INDIANAPOLIS (June 28, 2012) – Through the first five months of the 2012 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season, the nightly results have been anything but predictable. Foreseeing Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz at or near the top of the championship standings wouldn’t have been a huge gamble and, so far, each has spent time holding down the top position. Kinser and Schatz will continue his battle for Outlaw supremacy this weekend through middle America with stops at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks and Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.
Kinser, who won his third WoO A-Feature of the season last Friday at Dodge City (Kan.) Raceway Park, brings a six-point advantage over Schatz into the weekend. “The King of the Outlaws” is chasing his 21st WoO title and has been a threat to win nearly every June WoO race behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevrolet Maxim. Kinser is one of two current WoO drivers to have competed in both WoO shows at Belleville in 1981 and 2011. Last June, in the Outlaws’ first appearance at the high-banked dirt oval in almost 30 years, he raced from fifth to second and looked to be closing in on leader Paul McMahan when his right-rear tire blew, causing him to get his car upside-down. He returned to the race after repairs were made and finished 12th.
The Kansas City area is rich in racing tradition and Kinser has always enjoyed competing in the region. Since joining TSR prior to the 2010 season, he has yet to be beat at Lakeside. In 2010, he started third and led the final 19 laps to pick up the victory at the half-mile dirt oval. Last June, he was five days removed from left wrist surgery. He started third and used a late restart to move past early leader Brian Brown en route to winning his second straight main event at the track. With the win, he continued his remarkable record of finishing inside the top-five in all 10 Lakeside WoO A-Features.
Schatz, the four-time WoO champion, leads the series in KSE Hard Charger Awards this season driving the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J and has finished inside the top-eight in each of the last eight races. Last season, Schatz raced from a sixth-row starting position and into the top-five in his debut at Belleville. A blown left-rear tire ended his bid at a podium finish, but he was able to rejoin the field and earn a seventh-place finish. The Fargo, N.D., racer is still seeking his first triumph at Lakeside, where his best finish was third in 2003. Last June, he started fourth and climbed to third early in the race before finishing sixth in the 30-lap A-Feature.
Last weekend, Kinser earned his 573rd victory in the Boot Hill Showdown opener before chasing his son Kraig to the finish line in the finale Saturday. It marked the third time in the previous four races where he’s finished inside the top-two. Schatz raced from mid-pack both nights in Dodge City, racing from 13th to fifth in the opener and from 14th to eighth Saturday to earn his series-best 25th top-10 finish of the campaign.
Friday at Belleville High Banks, the grandstands open at 4 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact the SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023 or visit the tracks’s official Web site at www.HighBanks.org.
Lakeside Speedway will open the grandstands at 4 p.m. CDT Saturday. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact the SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.LakesideSpeedway.net.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim:
Last June, the Outlaws made their return to the Belleville High Banks for the first time since 1981. Was the track as fast as you remembered it being?
“The track was pretty similar to what I remembered, but the cars have changed so much that the racing was pretty different. Everyone does get going pretty fast, but there are some rough spots where you have to be careful and hit it just right. We had a really good race going there last year and I really believe I had a shot at winning the race until we blew a tire. That’s part of it, though. The speed, the heat, and all those things can make it tough on these cars making it to the end. We’ve been running pretty good, lately, and, hopefully, we’ll be able to be in the mix at Belleville and maybe get the job done this year.”
You talked about being on a good roll. Is there any one thing that you can attribute to your recent success?
“I don’t think it’s any one thing but rather a collection of things. We’ve been able to qualify well and make the dashes, which is really a big deal. I think, when we are running up front and Kraig (Kinser) is up there battling with us to win races, it proves our package is pretty good right now. We’re confident, and that always helps. This is the stage of the season where you just have to keep working hard. We’re going to Lakeside Saturday and we’ve won the last two races there, so we’re excited about trying to make it three in a row. This is the last weekend in June and we know July is full of big races and more opportunities to continue to get better.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
Last June, you raced at Belleville for the first time. What do you remember most about that experience?
“I remember having a pretty good race going there and then we had a flat. It’s one of those momentum tracks and, even though most of the time you had to be right up on the bank using all the horsepower you had, there were times when you could drop down a line and maybe get by someone. It was fun to go there and we’re looking forward to going back. We’d like to start our nights a little better and not bury ourselves so far in the field for the features. We’re all working on it and I’d be happy to have a really good night and leave there with some positive results heading toward Lakeside.”
Winning races has always been the key to winning championships. You have been stuck on three wins for almost two months, yet you’ve still been right in the thick of the points chase. Is there anything positive you can take away from that as you look at the big picture?
“We’ve had some pretty good nights since winning at Farmer City (Ill.), but simply haven’t had things go our way. We’ve had our seconds, thirds and top-fives, but we haven’t put it all together. I always felt like getting that first win of the year is the hardest and this year we got it in the second race. We need to break through and get another one. The STP guys are working really hard and I’m doing all I can from my seat to get us back in victory lane. The points deal is going to be wide open until someone starts winning regularly. I just hope we can be that team.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, CT, is primarily comprised of the Armor All® and STP® brands. Armor All’s® current product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and washes is designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. STP’s® offering of oil and fuel additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products has a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and ‘‘Do-it-Yourselfers’’. The company has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
About Bass Pro Shops Group
Bass Pro Shops – 56 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 109 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.
Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide.
Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. Visit www.bigcedar.com for more information.