Some prefer a buzzer-beater in March, others a slide job in April; in Indiana, the diehards want a double of both.
Just in time for the NCAA’s March Madness to pack up and leave the Indianapolis area, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will roll into the state next month with back-to-back nights at Kokomo Speedway on Friday, April 9 and Tri-State Speedway on Saturday, April 10.
The early-season swing through Indiana marks the first of four appearances in the Hoosier State this year; with additional appearances at Terre Haute Action Track on May 28 and Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 31.
Highlighted next month are two of the most unpredictable, fierce, and crowd-pleasing bullrings in the nation. Time and time again, Kokomo and Tri-State send racers packing with high heart rates and fans leaving with their jaws dropped. You should expect nothing less from The Greatest Show on Dirt at these venues next month.
Kokomo Speedway, one of only eight tracks to host events during the inaugural campaign in 1978 and the 2021 season, will host their 26th World of Outlaws event on April 9. The Kokomo, IN quarter-mile was a staple on circuit all through the 80’s and 90’s with Steve Kinser of Bloomington, IN defending his home turf to the tune of six wins, three more than his counterpart Sammy Swindell.
A 2005 return brought to light the next generation of Kinser’s, when Steve’s son Kraig Kinser dethroned dad and Jason Meyers in one of the all-time instant classics at the track. Kraig, who still drives full-time with the World of Outlaws in his #11K today, scored a second win in 2012 and hopes to come back for a third next month.
“I love Kokomo, for the racing and being close to home,” Kinser said, who lives two hours away in Bloomington. “That place just always has a knack for providing crazy racing, and the fans love it. I’ll never forget my 2005 win against dad and Jason, that was a special night. We’re coming off a good run at East Bay last week, so hopefully we can carry that back to Indiana next month.”
Since Kraig’s two wins, Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, IN has kept his own pair of Kokomo victories in-state. Donny Schatz, who fell just short of his 300th career win at Kokomo last October, could still be chasing that same win next month when he returns to the track he won at in 2014. Most recently, Sheldon Haudenschild of Wooster, OH ended a five-year hiatus last year when he scored a thrilling victory over Schatz.
Following’s Friday event at Kokomo, a three-hour jaunt leads teams to the Central Time Zone with a Saturday, April 10 show at Haubstadt’s Tri-State Speedway. The unique shaped quarter-mile will host its 40th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event, dating back to the first in 1979 won by Lee James. In true “King” fashion, Steve Kinser is also the top dog at Tri-State with an unrivaled eight wins to his credit vs. Swindell’s five triumphs.
With the turning of the tide, Tri-State more than almost any other track on schedule has become a mixed bag with unpredictably around every corner. Three of the last five races have been won by non-full-time Outlaws, and a particular group of non-wing warriors have taken a liking to winged success at the track. Just last year, Carson Short stunned the Outlaws with his first-career win at the track and one night later Carson Macedo held off Brad Sweet by inches to win a thriller broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network.
Along with Macedo, who currently leads the World of Outlaws points after four races, David Gravel (twice) and Parker Price-Miller are the only other full-time Outlaws with a Tri-State win. All three drivers are currently testing the waters with new rides in 2021. Gravel departed to drive the Big Game Motorsports #2, leaving the seat open for Macedo to take at the Jason Johnson Racing #41, and Price-Miller formed his own operation in the PPM Racing #19.
“Everyone always gives me a lot of crap for liking Haubstadt, but I’ve always had success there,” Price-Miller noted. “Plus, every time we go there the stands are always completely packed and the racing is amazing. I think it’s a win-win for the World of Outlaws and Tri-State Speedway anytime we come race. I’m excited to get back there and hopefully get back to our winning ways.”
Before Kokomo (April 9) and Tri-State (April 10), the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series has four more weekends on the road prior to the Indiana doubleheader. The Series will travel through Mississippi and Louisiana for this weekend’s Dirty South Swing before the Drydene Texas Two-Step at Cotton Bowl leads into back-to-back weeks in the Show-Me State of Missouri.
As of now, Macedo and JJR currently lead the early-season championship standings ahead of Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart (-4), Kasey Kahne Racing’s Brad Sweet (-8), Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing’s Donny Schatz (-24), Big Game Motorsports’ David Gravel (-24), and Roth Motorsports’ Aaron Reutzel (-24).
Anyone unable to make it to the track can watch all of the action live on DIRTVision with the annual Platinum FAST PASS subscription for $299/year or the monthly FAST PASS subscription for $39/month.