NST: Knoxville Nationals - Steve Kinser NST spotlight

Steve Kinser looks for more Knoxville success KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- Steve Kinser, the 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion, is looking for his 14th Knoxville crown this weekend. Kinser has won the event 12 times as a driver, and he visited ...

Steve Kinser looks for more Knoxville success

KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- Steve Kinser, the 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion, is looking for his 14th Knoxville crown this weekend.

Kinser has won the event 12 times as a driver, and he visited victory lane again last year as son Kraig Kinser drove his dad's team car to the win.

This year, Steve Kinser Racing has three shots at taking home the top prize at famed Knoxville Raceway. Action starts Wednesday evening with qualifying and heat races for half of the field, including Steve Kinser. Kraig Kinser and Tim Kaeding take part in Thursday's action at the 0x00bd-mile dirt track.

Steve Kinser and Kaeding have been a potent 1-2 punch this year in the National Sprint Tour. The two have combined for 15 wins in 29 races, with Kaeding taking the checkered flag 11 times. Kinser has eight runner-up finishes to compliment his four wins.

Kinser sits second in the NST points, while Kaeding is third.

This week, however, that doesn't matter. It's time for the biggest race of the year.

"It's the Nationals," Kinser said simply. "There's not much more you can say. It's the biggest paying race of the year. You get prepared for it as well as you can."

Even for a 12-time champion, the Knoxville Nationals is a hard race to win.

"The toughest part is getting yourself into position," Kinser said. "You can't make mistakes, you need to qualify good, and you have to transfer out of the heats.

"Anymore, you're got to be starting up front for the main, in the first two or three rows," added Kinser, co-owner of the NST. "There's years I've been able to come from further back, but that will be tough to do this year. Everyone is so close. There are so many good cars. It's pretty tough right now."

Though he has been doing well this year, an early season crash in New Mexico hampered Kinser a bit.

"I think our team's always been on track. I'm just getting healthy myself," said Kinser, who also had two rollover accidents this year in IROC competition. "My back is getter. It's back to how it should be."

Despite the pain he's been racing with, Kinser doesn't feel his performance behind the wheel suffered as a result.

"I don't think it hurt me, but I do feel a little better now," Kinser said. "I think we're close enough to win races now."

That includes Knoxville , where a proud Steve celebrated with his son in victory lane last year.

"It was really neat," Steve said of Kraig's win a year ago. "There are a lot of guys who have tried to win this event many times."

Not only does Kinser feel he has a good chance at Knoxville himself, he knows Kaeding is looking good as well.

"Tim's been doing a great job," Kinser said. "We knew that when we hired him. He hasn't torn a lot of stuff up. I'm proud of him."

As successful as he's been at the Knoxville Nationals, Kinser would be satisfied to end his career with 12 wins, right?

"I just told myself the other night, just one more Nationals win," Kinser said with a chuckle. "Of course, that's the third or fourth time I've said that."

-credit: nst

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Steve Kinser , Kraig Kinser , Tim Kaeding