INDIANAPOLIS (July 31, 2012) – With the most of the Sprint car world focusing on next week’s 52nd Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, it might be easy to overlook this weekend’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series bullring battles at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway and Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. For Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), the weekend opener will be a homecoming race for Steve Kinser, who hails from Bloomington, and an opportunity to repeat for Donny Schatz, who won last year’s race in Kinser’s hometown.
Both events will be grueling tests for the TSR drivers. Friday’s race on the quarter-mile dirt oval in Bloomington will challenge their abilities to maneuver through traffic on the tight track. Schatz, who won the Outlaws’ most recent race this past Sunday night at the quarter-mile Cornwall (Ontario) Motor Speedway, will look to repeat his 2011 performance in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J at the southern Indiana track. He led 39 of the 40 circuits en route to his first victory at Bloomington. Kinser was consistent in the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/JD Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim qualifying fourth in the field and ultimately finishing sixth.
Last year’s August return to Bloomington was the Outlaws’ first stop at the track since the fall of 1998. Kinser first raced at his hometown track in 1976 and ended up winning six times during the 1976 season. Kinser won the first WoO race at the track in 1978 and followed that with WoO wins in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1998.
Saturday, Kinser, Schatz and the rest of the Outlaws will duel it out on the high banks of Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. The fourth annual Ironman 55 is the series’ longest race of the year and tests drivers in so many ways. They’ll battle the extreme heat, a track that changes in every corner and a field of cars that annually is one of the best. Both Kinser and Schatz are still looking to claim their first Ironman victory. In the first three, Kinser has finished 11th, sixth and eighth, while Schatz has finished fourth, seventh and fifth last year. Kinser has won five times at Pevely and has 22 top-fives in 35 career starts. Schatz was victorious at I-55 on April 1, 2006, and has earned 20 top-10s in 28 career starts at the track.
The TSR teams return to the Midwest following an eight-race run through Pennsylvania, New York, Quebec and Ontario. Schatz picked up his fourth WoO A-Feature victory of the season with a dominating night in Ontario. The four-time WoO champion led from start to finish and was followed to victory lane by Kinser, who charged from 12th to second in the 40-lap race.
Through 46 nights of action in the 2012 WoO campaign, Kinser ranks second and Schatz is fifth in the championship standings. Kinser, who trails leader Craig Dollansky by 14 points, has scored three wins, 20 top-fives and 33 top-10s. Schatz, a four-time winner, has posted 16 top-five finishes, earned a series-best 35 top-10s and trails Dollansky by 49 markers.
For Friday’s event at Bloomington Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more details, contact Bloomington Speedway at (812) 824-7400 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.bloomingtonspeedway.com.
Saturday at I-55, the pit gates and the grandstands will open at 3 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact I-55 Raceway by calling (636) 479-3219 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.I55raceway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops /J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim:
After traveling all across the United States and into Canada, how nice will it be to be racing just a few miles from your race shop?
“It’s always fun to come back home and race in front of family and friends. The only thing I wish is that we would have a little more time here. Two days isn’t hardly enough, but we’ll enjoy Friday, that is for sure. Any time you can leave the race shop for the track and it takes less the 15 minutes, that’s a rarity. We had a pretty good run in the feature Sunday night, so maybe we’ll have something for Donny and everyone else at Bloomington this year.”
The championship chase got more crowded during the run through Canada. How important is it to get back on top before heading to the Knoxville Nationals?
“We certainly didn’t need the crash on Saturday night. It was our first DNF (did not finish) in a while and that kind of opened the door for (Craig) Dollansky. We just have to keep after it. Qualifying hasn’t been a strong suit for us, but we’ve been able to race good. It’d be nice to get back on top of the standings heading to Knoxville but, if we can close the gap, that would be fine too. We still have the swing through the West, where anything can happen. The Bass Pro Shops guys have worked hard all year, and we just have to keep plugging away every night. This thing is going to come down to the end, and we just want to have a chance.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
Last year, you returned to Bloomington Speedway and put together a complete night. How excited are you about returning there?
“I’m really looking forward to it. We seem to have a pretty good package for the smaller tracks. Last year, we qualified well and took advantage of starting up front and were able to come out on top. It had been quite a few years since I had raced there. The fan turnout there was incredible, and I hope we can put on another good show for them Friday.”
The Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 is one of the toughest races of the season. What’s it like for a driver to compete in that event?
“It’s certainly a big test for not just the driver but the entire team. It’s August and we’ll be in St. Louis, so you know the heat will be a factor. You have to be good from the beginning of the night on. Qualifying well is always important, because you want to start somewhere near the front. The STP team will come up with a game plan for sure. The race is always stopped at some point, so you have to figure out what the car needs for the second half of the race by watching what it’s doing during the first part. The past few years the race has been run pretty much on the cushion, so if you are going to win it, you’ll likely need to be able to get up on the wall and keep your momentum up.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, CT, is primarily comprised of the Armor All® and STP® brands. Armor All’s® current product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and washes is designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. STP’s® offering of oil and fuel additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products has a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and ‘‘Do-it-Yourselfers’’. The company has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
About Bass Pro Shops Group
Bass Pro Shops -56 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 109 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.
Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide.
Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. Visit www.bigcedar.com for more information