Bloomington, Ind. — March 28, 2012 — Polar opposites. That’s the best way to describe Merced Speedway and Calistoga Speedway, the next two stops for Kraig Kinser on the World of Outlaws trail. Merced is a tight 1/3-third-mile bullring, and one of the smallest tracks on the schedule while Calistoga is a sprawling, expansive half-mile, and one of the largest venues on the circuit.
Kinser will wrap up the World of Outlaws early season West Coast swing this weekend, beginning on Friday, March 30 at Merced (Calif.) Speedway, followed by a stop at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway in the scenic Napa Valley of Northern California. Four races have been contested out west so far this season at four different tracks.
“With how well we have been running, you definitely want to get as many chances as you can to be in the car,” said Kinser. “Hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend so we can get both nights in. I’m ready to be at the track, and wish we were racing three or four times a week right now.”
Kinser was part of the World of Outlaws debut at Merced Speedway last season, when the track measured a ¼-mile. The native of Bloomington, Ind. raced his way into the main event through The Last Chance Showdown. In the 40-lap A-feature, he lined up 21st and finished 19th on a track that was very challenging to pass on.
“I haven’t seen the track yet, so we’ll have to see what they changed when we get there,” stated the third-generation driver. “Once we see what they did, then we can determine if we can use our notes from last year or if we have to start from scratch.”
Kinser returned to Calistoga Speedway last season for the first time since 2005. He timed in 16th, which put him in the first eight-lap heat race. Coming up one spot short of transferring into the A-feature, he raced his way into the main event through the B-Main. In the 25-lap feature, the 2005 Knoxville Nationals winner finished 10th, after starting 16th, to earn his third-career Top-10 finish at the half-mile.
“Starting position seems to always be important at Calistoga, and nowadays, it’s important at any track for that matter,” Kinser shared. “You always want to start toward the front and make guys have to pass you when you can. It’s important to get going right at the start of the feature and get into a good rhythm.”
Kinser was fastest in time trials for the first time this season in the series most recent event at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. on March 23. He has been among the Top-Five in time trials in each of the last five races, which has helped him earn 15 bonus points in the World of Outlaws championship standings.
“All the hard work that Mikey (Kuemper) and everyone is putting in is paying off,” noted the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner. “All of the effort and time spent in the off-season working on the engines and the cars is showing right now.”
Kinser heads into the final two races of the World of Outlaws West Coast swing fifth in the series standings on the strength of six Top-10 finishes. He is one of just two drivers, along with four-time series champion and current point leader Donny Schatz, who has six Top-10s this season.
“We definitely want to start finishing in the Top-Five every week,” deadpanned Kinser. “When you are in the Top-Five, that gives you a chance to lead races and battle for wins and that’s what we are shooting for and that’s what will make me happy.”
Kraig Kinser By the Numbers: Merced Speedway and Calistoga Speedway
0.33- Miles around Merced Speedway, which was reconfigured since last season
0.5- Miles around Calistoga Speedway
1- Career start at Merced; Races so far this season on a 1/3-mile track
3- Career Top-10 finishes at Calistoga Speedway
5- Main events on half-miles thus far this season
6-Career starts at Calistoga
9- Tracks competed at in California with the World of Outlaws dating back to 2004
11.238- Track record at Merced Speedway
14.8- Average finish in six main events starts with the series at Calistoga
16.057- Track record at Calistoga Speedway
25- Laps in the main event at Calistoga Speedway
40- Laps in the main event at Merced Speedway
166- Miles from Merced Speedway in Merced, Calif. where the World of Outlaws race on March 30 to Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif.
207- Miles from Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. where the World of Outlaws competed on March 23 to Merced Speedway
943- Points earned through March 23
14,150- Dollars earned through the first seven races this season
Keep up with all the action
Follow Kraig Kinser on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kraigkinser11k and receive live updates from the track each and every race night.
Listen live to each and every World of Outlaws event on DIRTVision.com with “The Voice of the Outlaws” Johnny Gibson on the call. Visit www.DIRTVision.com for live audio of each and every World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event.