Steve Kinser Motors to Gold Cup Race of Champions Preliminary Victory Chico, CA -- Sept. 9, 2005 -- How important are heat races in World of Outlaws Sprint Series competition? At the Gold Cup Race of Champions this weekend at Silver Dollar ...
Steve Kinser Motors to Gold Cup Race of Champions Preliminary Victory
Chico, CA -- Sept. 9, 2005 -- How important are heat races in World of Outlaws Sprint Series competition? At the Gold Cup Race of Champions this weekend at Silver Dollar Speedway, they're the difference between starting first and second in the main event.
Like Craig Dollansky did on Thursday on the first qualifying night, Steve Kinser on Friday set quick time and won the feature, but Kinser was able to hang on and finish second in his heat while on Thursday Dollansky raced to a third-place finish. That three-point difference gives Steve Kinser the slightest of edges in his Quaker State Maxim as he tries to capture his third Gold Cup title in the past four years.
In the main event on Friday, and only hours removed from a cross-country flight to compete with Danny Lasoski in an International Race of Champions event in Virginia, Steve Kinser earned the pole with a victory in the Stacker 2 Dash and led all 30 laps in the feature for his fifth preliminary feature victory this season. He'll be aiming for his 18th A-feature victory of 2005 on Saturday.
On a night when tire choice was critical, Daryn Pittman's Hoosier-clad Titan Garages and Carports Maxim lasted long enough to get him a runner-up finish followed by Jason Solwold's City Wide Insulation Schnee, Jac Haudenschild's Beefpackers Eagle and Danny Lasoski's Bass Pro Shops Eagle.
Joey Saldana raced to sixth in his Volcano Joe's/Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Maxim, followed by Jason Sides in his Wetherington Tractor Services Maxim, Brian Paulus in his Arnold Transportation/FreakyFlickers.com Maxim, Brandon Wimmer in his Astro Titanium Maxim and Greg DeCaires in Thompson's Auto and Truck Centers JB. A top-10 was especially rewarding for Wimmer after he was forced into a back-up car after a hard flip in time trials and was then caught in a wreck when several cars spun in front of him during his heat race.
With the quarter-mile oval taking rubber in the B-main, Kinser went with a hard tire compound and drove away on every restart. Then, just as he hit traffic several times, a caution would fly and allow him clear track, making it nearly impossible for any of the contenders, especially those nervously racing soft tires, to catch him.
Only four laps into the race, Kinser had a full-turn lead on the field, which he continued to stretch not knowing he could ease off a bit because most cars behind him were conserving rubber and just hoping for a decent finish to set them up for the main event on Saturday.
Pittman charged from fourth to second early on and dueled with Terry McCarl and Jason Solwold for much of the race as Kinser stretched his lead. Pittman and McCarl had on soft tires while Solwold was using the same hard compound as Kinser. Not knowing what tires Pittman and McCarl were using, Solwold conserved when he saw they looked ready to pop, content in knowing that a strong qualifying run and heat race win would garner him enough points for a decent starting spot on Saturday.
That thinking paid off because with five to go, McCarl's tire let go, along with Robert Ballou's. That restart would be the last chance for anybody to catch Kinser, but with the lapped car of Jim Skinner between him and the field, it wasn't close. Kinser got a huge jump while everybody else was stacked up behind Skinner. The tires held up the rest of the way and Kinser won a preliminary for the fourth time on this West Coast swing without capturing a main event win.
"The heck with the preliminaries, I want to win the main nights," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who is closing on his 20th World of Outlaws championship. "We've been pretty good all the time. We keep plugging away in the top two or three in every show so that helps a lot."
With rubber down, Kinser knew he was going to have to take care of his tires from the start, even with a compound harder than what many of the drivers in the field dared to use.
"I was afraid it wouldn't make it the whole way around," he said. "I back-pedaled the whole race. They must have been back-pedaling, too. I was running so easy, but Kraig [Kinser] said nobody was even staying close. I figured I had them stacked up behind me everywhere, so they were all saving tires, too.
"I was just wanting to make sure we got somewhere in the top four to have a shot at winning the race [on Saturday]. With this caliber of guys, the closer you start to the front, the better your chances are."
