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Series season review - Steve Kinser

2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Steve Kinser Each time that Steve Kinser took to the track this season, he continued to add to his sprint car racing legacy. The 20-time Advance Auto Parts World of...

2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Steve Kinser

Each time that Steve Kinser took to the track this season, he continued to add to his sprint car racing legacy. The 20-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion victorious ten times to bring his career total to an amazing 543 A-Feature wins.

The 20-time World of Outlaws champion capped the season off by winning the finale of the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway to earn his 51st Top-10 finish of the season en route to a sixth-place finish in championship points. In his career, he has now finished sixth or better in World of Outlaws championship points a record 28 times.

"It definitely was a challenging season for us," said Kinser, driver of the Q Oil Maxim. "It was not one of my better seasons, but we'll go to work this winter and see if we can get faster for next season."

In his first visit to USA Race Park in Arizona in early March, Kinser was victorious to add to his record of winning at tracks he visits for the first time. Strong runs at Houston Raceway Park in Texas and Pike County Speedway in Mississippi followed. After a runner-up finish at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio on April 20, he dominated the 40-lap event at Tri-State Speedway the following night in his home state of Indiana, leading wire-to-wire. As the series headed to the East Coast for the first time in 2007, Kinser continued his winning ways, picking up his 16th career win at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania with a triumph in the Commonwealth Clash.

In one of the most thrilling races of the season, he inched out Jason Sides by 0.028 seconds in a photo finish at New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey in May to earn his first win at the uniquely shaped half-mile in the Garden State. Kinser wrapped up the first East Coast swing of the season in style by winning at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in New York and Sharon Speedway in Ohio in consecutive events.

"It was a good fun race, especially running with Jason," he noted of the event at New Egypt, which ended well into the night after a lengthy rain delay. "I definitely had a good time in that one."

A return to the Midwest found the native of Bloomington, Indiana back in Victory Lane at Missouri State Fair Speedway on June 20, his familiar No. 11. He extended his record number of wins at Eldora Speedway with a victory in the Knight Before the Kings Royal in July.

He wrapped the year up as one of just three drives that had double digits wins, as well as one of just three drivers that led more than 300 laps of feature racing competition over the course of the season. Kinser claimed eight wins in the Crane Cams Dash in 2007 to earn the same number of pole positions in A-Feature events.

Kinser also made some more history by winning in Canada, becoming the only Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series driver that has won a series event in the United States, Mexico and Canada. He won on the opening night of the Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton.

"I enjoyed the trip up there, and didn't mind the long driver," commented the winningest driver in sprint car racing history. "Some of the border stuff was not the most fun, but there are a lot of good race fans up there."

Kinser also ran strong in a number of the events that were televised this season. A total of 18 events in 2007 were covered by SPEED and ESPN2.

"Anytime you have television is good for sprint car racing," he said. "There are a lot of people worldwide that got to watch it. I was at the SEMA show (in Las Vegas in October) and had a lot of people from different parts of the country say they watched the races. They normally did not get to watch the sprint cars run."

While he was pleased with the 10 wins that he had, he had a number of probable wins slip away due to flat tires, mechanical failures and other bad luck. Those are races that he and his team will look back on and analyze over the winter as they put in countless hours in the shop.

"I had all kinds of things go wrong," Kinser explained. "We had flat tires, I spun out and we had engine problems. It was not a normal season for us. It seemed like we would get the car good and fast and something would happen. At Phoenix (Manzanita Speedway in October) we had a good fast race car and I think we would have won the race and we spun out. It's just been one of those years and we'll just get it behind us. I haven't had one of those for a while. I remember having two of them in a row back in 1982 and 1983. I haven't really had one since then, and it's not a lot of fun."

During the inaugural Outlaws World Finals, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, Kinser broke out a new Maxim race car and tried some different combinations on it and they paid off. On the first night he finished fourth, while he led all 30 laps in the finale, winning a thrilling race with Danny Lasoski and Daryn Pittman.

"Everybody out here is always trying stuff," said Kinser. "You never know when you will help yourself, but also a lot of times you go in the wrong direction. That's just part of racing. It always has been and it always will be. You have to try stuff all the time to keep improving."

Kinser plans to head to Australia later in the off-season to turn some laps in preparation for the 2008 World of Outlaws season. Prior to that, he plans to spend a lot of time at home with his family and in shop. Kinser, who is a former Indiana high school wrestling state champion, also plans on taking in a few wrestling matches.

"My son (Kurt) will be wrestling for Indiana (University) and I want to go to a few of his wrestling meets," he said. "We'll go and find some warm weather once in a while and take it easy, and also work in the shop."

-credit: woo

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