It was only a matter of time before Steve Kinser returned to a World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series victory lane. The 20-time WoO champion restored order Saturday night at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Kinser dominated the 30-lap A-Feature in the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim to score his first triumph of 2012 and end a streak of 27 races without a victory. Things didn’t go as well for TSR’s Donny Schatz, who was involved in an accident late in the race and was credited with his first DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season.
Three races in three nights renewed the Outlaws versus Pennsylvania Posse rivalry. The locals had the bragging right the first two nights but, Saturday, Kinser’s 571st career WoO triumph gave the traveling stars the momentum heading out of town and also allowed Kinser to join Sammy Swindell and Schatz atop the 2012 WoO championship standings.
Thursday, the Outlaws returned to Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., for the first time since 1998. The return turned out to be the highlight of the weekend for Schatz in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. The four-time WoO champion qualified second and raced to a seventh-place finish in the 30-lap A-Feature. That finish, coupled with Swindell coming home 18th, allowed Schatz to regain the top spot in the championship. Kinser, who has 16 career wins at Lincoln, didn’t have the kind of evening he hoped for. “The King of the Outlaws” qualified 22nd and charged from 20th to 14th in the main event.
Local star Danny Dietrich raced from seventh to claim the victory and, by doing so, continued the recent run of success by Pennsylvania drivers versus the Outlaws.
Following Thursday’s Gettysburg Clash, the Outlaws ventured to historic Williams Grove Speedway. Kinser got off to a better start by qualifying fifth in the field of 45 competitors. He was forced to race his way into the 25-lap A-Feature through the B-Main after finishing sixth in heat one. Kinser dominated the B-Main and then charged from 11th to fifth in finale. Schatz was the 34th car to circle the track during qualifying and ended up 29th overall. He raced from eighth to fifth in heat four and then drove from 24th to 17th in main event.
Fred Rahmer made it two straight wins for the Pennsylvania Posse by making a pair of late-race moves for the lead.
Consistency was the theme on Saturday for the TSR teams. For Kinser, that was a good thing as he again qualified inside the top-five. He was fourth overall, raced his way into the dash by finishing second in heat four and raced to third in the dash. In the 30-lap finale, Kinser’s Bass Pro Shops machine was strong throughout. It took only eight laps for Kinser to seize the lead and, once in front, he wasn’t threatened. A pair of restarts was the only shot anyone had at overtaking Kinser, but the veteran wasn’t going to let this victory slip away. Kinser won by a straightaway to earn his 39th career WoO A-Feature at the track.
While Kinser was celebrating in victory lane, Schatz and his STP crew were rebuilding a damaged racecar. The team had an uphill battle all night. Just after warm-ups, they found a water leak, and going out 34th in the field of 41 didn’t help, either. The Fargo, N.D., racer timed in 27th and finished seventh in heat three. He finished sixth in the B-Main and had to use a provisional starting spot for the 30-lap A-Feature. He started 25th and spent most of the race between 19th and 22nd. Following a lap-22 restart, Schatz went to the cushion in turns one and two and picked up a few positions. He tried the same move in turns three and four but the cushion pulled the STP machine into the wall, which sent Schatz flipping. He was uninjured and credited with 25th.
A special 10-car match race, tabbed as the Morgan Cup, closed competition on Saturday. Kinser started first and led all 12 laps to keep the Morgan Cup with the Outlaws. The STP crew repaired the No. 15 and Schatz finished seventh.
Kinser’s victory, coupled with Schatz and Swindell finishing deep in the field, allowed him to climb to second in the standings. Swindell and Schatz had swapped the lead during the last six races and just 12 points now separate the three. Swindell leads over Kinser by eight markers.
The WoO schedule will continue in the northeast this week with three more races. Kinser and Schatz return to action Wednesday at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y., where Kinser has won 11 times and Schatz twice. Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., hosts the Outlaws Saturday, and the six-race northeastern tour concludes at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway Sunday.