Pittman's right rear was bald by the time the checkered flag waved, but he still babied it just enough to continue a strong West Coast swing and earn the sixth starting spot on Saturday night.
"On the third lap when I was still running third I knew we were in trouble," said Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla. "We gambled. I knew it was going to lay rubber but I thought it was going to take a little longer. We put a pair of 12s on, which was way, way too soft. Once we got to second, I knew my best bet was just to hopefully stay in second. We should have popped that tire five laps ago. There were guys with harder tires than ours that popped. We had a good racecar, we were good all night, but if you don't have the tire to get up there and race with him you're wasting your time. I was going to be a lot happier hanging on to finish second or third than if I popped a tire and having to go to the back."
All night, Solwold thrilled the packed grandstands by daring to sling his machine along the top of the track when so many other cars that tried to do that wound up over the banking in both ends. When it came down to the wire, he was in position to see McCarl's tire let go and see that Pittman's wanted to, so he decided to stay put.
"I've raced here a lot and most of the races are won on the top," said Solwold, a Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender from Mt. Vernon, Wash. "I just wanted to make sure our car was good up there. The night was good all through. Steve got me on both the initial starts and I let him go because it was locked down rubber and I have a tendency of using up tires too quickly. I was more or less worried about points and Pittman got by and was racing pretty hard with McCarl. Sure enough, McCarl popped his tire and we could have gone another half dozen laps or more with our tire.
"[Pittman] was almost done there with two laps to go. I saw Terry's doing the same thing and it was just a matter of time before [Pittman] popped his. I just didn't want to pop my tire with a couple of laps to go and wind up in the back. [Saturday] is where the show is and the money is so I figured I'd just collect as many points as I could."
A top-five for Lasoski locks him into the main event Saturday, and is just another sign that his team has completely rebounded from its struggles earlier this season.
"I've got to thank Mopar and Paul Kistler for getting our engine program back where it needs to be," said Lasoski, a Mean 15 racer from Dover, Mo. "Tonight it was just rubber down and holding our own. We had no tire left, we were just lucky it stayed up. The bad thing about Chico is when you get an early number in qualifying, you're in trouble. The later the number the better here."
Nobody will have to worry about qualifying on Saturday. The top 20 positions in the A-main are locked up with Steve Kinser and Craig Dollansky on the front row, Tim Shaffer and Jason Solwold in Row 2, Jac Haudenschild and Daryn Pittman in Row 3, Jason Meyers and Donny Schatz in Row 4, Brooke Tatnell and Roger Crockett in Row 5, Paul McMahan and Jason Statler in Row 6, Joey Saldana and Brian Paulus in Row 7, Danny Lasoski and Willie Croft in Row 8, Jason Sides and Shain Matthews in Row 9 and Sean Becker and Terry McCarl in Row 10.
After completing the Gold Cup on Saturday night, the series heads back east Sept. 12 to Rocky Mountain Speedway in Commerce City, Colo., for a one-night Brownfield Promotions' event and onto Eagle Raceway Sept. 16-17 for the 1/3-mile Short Track Nationals in Eagle, Neb.
GOLD CUP NIGHT TWO NOTEBOOK
* Steve Kinser paced the 42 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lap of 11.361 seconds. Craig Dollansky broke the track record Thursday night by turning a lap in 11.281 seconds.
* The three-day Gold Cup Race of Champions uses a unique qualifying points system, splitting the field over the first two days of the event before bringing it together on Saturday for the finale. Because of the format, the teams will earn a flat 75 points in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series standings following the action on Saturday night. For the event itself, drivers earn a maximum of 200 points for time trials, dropping two points by position; 100 points in heat races, dropping three points by position; and 250 points in the feature, dropping four points by position. In the C-main, drivers who fail to transfer will earn a maximum of 90 points, dropping four points by position and in the B-main drivers who fail to transfer earn a maximum of 150 points, dropping four points by position. On Friday, Steve Kinser, who was the fast qualifier, finished second in his heat and won the A-main for a 547 total (200-97-250).
