Kyle asked Seth if there was a nearly-new one out there somewhere he could buy, and Seth contacted Brian about the availability of my car. Seth called Kyle shortly after and gave him my price, he agreed to it, and I had his check within two days."
For now, Kennison and Burgess have stripped the body off the car Busch purchased and will take it to Taylor's shop where a new one will be mounted. The car will then be stored at the Kennison race shop until Busch decides on exactly when he will have it delivered to North Carolina.
Busch has driven Distance-built Pro Stock cars on three separate occasions, twice for the now-defunct SP2 team at Oxford and once last fall in Derek Ramstrom's car at South Boston, Virginia, in the inaugural Mason Dixon Meltdown. Of particular interest is the fact that Hamke cars are built not far from where Busch lives; in fact several other brands of chassis were readily available to him in a moment's notice. Yet he specifically chose a Maine-built Pro Stock from Distance Racing.
I thought a word from the chassis-building guru himself was in order. How did it feel to know one of NASCAR’s hottest stars wanted one of HIS cars to race on the side? And how many PASS North races will we see him (Taylor) compete in during 2007?
"It's pretty cool, I guess," says the forever-humble nine-time OPS champion. "He (Busch) probably could have had any chassis he wanted, even a complete car furnished for him. The fact he bought one of ours says a lot about our work and makes me very proud. We've got a lot of great customers up here who have done well, Mike and Ben Rowe, Cassius Clark, Corey Williams and many others. In fact, Ben almost won last month's Speedfest 200 in Lakeland, Fla., then got hit from behind late in the show."
It goes without saying that Taylor's cars have won a ton of races, thanks in part to quality workmanship, dedicated teamwork and skilled drivers.
As for his plans behind the wheel in 2007, you might be surprised.
"As of right now, we have no plans to race at all. I'm just so busy here at the shop (20 new cars on order), plus things have changed within my family so there really isn't the time to go race anymore. I'm going to stick with building cars for our great customers, and hope they enjoy a successful season with them."
Customers like Kennison, for example, who talks about his 2007 plans with a great deal of excitement yet also a sense of reality and cautious enthusiasm. A quick study, Kennison has figured out the three keys to success in motorsports; good equipment, experienced people and team chemistry.
"Right now, our plan is to run the full PASS North schedule," he explained. "That is what Brain (Burgess) and I have discussed, and that's what we'll do unless something really big comes up and bites us. We're excited about the opener at Beech Ridge (April 21) after running so strong there last fall. I think Brian is a little nervous about taking me to Speedway 95, only because I have no experience there. But we'll be alright once I get the place figured out."
The 15-race 2007 PASS North schedule presents a challenge to every team, offering a variety of tracks with different lengths and configurations to keep both drivers and crew chiefs on their toes. For Kennison, that challenge means being prepared each and ever week. The addition of Burgess to his team increases his chances for success in a big way.
"Brian has the knowledge and talents to take my program to new heights. He has his own shock dyno, everybody is always after him to do their shocks – plus his overall chassis knowledge is second-to-none here in the northeast. I'm thrilled to have him here, and hope to utilize his skills throughout the season. With a little luck, that will translate into some good finishes."
And no successful race team would be where they are without the help of marketing partners/sponsors to make it all happen. Kennison Competition has enjoyed the support of Thule trailers and accessories since it came into existence in 2004, as well as Kennison Real Estate. Chris added Cole-Man's Concrete of Oxford, Maine, to his program last fall.
Also on board is Old Port Press out of Portland, and new this winter is United Sports, a snowmobile, clothing and trailer retailer/distributor in North Turner, Maine. United Sports also has a large snowmobile museum as part of its complex that must be seen to be appreciated.
And so, with his program in order and plans coming together, Kennison hovers a few feet off the ground this winter, thinking about the possibilities in the months ahead.
"I try not to get too excited, but we do have a lot to look forward to this year. Brian is ready for the challenge, and so am I. Our realistic goal is to finish somewhere in the top 10 on a consistent basis, and I believe we can do that. It's going to be an interesting summer."