THE GOLD STANDARD Tony Stewart Racing's Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz Set To Celebrate 50 Years at Knoxville Raceway in 2010 Knoxville Nationals INDIANAPOLIS (August 2, 2010) -- In less than one week, Sprint car racing's finest will begin to ...
THE GOLD STANDARD
Tony Stewart Racing's Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz Set To Celebrate 50 Years at Knoxville Raceway in 2010 Knoxville Nationals
INDIANAPOLIS (August 2, 2010) -- In less than one week, Sprint car racing's finest will begin to descend on the legendary half-mile dirt track that is Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. The storied track, defined by its sweeping turns and distinctive black soil, is poised to celebrate 50 years of the biggest Sprint car race in the world -- the Knoxville Nationals. This iconic accomplishment isn't lost on Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) as the team is set to unveil commemorative paint schemes that Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz will pilot as a tribute to the historic event.
On Tuesday, Aug. 10, TSR will unveil those paint schemes at a noon CDT press conference at Knoxville Raceway. Dubbed "The Gold Standard," the schemes will be unveiled to media and race fans in front of the main grandstands in the popular Walk of Fame area. Kinser and Schatz will join representatives from Armor All/STP and Bass Pro Shops in presenting their 2010 Knoxville Nationals entries, which will represent 50 years of tradition set by the racetrack, the competitors and the fans who have made the Knoxville Nationals what it is today.
Kinser, a 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion, obviously has the formula for winning at the legendary half-mile. He'll be making his 34th appearance at the Nationals, an event in which he reigns supreme. Kinser has started an all-time-high 32 Nationals A-main events and holds the record for number of feature laps led at 302. "The King of the Outlaws" won three consecutive Knoxville Nationals titles from 1980-82, repeating that feat once again from 1986-88. Early dominance in the 1990s saw Kinser win a record five event titles in a row from 1991-95.
"It's a special race, so we're excited to be able to run something a little different," Kinser said. "The car itself is just like the regular car we run, but it'll be quite a bit shinier. It will be fun for our sponsors like Bass Pro Shops and J.D. Byrider and the fans to have something different to watch out there. In past Nationals, we ran a NAPA-schemed car and a Superman car, but didn't run too well. Maybe this year it will be a little different. Nothing would be sweeter than taking the car to victory lane, especially running a paint scheme that's celebrating the 50th anniversary of such a great race."
As the four-time and reigning champion of the Knoxville Nationals, Schatz knows what it takes to come out on top at the storied track. The Fargo, N.D., racer will make his 17th Nationals appearance in 2010, looking to build on his four-year dynasty and tie Kinser with five consecutive wins. He started deep in the field by event standards to win his fourth consecutive Nationals event in 2009, coming from the sixth spot on the grid position to overtake Joey Saldana for the victory. The emotion of a Knoxville Nationals victory is not lost on Schatz, either, as he played the bridesmaid on four separate occasions before beginning his current streak of dominance.
"The Knoxville Nationals is Sprint car racing's version of the Super Bowl," Schatz said. "If you could only win one race in your entire career, it would definitely be the Knoxville Nationals. We've been fortunate enough to win the event four times, which is really an honor. The paint schemes we're going to run this year are really our salute to the Knoxville Nationals event as a whole. To be part of the race is a highlight of any driver's career, but to have your name in the record books alongside the pioneers who helped to make this sport what it is today speaks volumes. We're hoping that we'll be able to put the Armor All, STP, ParkerStore J&J in victory lane again this year, especially with this being the 50th anniversary of the event."
When the first Knoxville Nationals was held in 1961, the event was originally a two-day affair for Super Modifieds and was expanded over the years from a two-day event to three days. Eventually, the race format was expanded to its current four-day format, and the type of cars was switched from Super Modifieds to Winged Sprints. Roy Robbins won the 1961 Knoxville Nationals behind the wheel of a Super Modified, which was equipped with what was known at the time as an "air scoop." The air scoop was later banned at the Knoxville Nationals until years later, when it became known as a "wing." That is now required equipment for the Sprint cars that compete at the Knoxville Nationals.
The Knoxville Nationals is the largest Sprint car race in the world. Its stature in short-track racing is equivalent to the magnitude of the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. Each year, the Nationals attracts the best Winged Sprint car drivers and race fans from all over the world to a four-day marathon during which more than 30,000 attendees converge on the "Sprint Car Capitol of the World" in Knoxville. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the prestigious event, the 2010 race will feature a 50-lap A-main race.
Media and race fans are invited to attend the public unveiling of "The Gold Standard" cars alongside Kinser, Schatz and the TSR team. The noon press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 10, will be held at the entrance of the main grandstands at Knoxville Raceway.