STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ Tony Stewart Racing Tandem Returns to Nebraska, Kansas INDIANAPOLIS (June 23, 2010) -- During the past four decades, the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint car stars have circled hundreds of race tracks. Tony Stewart ...
STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ
Tony Stewart Racing Tandem Returns to Nebraska, Kansas
INDIANAPOLIS (June 23, 2010) -- During the past four decades, the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint car stars have circled hundreds of race tracks. Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Steve Kinser has made laps around just about all of those, and his TSR teammate, reigning WoO champion Donny Schatz, has logged quite a few laps at numerous dirt ovals, too. On Friday night, Schatz will add a new track to his registry and Kinser will make his second appearance at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., as they continue the 2010 WoO tour. The weekend of action continues on Saturday night with an event at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., a venue the Outlaws haven't visited since 2003.
The heartland has been good to Kinser during his career. This weekend, he'll look to continue his assault on his 21st WoO title when he pilots the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/JD Byrider Maxim. Kinser has won 27 WoO races in the state of Nebraska during his illustrious career and has been consistently strong at Lakeside in his previous visits. Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 Armor All/STP/ParkerStore J&J, is no stranger to victory lane in Nebraska, or Kansas, either, as he's previously won WoO A-Features in both states. The goal for each this weekend is to park their cars in victory lane a couple more times.
Racing at new facilities is something most Outlaws enjoy. The challenge of being the first to find the fastest away around and also the glory of being the first WoO winner at a track is enticing. Kinser first won in Nebraska in June 1980, when he captured a non-sanctioned race at Midwest Speedway. He scored his first WoO win in Nebraska two years later at Sunset Speedway, and since then has claimed multiple WoO wins in the state at Eagle Raceway and Nebraska Raceway Park. Friday's race will be his second stop at Junction Motor Speedway. He finished third while racing with the National Sprint Tour at the track in August 2006.
The race will be the first for Schatz at Junction. He has four career WoO wins in Nebraska, claiming all of those at Eagle Raceway. He first won in the fall of 2003, and came back the following September and swept two races. His most recent win was a thriller as he raced from 15th to win in September 2006.
Lakeside Speedway, like many dirt tracks across the county, has been a good place for Kinser. He first circled track while competing with the United States Auto Club (USAC) in 1978, and finished second in the WoO debut at the track in April 1980. He earned three more top-four finishes in the early 1980s. When he returned to the track in 1992, the surface was pavement, and he put up consecutive second-place runs. Over a decade later, Lakeside was changed back to a dirt track, and Kinser won for the first time there in April 2001. In his last appearance at Lakeside in June 2003, he finished fourth in the WoO A-Feature.
Schatz has three career starts at Lakeside, with his best finish of third coming in his most recent start at the facility in June 2003. The Fargo, N.D., resident finished 10th in his debut at the track in 2001 and 15th in 2002. Like Kinser, Schatz's first Sprint car victory in the state of Kansas came in Topeka. Kinser won at the Topeka Fairgrounds in the summer of 1978, and Schatz won at Heartland Raceway Park.
Last weekend, in WoO action at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., Kinser picked up his third win of the season and followed that with a fourth-place run. Schatz finished seventh in the opener and charged from ninth to finish third in the finale. Kinser, "The King of the Outlaws," has moved into second place in the 2010 WoO championship standings, trailing leader Joey Saldana by 56 points. He has won three A-Features, finished in the top-five 18 times and has a series-leading 25 top-10 finishes. Schatz ranks fifth in the standings, 200 points back of Saldana. He has two victories this season and has 11 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.
Friday at Junction Motor Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details and ticket information, call the track at (402) 773-5538 or visit www.junctionmotorspeedway.com.
On Saturday at Lakeside Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details, contact Lakeside Speedway at (913) 299-2040. The official Web site of River Cities Speedway is www.lakesidespeedway.net.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, "Voice of the Outlaws," calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
A strong weekend in Grand Forks allowed you to move up a position in the standings. Were you happy with how things worked out in North Dakota?
"If you would have asked me that on Sunday night after the race, I'd probably tell you no. We weren't happy with running fourth. Today, I guess we are a little more accepting of it. It was good for us to win on Saturday. That's what we need to do. The guy in front of us (Joey Saldana) just keeps winning. We have to match his results and, hopefully, find a way to do a little better than him.
"I really have to give it to the Bass Pro Shops team (crew chief Scott Gerkin, crewmen Gary DuBois and Travis LoGrande). They just keep working hard, and we worked our way into a couple of front-row starting spots over the weekend. If we can keep doing that, I feel like we'll have chance to continue putting up some good results and, hopefully, a bunch of wins."
This week, it's back to the big tracks. You've stated before your preference for the bigger racetracks, but once again you'll have a 3/8-mile (Junction Motor Speedway) and a half-mile (Lakeside Speedway) track to race at this weekend. Is it a challenge to compete at different track on back-to-back nights?
"I like racing everywhere. All kinds of tracks, no matter where they are. But I do like running big tracks. These Sprint cars are really built for speed and we like to be able to race them that way. I'm excited. It's fun to places where you've only been a few times and continue building fans. Everyone looks forward to it.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Lakeside. We've run a lot of races in that part of the country over the years. We've been pretty decent there at Lakeside and, hopefully, that will continue this weekend."
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
Your annual June trip to race at home has been a little busier this time around. Even though you weren't able to pick up a victory in Grand Forks, do you feel like things are heading in the right direction?
"Coming home is always like a double-edged sword. You have so many friends and family around that it really makes it fun to be back home. But you also want to go out and have the kind of success on the track that you expect. We had a problem in Saturday's feature that kind of killed our chance to win, but this team didn't quit. (TSR No. 15 crew) Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Shane Bowers all want to win as bad as I do. We had a good car on Sunday night and, who knows, maybe with another lap or two the outcome would have been slightly different. That's how it works.
"Our program is coming around. We've been qualifying a lot better recently and getting better later in the races, too. The heat is picking up with the temperatures, and we're hoping that is a good thing for us."
Looking ahead, you have the chance to race at a new facility and one that you haven't been to in a while. What is your approach to the weekend?
"It's just like any other weekend. We need to have the goal of winning two features and then turn our attention toward the following week. Going someplace new is where you have to rely on teamwork. No one has a stack of notes about the place, so you kind of just guess where to start. From there, it's about working together to figure out what is going to work best.
"I've heard some good things about McCool Junction, and it'll be nice to get back to Lakeside. It's been a while since we've been there, and I know the last time we were there, I ran third. I'd like to get a couple spots higher on the podium this time."