Bloomington, Ind.—Sept. 5, 2012— Explorers and entrepreneurs have made the trek to California for decades in search of good fortune and prosperity. Kraig Kinser heads to the Golden State this week with a similar sentiment, though his main focus is on shedding the bad luck that plagued him during the World of Outlaws recent swing through the Pacific Northwest. The third-generation driver for the most part has had a consistently fast car over the last couple of weeks, with bad luck thwarting several potential strong finishes.
The final West Coast Swing of the season, dubbed the “Outlaw California Speedweek” opens for Kinser aboard the Hendrickcars.com Maxim at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., with the running of the 59th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions, Sept. 6–8. He’ll then head to Calistoga Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 9, for an event that was postponed by rain earlier this season. Kinser will wrap-up the stretch of five races in five nights on Monday, Sept. 10, at Antioch Speedway.
Kinser finished sixth earlier this season at Silver Dollar Speedway in the Mini Gold Cup, which was shortened to a one-day event due to rain. In his career at the quarter-mile bullring, he has finished among the Top-10 four times, with two of those being Top-Five performances, including a career-best third-place performance in the finale of the Mini Gold Cup in 2009. Kinser made his debut at Silver Dollar Speedway in the 2004 Gold Cup. Last season, he finished 17th in the opener of the Gold Cup and was 16th in the finale, which was a two-night event.
“The Gold Cup is definitely a big race for us,” said Kinser. “There is always a great atmosphere in Chico for that event and the fans are pretty enthusiastic out there. I’ve had a couple of pretty good runs in the Gold Cup and we’ll give it our best again this year and hopefully have a good showing there.”
The Gold Cup returns to a three-night format this year, with drivers competing on all three nights. Event points will be earned on the opening two nights, which will set the lineups for the feature events on Saturday, Sept. 8. The finale of the Gold Cup will be 40 laps in distance and pay $20,000 to the winner.
“At Chico, you have to run hard every time you are on the track,” he noted. “It doesn’t matter if it’s one night, two nights or three nights like this year. You treat it like any other race and hopefully you put two good nights together so you are in a good position for the third night.”
Kinser finished 10th at Calistoga Speedway last season, which marked his second straight Top-10 showing at the half-mile located in the scenic wine country of the Napa Valley. The native of Bloomington, Ind., made his debut at the venue in 2004, recording the third-fastest lap in time trials that night. Kinser has made six starts at the sprawling venue, earning three Top-10 finishes, along with setting fast time in the opener in 2005. He has qualified among the Top-10 in five of his six career starts at the track.
“Calistoga is a fast track and a lot of times track position is very important there,” shared Kinser. “I haven’t raced there all that many times, but feel pretty comfortable there. Our last race on a big track was at Knoxville and our Hendrickcars.com com was strong there, so hopefully we can bring some of that momentum to Calistoga.”
The third-generation driver made his debut Antioch Speedway last season, finishing 10th, as the World of Outlaws visited the three-eighths-mile for the first time last fall. Kinser opened the night by turning the 12th-fastest lap in time trials, which put him on the pole of the third eight-lap heat race. He would finish second in that contest to earn a spot in the dash. The 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner ran started 10th in the dash and finished ninth, which put him on the inside of the fifth row for the 30-lap main event.
“We’ve only seen Antioch once, so we’ll go off a little of what we did last year and see if we can learn a few more things about the track,” Kinser said. “Qualifying well and making it into the dash will probably be pretty important there as it was last year. Hopefully we have a good run there and can wrap up the West Coast races on a strong note.”
In the opener of the World of Outlaws recent four-race swing through Washington and Oregon, Kinser finished 11th at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash., on Aug. 29. On the first night at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., on Saturday, Aug. 31, he was battling for the third spot with his father Steve in the late going, when a car spun in front of them leaving them both nowhere to go. Kraig ended the night in 17th. In the finale at Skagit, he was running second when he lost an engine on the seventh lap, being scored 23rd in the final rundown. At Willamette Speedway in Oregon on Monday, Sept. 3, Kinser was running seventh on the final lap when he tagged the wall and came to a stop in turn four, finishing 14th.
Kinser heads to the Golden State sixth in the World of Outlaws championship standings. He has won four times this season, while picking up 35 Top-10 and 18 Top-Five finishes. He also has been fastest in time trials on five occasions.
Kraig Kinser By the Numbers: Silver Dollar Speedway, Calistoga Speedway & Antioch Speedway
0.25- Miles around Silver Dollar Speedway
0.375- Distance around Antioch Speedway in miles
0.5- Miles around Calistoga Speedway
1- Career start at Antioch Speedway
3- Top-10 finishes at Calistoga
4- Career Top-10 finishes at Silver Dollar Speedway
6- Starts at Calistoga Speedway
12.6- Average finish in 14 feature event starts Silver Dollar Speedway
14- Career main event starts at Chico, including preliminary features
14.8- Average finish in six starts at Calistoga Speedway
18- Top-Five finishes this season
35- Top-10 performances through Sept. 3
72- Miles from Calistoga Speedway where the World of Outlaws race on Sept. 9 to Antioch Speedway
138- Miles from Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., where the World of Outlaws race Sept. 6-8 to Calistoga Speedway
426- Miles from Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore., where the World of Outlaws competed on Sept. 3 to Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif.
2004- Year of first start at Silver Dollar Speedway and Calistoga Speedway
7371- Points earned through Sept. 3
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