FORT WORTH, TX (January 22) - The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series sent more representatives to Tuesday& ...
FORT WORTH, TX (January 22) - The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series sent more representatives to Tuesday’s Texas Tour 2002 Media Day than any in auto racing, as three officials and two-time series champion Mark Kinser visited Texas Motor Speedway.
Ted Johnson, who orchestrated the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series’ first race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway -- approximately 60 miles from TMS -- almost 24 years ago, spoke about the excitement of sprint car racing.
"Our cars are extremely quick on the dirt," Johnson said. "We’ll turn more than 150 miles per hour out here on this track. The fans can see the driver working the car and ours is the only series where the fans can visit the teams in the pit area. We made some changes to the body of the sprint car this year so the fans can see the drivers working the car better.
"We’re glad to have guys like (2001 championship car owner) Tony Stewart and Billy Wilburn (NASCAR Winston Cup racer Rusty Wallace’s new crew chief) get involved with us. Tony loves dirt racing and he wanted to get involved with us. The only way he could do that was put a car out there for his good friend, Danny Lasoski. Now Billy is putting a car out there, too. It shows how other racers enjoy our competition. Our drivers want to get in the Winston Cup cars, but the Cup racers won’t even get in our cars. Kenny Schrader, who raced with us years ago, took Michael Waltrip for a ride in Dave Blaney’s two-seater sprint car out here last March and he couldn’t believe it. Those guys love our racing and we’re glad they’re getting involved.
"I’m not selling the series," Johnson added. "This will be our 25th year and I guess I might as well retire running it. It’s something I enjoy doing and I’ve talked to Carlton (Reimers, the series’ director of administration) about it. He says he wants to stay on, so we’re going to stay with it. It’s hard to part with something you’ve built.
"We’re going to have TV this year, but the deal isn’t officially signed yet. We’ll have TV coverage on two networks. We should have more races on TV than we did last year. The deal will be announced soon."
When asked about the 2001 season when he finished only 30 points short of his third Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship, Kinser said, "I think we had an awesome season last year. We won a lot of races and we were dominant for part of the season. The crash at Talladega took us out of the running (for the championship). We had some traveling to do after that, and that crash took out our good car. I feel like a prizefighter who went through the 12th round and they make a decision. We got everything but the trophy.
"The guys back in the shop just finished running a safety check on our truck and trailer. They’re putting together cars and engines. If you don’t have six engines with the World of Outlaws, you’re not going to be competitive. The crew and my father work very hard to give me good cars. They work 60 or 70 hours a week during the off-season; it’s a tough job."
Kinser also spoke about the exercise regimen he has followed during the off-season.
"Any time you’re fit, your mind thinks better and you work better in any atmosphere," he said. "I was always up on that until Cindy (his wife) had Cole (his son), then things changed. I spent more time with Cole and more time on the couch. I didn’t work out at all last winter, but this winter I picked it up again. Justin (Adams, one of the team’s crew members) is helping me out tremendously, and Jennifer (Moore, his sister-in-law) has helped, too. I playing racquetball six nights a week and lift some light weights, too."
Kinser also had good news, announcing his and Cindy’s second child is due in 10 weeks.
"We start racing in five weeks and the baby’s due in 10," Mark said. "I think we’ll be racing in Pevely (MO, I-55 Raceway) -- which is only about five hours from home -- on the due date. We’re really excited. Cindy is doing fine. Her tests have been great. Her 30-plus-year-old body is like a 20-year-old body, so everything is fine with her."
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series’ 25th season opens at Kings Speedway in Hanford, CA, February 22nd.