Bloomington, Ind. — April 1, 2012 — With the high level of competition at each and every World of Outlaws event, qualifying and being in the right position at the beginning of the night is of the utmost importance. No driver has been quicker in qualifying over the last two weeks that Kraig Kinser, as he has set fast time in each of the last two races for the series. On Friday night at Merced Speedway, the native of Bloomington, Ind. was nearly two-tenths of-a-second faster than any other driver, en route to establishing a new track record at the now one-third-mile bullring.
Kinser followed that up with a solid fourth-place finish in the 40-lap main event, to earn his seventh Top-10 finish of the season in eight races. He is the only driver that has seven Top-10 runs thus far in 2012. The 2005 winner of the Knoxville Nationals is currently fifth in the World of Outlaws championship standings, just 14 markers out of the lead.
“It was a good night at Merced and a good whole California swing for that matter,” said Kinser. “It was a little tough to pass and I had one slip-up in the feature, but other than that, everything went well. The car is working and handling really well and the engines are running great.”
Kinser began the night at Merced by turning a lap of 10.878-seconds. He was the only driver in the 10-second bracket in qualifying, and has been among the Top-Five in time trials in each of the last six races. He followed that up with a third-place run in the first 10-lap heat race, after starting in the fourth spot, which earned him a spot in the dash. Kinser lined up fourth in the dash and gained a spot to finish third and lined up on the inside of the second row for the 40-lap main event.
“The lap felt good, but we weren’t that good in hot laps, so I didn’t know what to expect,” noted Kinser. “In hot laps you were always kind of in traffic, so having that open track in qualifying certainly helped. The car felt great the whole lap around.”
In the 40-lap A-Feature at Merced, Kinser ran third for most of the race, before Jason Sides slipped around him on the 28th circuit. He would remain fourth for the remainder of the distance. Due to track conditions, single file restarts were utilized during the main event on each of the four restarts following cautions.
“The line I was hoping would come in for the feature, really didn’t end up coming in later on,” explained Kraig. “I ventured up there a little in the feature, but I felt like I needed to be on the bottom, because that ws the fast lane. It was really hard to pass and I had quick cars in front of me. I just had that one little slip in lapped traffic and that let Jason (Sides) get by us.”
Saturday night’s scheduled event at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway fell to rain. World of Outlaws officials and the track are weighing options for a possible makeup date later in the season. The World of Outlaws return to California in September for the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, as well as a stop at Antioch Speedway.
“You kind of get used to rainouts over the years,” Kinser shared. “Right now with how good the car is feeling, I want to be on the track everyday. We’ll take Easter weekend off and be ready for Paducah and Pevely.”
Kinser returns to action with the World of Outlaws on Friday, April 13 at Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky, followed by a stop at Federated Auto Parts Raceway (formerly I-55 Raceway) in Pevely, Mo. on Saturday, April 14.
“The way we’ve been running, it’s been an unbelievable start to the year,” said Kinser excitedly. “Hopefully we can continue it. I definitely like going to Paducah and Pevely. Those are two tracks funs tracks that I enjoy racing at. I’m looking forward to it.”
Merced Speedway Results
|Heat Finish||Dash Start||Dash Finish||Feature Start||Feature Finish||Points|
Kraig Kinser By the Numbers: Merced Speedway
0.33- Miles around Merced Speedway, which was reconfigured prior to this season
1- Position in time trials
2- Consecutive fast times awards in time trials; Career starts at Merced Speedway
3- Finishing position in the first heat race and the dash
4- Finishing position in the A-Feature
5- Appearances in the dash this season
7- Top-10 finishes in the first eight races this season; Average qualifying position in time trials this season
8- Main events completed this season through March 30
8.1- Average finishing position this season in A-Feature events
10.878- Laps in time trials at Merced Speedway, a new track record
20- Bonus points earned in time trials this season for being among the Top-Five
40- Laps in the main event at Merced Speedway
1090- Points earned through March 30
16,950- Dollars earned through March 30
April 13: Paducah International Raceway, Paducah, Ky.
April 14: Federated Auto Parts Raceway, Pevely, Mo.
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