National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Calls On Steve Kinser What makes Steve Kinser the greatest sprint car racer in the world is that he might be the most competitive racer in the world. He's not happy with anything but a victory. Ask him about ...
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Calls On Steve Kinser
What makes Steve Kinser the greatest sprint car racer in the world is that he might be the most competitive racer in the world.
He's not happy with anything but a victory. Ask him about finishing second some night and it seems as if was lucky just to qualify. Winning is what fuels his passion for the sport. It's what has built the dominant team on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit. It's what has won him 523 features and countless other preliminaries. It's what has won him 19 series championships since 1978. It's what has won him a record 12 Knoxville Nationals championships.
It's also why he is part of the 2005 class being inducted Saturday -- a day after his 51st birthday -- into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, where his father, Bob, was enshrined in 1999. Because the series is racing Saturday at Eldora Speedway, Kinser is disappointed he will miss the ceremony.
But every award bestowed upon him humbles Kinser. In 2000, a panel assembled by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum named him sprint car racing's greatest driver. Just this past off-season, the members of American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association voted him onto the 35th Annual Auto Racing All-America Team for a record 22nd time, including 17 First Team selections. He received the most votes in the Short Track Division.
He's won in stock cars on superspeedways and almost pulled out a top-10 finish in an Indianapolis 500, but he always comes back to sprint cars, where in 2004 he won his 500th career feature, a milestone upstaged only by the success of racing with his son, Kraig.
"It's a good honor to be inducted there," said Kinser, of Bloomington, Ind. "I wish I could be there but we have to run Eldora and it's cutting everything too close to get back and forth."
It's that dedication that proves Kinser still has an fierce competitive fire to win, something he already has done a series high 10 times this season with the Outlaws.
"That's our goal, to win races," Kinser said. "That's what we're after. We're not ready to quit racing yet. We're just going to try to win races and win another championship right now."
There was one occasion where Kinser didn't mind finishing second last year. On the final day of August, Steve watched from behind at Cottage Grove Speedway as Kraig raced to the checkered flag for the first time in his World of Outlaws career. At 20, Kraig shows many of the same tendencies as his father and grandfather, especially a passion for sprint cars.
"I want to be there right along with their names someday so hopefully we can do that," Kraig said. "I just hope someday my name can be in a hall of fame somewhere.
"My dad's had a tremendous career and it's just unbelievable to be there the whole time. Just to see his career from a first-person point-of-view has been unbelievable."
With the way he's running in 2005, expect Steve Kinser to be unbelievable for years to come.
Other inductees into the Hall of Fame include drivers Steve Butler, Bob Carey, Elmer George, Bill Holland, Robbie Stanley and Ray Tilley; owners-mechanics-builders-manufacturers-car sponsors Don Brown, Dick Simonek and Kenny Woodruff; and promoters-officials-media members-event/series sponsors John Mahoney, Jim Raper and Norm Witte.
<pre> STEVE KINSER'S MILESTONE WINS First World of Outlaws victory Eldora Speedway May 21, 1978 50th WoO victory Lincoln Speedway July 19, 1980 100th WoO victory Big H Speedway April 20, 1983 150th WoO victory Santa Maria Speedway Sept. 14, 1985 200th WoO victory Memphis Motorsports Park Aug. 22, 1987 250th WoO victory Eldora Speedway June 9, 1990 300th WoO victory San Jose Speedway Sept. 7, 1991 350th WoO victory Tri-City Speedway Aug. 16, 1993 400th WoO victory Santa Maria Speedway Sept. 23, 1995 450th WoO victory Lowe's Motor Speedway Oct. 6, 2001 500th WoO victory Houston Raceway Park March 27, 2004 523rd WoO victory Lebanon Valley Speedway May 30, 2005