Outlaws' 25th Anniversary Season to Climax in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (October 27) -- Steve Kinser will clinch his 18th O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series championship by simply taking qualifying laps during this weekend's season finale at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Sprint car racing's premier racing series will also hold its annual Promoters' Meeting and Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Sunday at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.
The defending series champion opened an insurmountable 153-point advantage over Danny Lasoski Friday by pulling off a last-lap pass to beat Donny Schatz under the checkered flag at Lone Star Speedway. Saturday's rainout at Houston Raceway Park denied "The Dude" a chance to catch Kinser for the 25th Anniversary title. Lasoski, who won the 2001 series championship, cannot catch "The King of the Outlaws" in the point standings at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday and Saturday even if he wins both feature races and Kinser only receives show-up points.
"The King of the Outlaws" has never been one to rest on his laurels, however. Last November, a week after clinching the title at Hollywood Hills Speedway, Kinser completed his sweep of the 2002 main events at Las Vegas' semi-banked, ½-mile oval. His #11 Quaker State Maxim was a car-length ahead of Tim Shaffer at the checkered flag.
"It feels really good to win the championship again," Kinser said Monday. "We want to go ahead and finish this season and hope everything works out well. I'd like to win another main event before the end of the year to get closer to 500."
Kinser's 25th "A" Feature victory of the season gave him 496 in his incomparable career.
Schatz led the first 29¼ laps of Friday's main event when the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series raced at Lone Star Speedway for the first time in 17 years.
"You just can't give Steve any openings," Schatz said. "When he got by me on the last restart, I got to the top and got back by in three and four. But, on the last lap, did the same move again, and got just enough of a jump down the back stretch that he got to top and I couldn't pull around him before the checkered flag. It was a good run for this Parker Stores team, but I will admit I am a little disappointed not being able to bring home the win. As I said, if there is a driver you can't leave any openings, it's Steve."
Only Kinser (25) and Lasoski (10) have won more main events than Schatz, who has put the #15 Parker Stores J&J in victory lane seven times during the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' Silver Anniversary Season.
Shaffer drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle to victory in both the Preliminary and "A" Features during the J.D. Byrider Outlaw Nationals at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year. "The Steel City Outlaw" executed a daring, last-lap pass to beat Jason Meyers on opening night, then took advantage of Meyers' engine problems to lead the final 12 laps in the main event 24 hours later.
"My team's been doing a great job," said Shaffer, who enters the season finale 100 points behind Meyers in the standings. "Jason had a better car early, but you have to finish the races. I think he hurt a motor again tonight, but when you have a team like I have -- they've just been perfect. We were a little bit tight early, but the track was going away a little bit and I think we were better at the end. I just tried to be comfortable and make good laps out there."
Mark Kinser has won three O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series main events at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kinser and Lasoski are two-time winners at the facility.
Joey Saldana increased his advantage to 27 points over Daryn Pittman in their battle for third place in the standings with an eighth-place run Friday at Lone Star Speedway.
Shane Stewart set the single-lap record at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a 130.548-M.P.H. lap around the semi-banked, ½-mile oval and finished ninth in the "A" Feature March 1st.
This weekend's event will mark the eighth straight year the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series season has climaxed at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The pit gates will open at 2 p.m. and the spectator gates at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hot laps will start at 6 p.m. and the green flag is scheduled to fall in the First Heat Race at 7:15 p.m. each evening.