* Steve Kinser's victory Friday night was his fifth preliminary feature victory of the season to go with a series-high 17 A-feature wins. There have been 17 different A-feature winners this season. Including preliminary events, 22 different drivers have visited Victory Lane. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Donny Schatz's victory on Sept. 4 at Calistoga Speedway was his sixth of the season. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. Craig Dollansky has two A-feature victories and three preliminary feature wins. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora and Aug. 14 at Knoxville Raceway in the Nationals' non-qualifiers event. -- Daryn Pittman won his second A-feature of the season Aug. 21 at BMP Speedway in Billings, Mont. -- Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 at Cottage Grove Speedway and has three preliminary feature wins. -- Fred Rahmer won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.
* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky three times (Manzanita/Williams Grove/Silver Dollar), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser five times (Eagle/Billings/Elma/Calistoga/Silver Dollar), Danny Lasoski three times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Fred Rahmer once (Knoxville), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville).
* The Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway is on a quarter-mile oval. The series has raced nine times this season on tracks that size, including preliminary features. Steve Kinser won April 16 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.; Tim Kaeding won June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park in Sheboygan, Wis.; Kraig Kinser won June 14 at Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, Ind.; Brooke Tatnell won July 29 at Princeton Speedway in Princeton, Minn.; Steve Kinser won July 30 at Princeton; Kraig Kinser won Aug. 3 in Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 in Cottage Grove, Ore.; and Craig Dollansky won Sept. 8 and Steve Kinser won Sept. 9 at Silver Dollar Speedway
* In the Stacker 2® Dash that set the inside top six rows of the feature, fast-qualifier Steve Kinser benefited from the zero inversion pulled on Thursday's opening night and jumped out to a quick lead with Jac Haudenshchild rolling along the top. Kyle Hirst was pushing hard to get Terry McCarl for third when he slipped over the banking in Turn 4 and whacked the wall hard at the beginning of the front-stretch. Robert Ballou slid into fourth on the restart with Hirst earning fifth and Andy Forsberg, who didn't start, being credited with sixth.
* Jason Solwold had a fast car all night and in the second Dash that set the outside top six rows in the feature, he quickly raced into the lead and led flag-to-flag for the win with Daryn Pittman shooting from fourth to second. Shain Matthews held off Jonathan Allard for third while Danny Lasoski was fifth and Sean Becker sixth.
* In the B-main, Joey Saldana rushed into the lead in the first corner and survived a rash of cautions to take the checkered flag. Johnny Gray used five restarts to help secure second with Brian Paulus third and Brandon Wimmer, who flipped in time trials and was caught in a wreck in his heat, fighting off Kerry Madsen to grab the final transfer spot.
* After four cautions, the first heat race finally took the green flag and Robert Ballou, 16, held off fast-qualifier Steve Kinser in the final corner to pick up the victory. Jason Sides was third with Jonathan Allard and Toni Lutar earning the other transfer positions.
* In the second heat, Daryn Pittman powered to the outside of Billy Wallace and into the lead after the second caution, held onto the top spot after another caution that set up a green-white-checkered finish and drove away with the checkered flag. Wallace wound up second was done for the night after his engine let go at the end of the race. Dean Alexander was third with Shain Matthews and Terry McCarl also transferring. McCarl, a six-time Knoxville Raceway champion, fought off Kerry Madsen, the 2005 Knoxville track champion, for the final transfer spot.
* In third heat, Jason Solwold started fifth and dared to hang his machine on the top edge of the track, where he drove to the front on Lap 7 and pulled away to the checkered flag with Jim Skinner, Andy Forsberg, Danny Lasoski and Greg DeCaires earning the other transfer spots.
* In a wild fourth heat, Kyle Hirst forced his way to the lead on the first lap, which was key because behind him cars were spinning out or going over the banking in nearly every corner. Hirst easily won, with Jac Haudenschild going from sixth to second and Sean Becker, Lawrence Edlund and Jeff Delte all earning spots in the main event.
* After completing the Gold Cup on Saturday night, the series heads back east Sept. 12 to Rocky Mountain Speedway in Commerce City, Colo., for a one-night Brownfield Promotions' event and onto Eagle Raceway Sept. 16-17 for the 1/3-mile Short Track Nationals in Eagle, Neb.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 7 the show from Grays Harbor Raceway, Sept. 14 the Harvest Classic from Calistoga Speedway and Sept. 21 the Gold Cup from Silver Dollar Speedway.