Kinser Continues Early Season Success with Another Triumph
Dates: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 25-26, 2011
Series: World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series
Locations: Friday – Pike County Speedway (Magnolia, Miss.)
Saturday – Royal Purple Raceway (Baytown, Texas)
Winners: Friday – Steve Kinser of Tony Stewart Racing
Saturday – Sammy Swindell of Big Game Racing
TSR Results: Friday – Kinser (Started 4th, Finished 1st)
Schatz (Started 12th, Finished 11th)
Saturday – Kinser (Started 12th, Finished 7th)
Schatz (Started 13th, Finished 14th)
Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser continued his red-hot start to the 2011 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series campaign with a victory and seventh-place finish in last weekend’s action in Mississippi and Texas. The 20-time WoO champion raced the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevy/Maxim to his 565th career A-Feature triumph on Friday night at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., and the following night charged to a seventh-place finish at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.
While the early portion of the season has gone smoothly for Kinser, the same can’t be said for TSR’s four-time champion, Donny Schatz. It seems as though anything that can go wrong for Schatz has during the early going of the campaign. He finished 11th on Friday night and 14th on Saturday night behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevy/J&J.
Friday night’s program at Pike County was the Outlaws’ first visit to the 3/8-mile dirt oval in southwestern Mississippi since March 2007 and 10th overall. Kinser had previous wins at the track in 1997 and 2005, and Friday’s victory mirrored those thrilling finishes. In each of his previous two wins, he was involved in tremendous battles for the win. On Friday, Kinser fended off Jason Sides and a hard-charging Cody Darrah. He took the lead from Darrah on lap 12 and was officially scored the leader every lap thereafter, but did exchange the lead on several occasions with Sides between trips across the start-finish line.
“We had a heck of race on Friday night,” admitted Kinser. “It’s really good to get these wins early, and it shows that all the hard work the Bass Pro Shops guys put in during the winter is paying off. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a start this good, but we know we have a long way to go.”
The storyline for Schatz remained the same as it was during the season-opening DIRTcar Nationals. His team is still searching for more speed. Schatz qualified on the pole for the second heat race, but the preferred line was the outside position. He needed to finish in the top-two to make the dash, but was passed on the opening lap by both outside-row starters and raced in third position during the entire heat. In the main event, he started in the sixth row and battled right around the top-10 throughout the 35-lap race, ultimately finishing 11th.
In Saturday night’s Texas Shootout at Royal Purple Raceway, both Kinser and Schatz struggled with qualifying. Kinser timed 12th and Schatz 13th in the field of 21 cars. Neither driver was able to earn a top-two finish in his heat race, so the TSR tandem started the 40-lap A-Feature in the sixth and seventh rows, respectively. Kinser was able to advance inside the top-10, while Schatz got caught up in an accident during a lap-37 restart. After the STP crew repaired the car, he returned to the field and was scored 14th.
Kinser continues to lead the WoO championship standings with 733 markers. Schatz ranks eighth, 101 points back. The TSR teams will travel nearly 1,600 miles from Houston to Las Vegas for this week’s third annual Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic presented by J.D. Byrider. The two-night program will be held at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Kinser and Schatz are the winningest drivers at the half-mile dirt oval, each with six victories.