Cottage Grove: Race report

'King of the Outlaws' increases points lead at Cottage Grove COTTAGE GROVE, OR (August 26) -- Steve Kinser exchanged first place with Joey Saldana twice on his way to increasing his O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings lead with a ...

'King of the Outlaws' increases points lead at Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE, OR (August 26) -- Steve Kinser exchanged first place with Joey Saldana twice on his way to increasing his O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings lead with a victory at Cottage Grove Speedway Tuesday.

"The King of the Outlaws" increased his advantage over 2001 series champion Danny Lasoski to 46 points with his 19th "A" Feature victory of the year. Kinser, who started on the pole, drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim to victory for the third time in 10 starts at Cottage Grove's semi-banked, ¼-mile oval.

"Scott (Gerkin, his crew chief) gave me a great car tonight," Kinser said. "I could run the top and, actually there at the end, I ran it in on the bottom and it stuck like glue. We just kept getting faster as the race went on.

"We've been struggling a little bit here lately, so we got this old car down from the top of the trailer, and it's been running pretty good. I think I had the fastest race car by far here tonight, and I kind of try to pace myself, especially when it comes to lapped cars. We have some tracks we like and some we don't like, but we just try to go out every night and run the best race we can and get down the road to the next one."

Kinser, who extended his streak of single-digit "A" Feature finishes to 16, was the fifth-fastest qualifier in the 32-car field. He won his 23rd Dash Race of the season for the privilege of starting the 40-lap main event on the pole.

The defending and 17-time series champion burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 54th "A" Feature of the season. Donny Schatz, who started outside the front row, spun in the second corner, however, nullifying the original start and moving Sammy Swindell to the front row. Dale Smith and Jim Carter collided in turn four as the race resumed, forcing a third start.

Kinser won a front-straightaway drag race to take the lead when the green flag replaced the yellow. Lasoski drove NASCAR Winston champion Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle past Swindell deep in the second corner to take over second place early in the opening lap.

Saldana, who led 58 of the 70 laps in the double-feature event at Grays Harbor Raceway Park the previous weekend, passed Swindell and "The Dude" on the back stretch midway through the second lap.

Kinser was .13 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic four laps later. The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year raced wheel-to-wheel with Kinser through the third and fourth corners the next time around, then passed him for the lead high in turn three late in lap nine.

Kinser challenged Saldana for the lead for the next six laps while Schatz drove his #15 Parker Stores Maxim back through the field. "The King of the Outlaws" regained first place with a slide move between the third and fourth corners late in the 16th lap.

Randy Hannagan hit the wall in turn four and stopped in the first corner two laps later. Mechanical problems forced Dennis Moore, Jr., into the pit area during the caution period.

Schatz, who raced back into a transfer position after spinning early in the First Heat Race, passed Jason Meyers and Johnny Herrera as the race resumed. Swindell drove the #1 Ore-Cal J&J past fellow Tennesseean Jason Sides for fourth place with an inside move in turn two early in the 22nd lap.

Kinser was 2.1 seconds ahead of Saldana when he caught the back-markers the next time around. The 1996 Rookie of the Year closed to within .9 seconds of the leader in dense lapped traffic during lap 30, but the #17 Eagle Raceway Maxim jumped the cushion in the second corner one lap later, allowing Kinser to increase his advantage to 1.5 seconds.

"The King of the Outlaws" almost collided with First Heat Race winner Travis Cram, who spun in the fourth corner with 6 ¼ laps remaining. Kinser controlled the restart and opened a 2.1-second advantage within four laps. Saldana narrowed the gap in lapped traffic, but was 2.1 seconds behind when Kinser took the checkered flag in the 490th "A" Feature victory of his incomparable career.

"I think there at the beginning I was running the wrong spot on the race track, and I made some mistakes getting into (turn) three missing the bottom," Kinser said. "I didn't know the top was going to be that good. I got to where I was able to pick up the lapped cars, and I got behind the 28 car (Brian Paulus). He was getting around at a pretty good clip, so I just tucked in behind him. The 92 car (Cram) spun there in turn four, but that was the only close call we really had."

Lasoski, who paced the qualifying session for the 24th time this year, finished in third place. Daryn Pittman finished fourth, ahead of Swindell, Herrera, Schatz, Meyers, 18th-starting Jac Haudenschild and Sides.

Paul McMahan won the "B" Feature, then raced into 11th place from inside the ninth row. Paulus won the Fourth Heat Race and passed seven cars to finish 14th.

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera