TINTON FALLS, NJ (November 18) -- The True Value International Race of Champions will get a double-dose of Outlaws next year. World of Outlaws champions Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski will represent the premier sprint car racing series in IROC...
TINTON FALLS, NJ (November 18) -- The True Value International Race of Champions will get a double-dose of Outlaws next year.
World of Outlaws champions Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski will represent the premier sprint car racing series in IROC competition in 2003. It will be the first time two fire breathing, mudslinging sprint car racers will compete with the International Race of Champions in the same season.
Kinser, the World of Outlaws 17-time champion, and Lasoski, the 2001 titleist, have raced with the IROC before. "The King of the Outlaws," the first driver to represent short track racing, competed with the International Race of Champions in 1994, 1995 and 1996. He beat NASCAR Winston Cup, Indy, SCCA and IMSA drivers at Talladega Superspeedway in only his third IROC race. "The Dude" represented the World of Outlaws last season, but missed the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to injuries suffered at Williams Grove Speedway several days before.
"I'm really happy to race with IROC again," Kinser said. "It's a great series and a lot of fun. It means a lot to a driver to get invited into this series. It'll be great getting a chance to run at places like Daytona and Talladega again and having Danny there will only add to the excitement."
Lasoski is equally pleased to return for a second season with the True Value International Race of Champions.
"When I got that phone call inviting me back to run IROC in 2003, I didn't think I could get more excited -- until they told me Steve was also going to do it," Lasoski said. "I learned so much last year, and really gained a lot of respect for what it takes to race in a stock car. Knowing what I know now and having a partner like Steve to work with is just going be great, especially at places like Daytona and Talladega where you need a partner."
Lasoski and his car owner, NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, raced together in IROC competition last season. Stewart, who won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, ranked sixth and Lasoski finished 12th in the 2002 IROC standings.
Kinser finished sixth and eighth when the International Race of Champions raced Dodge Avengers in 1994 and 1995 and 12th while driving a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in 1996.
The True Value International Race of Champions is auto racing's version of the All-Star Game. The series, founded in 1973, takes 12 of the world's best drivers, from different types of racing, and they race identically prepared race cars. IROC's rules virtually eliminate the variables usually associated with racing. There are no pit stops, no qualifying and no driver set-up of the cars. The skill of the driver -- not his mechanics or pit crew -- determines the winner.
"We don't know if the IROC determines who the best driver in the world is," IROC Chairman Les Richter says, "but we sure go a long way toward that goal. IROC does prove that some drivers have more skill than others, regardless of their specialty or background in racing."
Daytona International Speedway will host the traditional season opener February 14, 2003.
The series will run its second race at Talladega Superspeedway April 5th. The sites and dates of the other two races will be confirmed soon.
The True Value IROC team will test at Daytona International Speedway Tuesday through Thursday this week to prepare for the 2003 season. Veteran True Value IROC test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Indiana's Andy Hillenburg, along with Kinser and Lasoski, will attend.
Kinser finished in the top 10 in 59 of 67 races, including 46 in the top five and 20 victories on his way to claiming his 17th World of Outlaws championship in 2002. "The King of the Outlaws" exchanged the points lead with Lasoski and his cousin, two-time series champion Mark Kinser, 12 times in the first five months of the season. Lasoski was leading the standings when he suffered numerous injuries in a crash during the Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway July 26th. Despite missing four events, "The Dude" recorded 52 top-10 finishes -- 42 in the top five -- and 13 "A" Feature victories.