OPEN OPPORTUNITY Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Returns to Williams Grove Looking to Shine in the Outlaws' Final Big Money Race of 2009 INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 30, 2009) -- Most competitors just want a chance. Be in the game when it matters most.
Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Returns to Williams Grove Looking to Shine in the Outlaws' Final Big Money Race of 2009
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 30, 2009) -- Most competitors just want a chance. Be in the game when it matters most. Be in a position to make the winning play and help the team win. In the world of motorsports, teams work hard to put their driver in a position to win. A driver relishes the opportunity to come through at the end of the race and be the first to the checkered flag.
World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series racer Kraig Kinser competes nearly 70 nights a year. Only a few nights can offer the prestige and tradition of the Williams Grove National Open. This weekend, Kinser returns to action behind the wheel of the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 20 Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim at historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
The National Open is a race that is recognized as one of the biggest dirt track events of the season, and one in which numerous racing greats have competed and won. On Saturday night, Kinser has a chance to etch his name in the history books alongside open wheel racing greats like Gordon Johncock, who won the first National Open in 1963, Lynn Paxton, Smokey Snellbaker, Doug Wolfgang and Steve Kinser, who has won a record four National Opens.
Thanks to Mother Nature, this weekend offers the best Sprint car racers in the world a shot at winning $78,000 over two nights. It could be the richest weekend of action for a driver outside of the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals. Persistent rain during the Summer Nationals in July forced the $20,000-to-win feature to be completed on Friday night. The race will be run in conjunction with the Outlaws' regular program that includes qualifying, heat races, a dash and 25-lap feature that pays the winner $8,000. Saturday night's National Open program will also include qualifying, heat races, and a dash, but the night will conclude with a 40-lap feature race and that pays $50,000 to the winner.
Kinser made his Williams Grove debut in the 41st annual Cleveland Brothers National Open in October 2003 and finished 11th. A ninth-place finish in the 2004 Open is his career best in the late-season classic. He has already qualified for the Summer Nationals main event and will be making his 22nd appearance at the half-mile dirt oval. During his career, he has made 12 feature starts at the track and his best finish is sixth, which he has done twice -- first in July 2004 and then again in May 2005.
The 2004 WoO Rookie of the Year enters the weekend following a 13th-place finish last Friday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He charged from the 25th starting position on a very fast track that endured an early evening rain shower. In the race prior to that, Kinser led five laps of the WoO feature at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.
Kinser has competed in 57 Outlaw feature events during the 2009 season and has scored 10 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s. He currently ranks eighth in the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 7,335 points.
Saturday's 48th annual Cleveland Brothers National Open program will air live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
For Friday and Saturday night's event at Williams Grove, the pit gates open at 3:30 p.m. EDT and grandstands open at 5:15 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling Williams Grove Speedway at (717) 697-5000, and more information is available at www.williamsgrove.com.
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.
Kraig Kinser, Driver of the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
It's not often that you'll run three feature races at the same track in consecutive days. This weekend, you get that chance at Williams Grove. What are your goals for the weekend?
"First off, we want to be involved in all three races. Our recent results there haven't been what we hoped for, but this weekend is a great opportunity. We start deep in the field in the make-up race, but at least we are in it. That gives us a chance to really work on some things that might help us in Friday's regular feature and, ultimately, the National Open on Saturday.
"Any time you can get that much track time, it really helps. The Bass Pro Shops crew (Mike Cool, Steve Swenson, and Bob Curtis) will do everything it can to give us a chance to go forward. We had to start deep in the field at Eldora (Speedway) last week and were able to get a
ways up there. The biggest thing when you race at Williams Grove is making a good lap in qualifying. There are so many good cars and drivers there that you have to be fast right out of the trailer if you are going to have a chance."
There are a handful of events during the year that stand out. As someone who's been around Sprint car racing nearly all his life, what makes these races feel different?
"It's different because winning them means a lot more. When I was a growing up, you just knew going to the National Open, the Kings Royal or the Knoxville Nationals that you were going to be a part of something big. These races bring out the best cars and teams. These are the races that all the great Sprint car drivers competed in. These are the races that you always hope you'll win."
Williams Grove Speedway is a unique facility. What is it like racing there?
"It can be a lot of fun, but it can also be pretty tough. The competition there is second to none, so you can't make many mistakes or you'll be in trouble. It's a great track with the best competition. You are challenged every time you hit the track. You have to have everything right to be successful. There's no waiting around, and you have your mind focused every time you hit the track. If you aren't on your game, the guy behind you probably will be and the guys ahead of you will be, for sure. It's a big challenge and we're looking forward to it."
For complete WoO Sprint Series results from Williams Grove Speedway, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint. For information regarding TSR, Bass Pro Shops, J.D. Byrider, Chevy or Kinser, visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.basspro.com, www.byrider.com, www.chevy.com or www.kraigkinser.com.