A Quick Stop Home: Kraig Kinser Gears up for Rite Aid Outlaws Showdown Concord, NC-- May 22, 2008-- For Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, Indiana will always be home, but for the past couple of years, he has been living in the Charlotte area, and...
A Quick Stop Home: Kraig Kinser Gears up for Rite Aid Outlaws Showdown
Concord, NC-- May 22, 2008-- For Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, Indiana will always be home, but for the past couple of years, he has been living in the Charlotte area, and thus the Rite Aid Outlaws Showdown for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Friday, May 23 will be an adopted home race for the third generation driver.
Kinser has competed four times in his career at the state-of-the-art four-tenths mile facility, including in last year's inaugural Outlaws World Finals, as a teammate to his father, Steve, the 20-time series champion. Driving for Tony Stewart Racing this season, Kraig will have a lot of new fans at the event who easily recognize the No. 20 machine, the same number that his car owner uses in NASCAR, and will also have fans from coast-to-coast cheering him on, as they watch the event LIVE on SPEED from 8-11 p.m. Eastern.
"I'm excited to get there," said Kinser of returning to The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I haven't raced there all that much lately. We ran there at the end of last season and the track was very good. Hopefully they have the track like that again."
With the always demanding schedule that the World of Outlaws keep, Kinser will not have many chances to spend time in North Carolina this season. He is excited to get to sleep in his own bed for a couple of nights and more importantly to spend time with his wife Danielle and their son Kash who was born prior to the 2008 season.
"Being home will be nice," he noted. "It will be good to be around my new born son. I like being on the road too. I hate being away from the kid. I enjoy being out there when we race night in and night out, but I don't care for the rainouts. We need to get a couple more nights under our belt and have the car figured out a little better."
While Kinser is used to late nights at the race track, he is now getting accustomed to having late nights and early mornings at home with a baby.
"It's definitely changed my life," explained the driver of the Bass Pro Shops Maxim with a smile. "I wish I could be home with him more. My wife has a little bit more to do, but she came from a racing family and she knew how it was. She halfway knew what to expect."
While the rash of rainouts that have plagued the World of Outlaws this season have been a major obstacle for all the teams and drivers, it has been especially tough on Kinser, who is still getting a feel for sprint car again, after competing in the NASCAR Truck Series for a couple of seasons. Each time he climbs back into a sprint car, he feels more comfortable as he works to get into a rhythm.
"It's frustrating for everybody," he shared. "For me coming back into the sport, we need to get as many nights in as we can for me to get where I need to be. It's taken a little longer and we're waiting for the rain to clear up."
One of the biggest challenges for him this season has been adapting to a few of the rule and procedural changes that the World of Outlaws implemented while he was away from the series, particularly the right rear tire rule, which offers drivers three different compounds to chose from.
"It definitely was different," said the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year of returning to sprint car racing. "I hadn't run with the (right rear) tire rule. When I got out, that was before the tire rule and I am getting used to that now. I am also getting used to a new team, and not running the exact same stuff I ran with my dad. Trying to feel what our car is doing and getting a baseline is the biggest thing in my mind right now."
One area that is helping ease his transition back into competing with the World of Outlaws, is the fact that Kinser has a teammate to bounce ideas off of and to share information with. He is teamed with two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz at Tony Stewart Racing. He also has a veteran crew chief in Jimmy Carr who has been around the sports for years.
"It does help having another car," Kinser said. "I always worked with my dad and always had him as a teammate. I always worked with a team car and am already halfway used to that. Donny (Schatz) runs his car a certain way and some of that is very different that what I do or how I drive a car. There are some things you can take from each other and some you can't. Hopefully we have both cars running good and both will have momentum."
The 2005 Knoxville Nationals winner is quick to point out just how tough the level of competition is this season with the World of Outlaws, as 18 drivers compete full-time with the series. Kinser has seven career A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws, dating back to 2004 and eight overall.
"Everyone is tough and they are out for blood every night. This is one of the toughest racing organizations around. These guys hate to lose and I hate to lose. It's tough every night you go out."
After a rash of rainouts, the series schedule begins to pick up steam this weekend, with three events in a four day period. This has Kinser excited as he and his team continue to mesh and feel each other out. Looking to turn as many laps as they can, the team has tested a couple of times during the breaks in the schedule this spring, and also competed in the opening event of the Keystone Cup at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, where he won a heat race.
"I hope the rain begins to stay away," said Kinser. "I hope we get in a better rhythm than everyone else. When we start running night in and night out, the crew gets in a rhythm and everything starts to run smooth."
The Rite Aid Outlaws Showdown will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED from 8-11 p.m. Eastern on Friday, May 23.
On Friday, May 23 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Adult tickets for the Rite Aid Outlaws Showdown will be $25, with kids12-under just $10. For ticket information visit: www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267). The event will begin with a Pit Party from 4:30-6 p.m. under the main grandstand for those who receive a voucher from Rite Aid to attend the Pit Party, which will feature an autograph session with all the World of Outlaws drivers.