INDIANAPOLIS (Sept.5, 2012) – It’s tough to do anything five nights in a row, let alone perform at optimum level when the competition is as tough as it gets. That’s the task at hand for Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz as they embark on the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series California Speedweek, which includes three nights of racing at Silver Dollar Speedway and single-night events at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway and Antioch (Calif.) Speedway.
The five-night marathon represents the final 2012 appearances of “The Greatest Show on Dirt” west of Nebraska and offers Kinser and Schatz a huge chance to make a push toward claiming the 2012 WoO championship. Kinser, who drives the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevrolet Maxim, leads the traveling Sprint car stars into California with 51 career WoO A-Feature wins in the Golden State and is the only driver to have a victory at all three tracks. The 20-time WoO champion will vie for his 13th title in the prestigious 59th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar, which begins Thursday and concludes with a $20,000-to-win finale on Saturday. “The King of the Outlaws” will then venture to the Napa Valley for a stop at Calistoga Speedway, an event originally scheduled for March 31. Kinser is a five-time winner on the picturesque half-mile fairgrounds dirt oval and, Monday, it’s back to Antioch, where he scored a win in the Outlaws’ debut at the quarter-mile track last September.
Schatz returns to Chico as the Outlaws most recent winner at Silver Dollar Speedway. The four-time WoO champion led all 35 laps of the Mini-Gold Cup in March behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. Schatz, the 2004 Gold Cup winner, is a four-time winner at Calistoga, including his triumph in the 2005 Harvest Classic where he out-dueled Kinser to capture the win. The STP driver is hoping for better results when he returns to Antioch after finishing 13th in last year’s race.
Last weekend, Schatz continued his surge in the standings that began July 29, the night after he and Kinser crashed in Quebec at Autodromme Drummond. Since that race, Schatz has finished outside the top-10 only once in 15 races and that finish was an 11th-place result last Friday night at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. Ironically, the streak could’ve easily been 15 consecutive top-10s had Schatz, who led the first 10 laps of the 25-lap race, not been contacted by eventual winner Kerry Madsen. The contact occurred during a lap-10 restart and resulted in a broken left-rear wheel, forcing Schatz to bring out a caution. The Fargo, N.D., racer followed Friday’s disappointment with a pair of second-place finishes Saturday at Skagit and Monday at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore.
Kinser had similar luck Friday night at Skagit. After qualifying sixth in the field of 30 cars, he started the main event 12th and charged his way inside the top-five. With five laps remaining, a lapped car made contact with third-place Kraig Kinser, who ultimately collected his father Steve in the Bass Pro Shops machine. The damage junked the elder Kinser’s car and he was in for an uphill climb the rest of the weekend. He would finish 11th Saturday and 10th Monday at Willamette.
With 58 of 73 scheduled nights of racing completed, Schatz ranks second in the standings, 32 points behind leader Craig Dollansky. The STP driver has earned 7,681 points, won seven A-Features, finished inside the top-five 26 times and has earned a series-best 46 top-10 finishes. Kinser holds the fifth slot and has earned 7,580 points, won three A-Features, picked up 24 top-fives, and scored 40 top-10s.
The California Speedweek begins Thursday at Silver Dollar Speedway, where the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. PDT. The grandstands open at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. More details are available by visiting goldcup.silverdollarspeedway.com.
Sunday at Calistoga Speedway, the pit gates will open at 1 p.m. PDT, with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.calistogaspeedway.org.
Monday at Antioch Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. PDT, with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.calistogaspeedway.org.
Race fans unable to attend these 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:
The Gold Cup of Champions has been one of the premiere races to win on the West Coast during your career. With 12 victories in these prestigious races already, how would a 13th rank if you were able to pull off a win Saturday night?
“Well, it’d rank pretty high right now, that’s for sure. We haven’t won since June, so anything we could win would give us a good reason to celebrate. For some reason, we can’t seem to get off that number 12. I have won12 Knoxville Nationals and 12 Gold Cups. I thought a couple of years ago (2010) we were going to get number 13. We ended up second from like the 18th starting spot. We just probably needed another lap or two. The Gold Cup is just one of those races that everyone looks forward to. We used to be in California for a whole month of racing and the Gold Cup was the big finale. We don’t get to race out there as much, anymore but, any win at Silver Dollar Speedway is a big one in my book. We haven’t had the best luck for a while, so maybe getting back to Chico will change things up for the good.”
The weekend closes with races at Calistoga and Antioch – two tracks where you’ve won before, but also two very different tracks. Do you enjoy the variety of tracks you race on?
“We’ll be on, really, three totally different tracks in terms of shape and size. Silver Dollar and Antioch are both smaller tracks but, at Silver Dollar, you can get off the track if you’re in trouble. Antioch, there is no place to go but in the wall. The racing can be pretty intense in terms of being in and out of traffic in a hurry at those places. Calistoga, on the other hand, is a big half-mile. I really enjoy racing these Sprint cars on the bigger tracks. You can use all the horsepower and really get the car moving underneath you. I’d say that is one of the best things about the Outlaws in that we do get to race on so many different types of tracks.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
It’s been a strong run for you and the STP team during the last 15 races. Have you guys just tried to build on the success you’ve had each race and get better each night?
“There were some things we kind of figured out after really struggling through most of June and July. We got back to some basics and worked together with Tony Stewart and his guys. We found out some stuff with our car and they helped us a little with some things they learned on their car. The biggest thing is that we’ve been qualifying much more consistently in the top-five and that’s really key. If you can start closer to the front every night, you are going to have better results. We spent a lot of the summer trying to charge through the field every night. There’s only so much you can do when you are in that situation every night. This group of guys wants to win every night and I really want to go out and try to win this championship. We’ve got a long way to go, but we feel better about where we’re at right now.”
The California Speedweek offers five consecutive nights of racing. As a driver, do you look forward to that much racing?
“I’d say, right now, absolutely. We’re coming off a weekend that included two second-place finishes and we want to get a win. Wins are what pay the bills and help you win championships. We have a pretty good package for Silver Dollar Speedway and have been able to win a couple of races there the past few years. It’d be nice if we can get a win on that first night and kind of set the tone for the week. I’ve only won the Gold Cup once, and that (2004) was a long time ago. We’d like to do well at Calistoga, a big track, on Sunday before heading to Antioch. This is a great opportunity for us to keep getting stronger and stronger. Five straight nights is a lot on everyone, but this team is really hungry right now. I can’t wait to get to the track Thursday.”
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 – 58 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 113 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 150,000 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.