Kinser and Dillon thrill huge crowd at Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals

Legendary Outlaw Steve Kinser, Daytona 500 Pole-Winner Austin Dillon thrill huge crowd at Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals.

BARBERVILLE, Fla. - The atmosphere Sunday night at Volusia Speedway Park was electric for the finale to sprint car week of the DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment. The legendary Steve Kinser fought off Daryn Pittman in a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series race nobody in the jam-packed grandstands will soon forget, then Austin Dillon, just a few hours after winning the pole for the Daytona 500, hopped into his DIRTcar UMP Modified and drove to victory in the final Gator Championship qualifying feature.

Steve Kinser
Steve Kinser

Photo by: Covy Moore

Kinser, 59, had the crowd on its feet when he pulled ahead of the traditional four-wide parade lap to salute the fans as he begins his final season on the road with the Outlaws, then five laps later he was out front again as he powered to the lead in the 30-lap A-main and started to pull away. A caution with eight laps to go set up a double-file restart with Kinser electing to go to the outside with defending series champion Pittman on the bottom. They raced each other hard, but clean, with breathtaking slide-jobs in each corner until Kinser finally slid to the front to take the checkered flag.

"I didn't know where to go on the restart and I decided to take the top line and just carry some speed and just have it," said Kinser, a 20-time series champion who won a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series feature for the 577th time in a career that dates back to the beginning of the series in 1978. "He beat me out of there and it was a good race. You hate to lose one on the restart, I didn't think anyone could pass me when I had a clear track. It doesn't matter, we got the win that's all that counts."

Pittman held on for second with Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet and Tim Kaeding rounding out the top five. Paul McMahan was the overall sprint car week champion with three top-five's and three quick times in four nights.

Like his brother, Ty, on Saturday, Austin Dillon raced to the front of his 20-lap Gator Championship qualifying feature, maintained the lead through several cautions, and charged to victory. Along with Dillon, top-five finishers Billy Workman Jr., Jeff Babcock, Kenny Wallace and Matt Westfall all locked themselves into the draw for Monday night's Gator Championship, the premier event for DIRTcar UMP Modifieds during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.

"I don't know if there were more nerves today qualifying for the Daytona 500 or out here at Volusia to get a win because Ty has had two of them and he beat me to one," said Dillon, who will sit on the pole of the Daytona 500 in his first season of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. "We created a little Gator farm at Team Dillon Racing…I've been here seven years, I'm not a rookie here."

With sprint car week ending at Volusia, DIRTcar Late Models invade the half-mile beginning Monday to join the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds. The Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds roll into Volusia on Wednesday.

DIRTcar Nationals

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Series WOO
Article type Race report
Tags austin dillon, brad sweet, steve kinser, tim kaeding, woo