'King of the Outlaws' dominates Gold Cup opener. CHICO, CA (September 5) -- Steve Kinser won seven Gold Cup Race of Champions titles between 1983 and 1992. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader took a big step toward adding another...
'King of the Outlaws' dominates Gold Cup opener.
CHICO, CA (September 5) -- Steve Kinser won seven Gold Cup Race of Champions titles between 1983 and 1992. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader took a big step toward adding another championship to his long list of accomplishments Thursday when he led all 30 laps in the First Preliminary Feature.
"The King of the Outlaws" started on the pole and held off a strong charge by Watsonville Speedway main event winner Brad Furr to win his fourth Preliminary Feature of the season.
"I have three great guys working on this car," Kinser said. "I think I had a tire getting low the last couple of laps there. I could hardly turn the thing, but I knew it was going to be real tough to pass me. You had to be really careful down there in (turns) one and two, and the lapped cars make it pretty tough here.
"We've had a great year, and I'm really tickled with the way things have gone. I said I was going to come into Chico with a great attitude. We haven't won this thing in a while, and if we do, we'll be really happy."
Kinser had to be pleased qualifying third quick, finishing third in the Third Heat Race and winning the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash to set up his flag-to-flag run in the feature.
"The King of the Outlaws" drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim away from Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash winner Kevin Pylant as the green flag fell in the evening's main event. Pylant nullified the original start, however, when he spun in the fourth corner late in the opening lap.
Kinser beat his second cousin, Mark Kinser, down the front straightaway when the green flag replaced the yellow. Donny Schatz steered his #15 Parker Stores J&J into the high groove between turns three and four to pass the defending Gold Cup champion late in the second lap.
Kinser entered lapped traffic with a full-straightaway advantage six laps into the race, only to have Schatz narrow the gap to three car-lengths with a lap.
Tim Shaffer, who set fast time and won the First Heat Race, passed Mark Kinser and Schatz during laps nine and 10. Furr, who started inside the fifth row, raced into the runner-up spot early in the 11th lap, passing Shaffer deep in the second corner. Mark Kinser used a similar move to pass Schatz for fourth the next time around.
Robbie Farr, a 29-year-old driver from Australia, started making his way toward the front during the race's middle stages, passing Mark Kinser in the low groove between turns three and four late in the 13th lap. Farr and Shaffer exchanged third place during laps 16 and 21. Mark Kinser passed Farr deep in the second corner early in the 23rd lap.
Mark Kinser drove the #5M Mopar Maxim into third place in the low groove as Shaffer tried to take the high line around Furr late in lap 28. Stephen Allard took the leaders out of lapped traffic several seconds later when he spun in the fourth corner.
Fourth Heat Race winner Jason Meyers steered the #14 Craviotto Percussion Products Maxim into the lowest point in turn two to pass Schatz for sixth place as "The King of the Outlaws" raced under the checkered flag a full straightaway ahead of Furr.
Mark Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Shaffer, Farr, Meyers, Schatz, Danny Wood, 13th-starting Peter Murphy and Randy Hannagan.
The Gold Cup Race of Champions, one of sprint car racing's premier events, attracts an unusually high number of cars, so the field is split between two qualifying programs.
Shaffer paced the 45-car qualifying session for the ninth time this season, driving the #83 Beef Packers Eagle around the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds' high-banked, quarter-mile oval in 12.146 seconds, an average speed of 74.098 M.P.H.
Bernie Sloop was unable to start the Preliminary Feature because his sprinter developed rear end problems just seconds before the green flag fell. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' qualifying points format prohibits alternates.
An engine malfunction forced Chad Riolo to surrender the lead in the "B" Feature and a starting position in the evening's main event.