Mark Kinser Claims First Gold Cup Championship CHICO, CA (September 8) -- After winning the Kings Royal in July, only a couple of major sprint car championships remained for Mark Kinser to win. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader...
Mark Kinser Claims First Gold Cup Championship
CHICO, CA (September 8) -- After winning the Kings Royal in July, only a couple of major sprint car championships remained for Mark Kinser to win. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader added one of those to his already sparkling resume Saturday.
Kinser raced past Second Preliminary Feature winner Stevie Smith for the lead with 9 1/4 laps remaining and held off First Preliminary Feature winner Jeff Shepard to win the 48th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.
"Thank God I finally won this race!" Kinser yelled to the capacity crowd. "I've been coming here for something like 17 years, and I finally won it! I have to thank my crew members. They did a great job all weekend. Ray and Pat Williams have been one of my sponsors from out here in California for a long time, and tonight they're taking home a Gold Cup trophy. We really try to stay focused every race, and there might be a race or two that I haven't won yet -- I'm not trying to brag here -- but I sure wanted to win the Gold Cup."
Leading the most laps while winning his 15th "A" Feature of the season gave Kinser a 23-point advantage over defending Gold Cup champion Danny Lasoski in their battle for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship.
Kinser, who saw Shepard break his 13-year-old qualifying record at the high-banked, 1/4-mile oval on opening night, earned the right to start the 40-lap main event inside the second row by scoring the third-most points in the qualifying programs.
Kinser passed Shepard for second place early in the opening lap while Smith burst into the lead from the pole. Smith was 12 car-lengths ahead of Kinser when they entered lapped traffic five laps later.
Shawna Wilskey and Jason York collided ahead of Smith on the back straightaway midway through the sixth lap, taking the leaders out of lapped traffic and tightening the field.
Jonathan Allard, who lost fourth place for failing the post-race technical inspection, passed Shepard for third within a lap after the green flag replaced the yellow.
Kinser steered the #5M Mopar Maxim into the high groove in the second corner to pass Smith for the lead early in lap 10. Smith was just inches from Kinser's rear bumper when they caught the back-markers again three laps later.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' two-time champion held a three-car-length advantage midway through the race, but Smith caught him late in the 23rd lap. Smith battled Kinser through every corner before regaining the lead deep in turn four the next time around.
Kinser collided with Smith in the fourth corner while trying to pass him the next time around, but they maintained their positions.
Kinser rode the rim around the 1993 Gold Cup champion in turn four to regain first place late in the 31st lap. Johnny Herrera took the leaders out lapped traffic one lap later when the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim blew a radiator hose and spun in the fourth corner.
Lasoski, who lost fifth place to Donny Schatz early in the 29th lap, drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle into the low groove between the first and second corners to regain the spot early in lap 34.
Shepard took the high line through turn four to pass Smith for third place the next time around, just seconds before two-time Gold Cup champion Andy Hillenburg spun in the same spot.
"The Dude" continued his run toward the front two laps after the race resumed, passing Smith in the low groove between the first and second corners for fourth place.
Shepard was five car-lengths behind when Kinser took the checkered flag.
"I had a lot of fun out here in California," Shepard said. "My crew gave me a great car tonight, but Mark was better. We got by a couple of more cars the last few laps, and wound up here on the podium."
Lasoski held off Schatz for third place. Smith finished fifth, ahead of Brent Kaeding, 17th-starting Tim Shaffer, Joey Saldana, Kasey Kahne and Steve Kinser.
Kinser, who has won nine Gold Cup championships, lost two starting positions when he was late getting his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the push lane to start the main event. "The King of the Outlaws" raced into 10th place from inside the 12th row.
Jason Meyers and Dale Blaney, who used provisionals to start the "A" Feature, raced into 17th and 20th place, respectively.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the Second Annual O'Reilly Texas Showdown Friday and Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. TNN: The National Network will tape Friday's action for a Sunday afternoon telecast.