As the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series heads into its annual "Month of Money," the battle for lead in the point standings is almost as tight as the lug nuts on the wheels holding Steve Kinser's and Danny Lasoski's Hoosier tires. Kinser, the ...
As the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series heads into its annual "Month of Money," the battle for lead in the point standings is almost as tight as the lug nuts on the wheels holding Steve Kinser's and Danny Lasoski's Hoosier tires.
Kinser, the series' 16-time champion, is only nine points ahead of "The Dude." Kinser and Lasoski, who won his first title by only 30 points over Mark Kinser a year ago, have each led the points race five different times. Both have 11 victories and 35 top-10 finishes through the first 40 main events. Kinser has two more top-fives, but "The Dude" has one more Preliminary Feature victory. Lasoski has won one more O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, the race that determines who starts up front in the Preliminary and "A" Features. Lasoski has led 14 more main event laps than "The King of the Outlaws." Lasoski leads the series with 11 fast-times, while Kinser has paced only one qualifying session.
The "Month of Money" opens Saturday with the 19th Annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. Kinser has taken home the $50,000 first prize four times.
"The King of the Outlaws" won the 25th Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Feature of his career at Eldora June 1st, two days before his 47th birthday. He traveled all night following an event at Sharon Speedway to his home in Bloomington, IN, to see his daughter, Stevie, graduate from high school before heading back to Ohio to race at Eldora.
"I had a pretty good car all night long," said Kinser, who owns the #11 Quaker State Maxim he drives. "I just had to wait for some guys to get a little loose late in the race. I like the cushion up along the wall here, but tonight we had a pretty big ledge about half way up the track, and it's got me breathing pretty heavy."
Lasoski, who drives the #20 J.D. Byrider for NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart, has never won a feature race at "The World's Fastest Half-Mile."
"The deal with Eldora is I tried to kill myself the first time I was there (driving Casey's Luna's car in the early 1990s)," Lasoski says. "I never forgot it. It hurt for a long time. When you get hurt in one of these things, it becomes a mental block. To be fast at Eldora, you have to run the fence. It seems like when we go there I get comfortable and run decent, but we're just not contenders there every time."
The second stop on the "Month of Money" tour is Lernerville Speedway, host of the 11th Annual, $35,000-to-win, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. Kinser has won 11 "A" Features at Lernerville, but only one Silver Cup. Mark Kinser has dominated the event, winning five of the last six races.
The second triple-feature Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series event in the history of Williams Grove Speedway follows two days later. The $148,575 event pays the winner $20,000. Lasoski enjoyed three $20,000 paydays in September of 2000, but has never won at "The Grove." Kinser has won 23 times at Williams Grove, including the May 16th main event.
Following a pair of $51,600 events at New Egypt Speedway and Sharon Speedway, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series heads back to Eldora for the annual "Night Before The Big One" event. Although "The Historical Big One" is non-sanctioned, anybody who's anybody in sprint car racing competes for the $100,000 first prize. Kinser won the event in 1995 and 2000.
The "Month of Money" climaxes with the 42nd Annual Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals August 7-10. The $712,475 purse includes $125,000 for the winner. Kinser has won a record 11 Nationals championships, the last coming in 1995 when he raced to victory from outside the seventh row. "The Dude" has won two of the last four Nationals titles, including last year when he led all 30 laps. He's also a seven-time Knoxville Raceway champion and winner of 78 feature races at "The Home of the Nationals."
Kinser took the Pennzoil World of Outlaws points lead with his April 26th main event victory at Knoxville Raceway, only to have Lasoski win the NAPA Classic June 29th.
Speed Channel will provide tape-delayed coverage of the Eldora Clash on August 15th, the Kings Royal on September 5th and the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals on September 26th and October 24th. Each telecast will begin at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
"Without a doubt, winning the Knoxville Nationals is the most important thing to me in sprint car racing," Lasoski says. "When you have a goal such as the Knoxville Nationals, you dream about it and you go down the road thinking about it all the time. That one week at Knoxville ranks up there with anything I've done in my life."
Including the non-sanctioned Historical Big One, the "Month of Money" -- 14 races -- offers approximately $1.5 million in total prize money to the world's best sprint car racers. WoO