Steve Kinser Dominates Eagle Nationals Opener Eagle, NE -- June 17, 2005 -- Steve Kinser was so completely dialed in Friday night in the opener of the Eagle Nationals that at one point he built a lead of more than five seconds in less than five...
Steve Kinser Dominates Eagle Nationals Opener
Eagle, NE -- June 17, 2005 -- Steve Kinser was so completely dialed in Friday night in the opener of the Eagle Nationals that at one point he built a lead of more than five seconds in less than five laps coming off a caution at Eagle Raceway.
On a one-third-mile oval, Kinser started on the pole and drove away with the victory unchallenged over the course of the 30-lap Preliminary Feature.
"We went out late and qualified pretty good," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who collected $5,000 for the win. "None of the later cars qualified that good. We got through the heats good. We just ran good all night. I had a pretty good racecar anywhere I wanted to run it. You get those nights once in a while."
Kinser will be hoping to repeat the performance on Saturday, when he will be looking for his 12th A-feature victory of the season and the 525th of his career. The preliminary win was his first of the season. Kinser and the other top-four finishers -- Terry McCarl, Brian Paulus and Craig Dollansky -- are locked into the top four positions in the Stacker 2® Dash that will set the front three rows of the main event Saturday night.
"When you get the best car out front, which it was tonight, it's hard to do anything," Kinser said. "I did get loose a couple of times near the end of the race, but it wasn't anything anybody else wasn't doing."
With Kinser running away with the feature, the race was on to fill out the other top-four positions that will automatically transfer drivers to the Dash. After a red flag for fuel with 16 laps complete, Kinser once again shot out to a huge advantage. Most of the cars raced along the cushion in Turns 1 and 2 and just off a berm in Turns 3 and 4, Jason Meyers slid all the way from fourth to second, first going low under Paulus in Turns 1 and 2 and then slipping past McCarl in Turns 3 and 4.
Kinser continued to pull away, especially on restarts after each of six cautions, as Meyers and McCarl pushed hard to close the growing gap. The two made contact in a fierce fight for second as the laps wound down. Meyers got the worst of the collision, which bent McCarl's wings but sent Meyers to the work area, thereby dropping him to the end of the lead lap and out of contention with only three laps to go. McCarl moved into second on the final restart and had ideas of catching Kinser, but a lapped car was slow in reacting to the green flag, which allowed Kinser to drive off unchallenged.
"We were just trying to win the race," said McCarl, a six-time Knoxville Raceway champion from Altoona, Iowa. "We had a good car, but not as good as Steve's. We were a little loose. We thought the track would lay rubber a little quicker. Steve was better than us, but I think we were definitely second so we were trying to make stuff happen on the restarts and Jason got by me. -- Later on I got a good run on him and slid him in Turns 1 and 2 and we got together. It was unfortunate. I wish it hadn't happened."
McCarl's run marks the second time this year he has been locked in after a preliminary feature. He also qualified for the Stacker 2® Dash after finishing fourth on the first night of a two-night show in April at Knoxville.
"That's the thing about racing with the Outlaws," McCarl said. "You've got to be prepared for short, long. It doesn't matter what kind of track. You've got to be able to be fast every night. That's where we struggled this first year, learning a lot of the tracks. But we got locked in at Knoxville, somewhere we know well, and we know this track pretty well, too. It's good to be back in the Midwest."
With Meyers knocked to the rear of the field, Paulus was able to breathe a little easier, knowing he was now in third. Dollansky, who started 11th, slid into the fourth position and held on after several drivers tried to pry him from the position.
"We've been getting faster every week," said Paulus, a Mean 15 racer and a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., who turned the fastest lap of the night in time trials. "We struggled the last couple of nights at some of those little tracks we were going to. I told the guys that when we get to Eagle it's a place where you can get your elbows up and race. We were able to get it going again. We qualified good. We heat raced pretty decent. We were good in the Dash. We were really good in Turns 3 and 4 on the bottom, but obviously Steve had everybody covered.
"You could go low in Turns 1 and 2 when everybody goes in and gets checked up and slows down on restarts. If you're back in a pack and guys are checking up to get into the corner, you can move around and gain some ground. But once you get up front and you're getting behind Steve and he's going 130 mph around the top, you can't do 75 on the bottom and keep up. It was difficult to stay down there and make up any ground."
After struggling through his Dash, Dollansky made up seven positions in the feature to be locked-in for the second time this season to an A-feature.
"We were just really terrible in the Dash and we changed a lot of things on this racecar and were pretty uncertain what we were going out there with," said Dollansky, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn. "[Crew chief] D.J. Lindsey did a real good job there and we hit a real good setup. It was kind of unfortunate that it took rubber. I think maybe we could have gotten up there a little farther. It was a good run for us and to be locked-in is real important right now. We'll just try to watch the track tomorrow night and see where we're at.
"This is one of the raciest tracks there is. We got going good in the beginning and a lapped car got us messed up and we dropped about three spots and I came back forward again. There was definitely a lot going on, a lot of passing."
* After a scary crash in the third heat, Joey Saldana was transported to a local hospital after complaining of stiffness in his neck after he climbed out of the car. X-rays did not reveal any major injuries. Kraig Kinser raced to the lead at the drop of the green flag, but outside pole-sitter Jason Solwold jumped the cushion in Turn 2 and brushed the wall. Joey Saldana and Daryn Pittman were left with nowhere to go when Solwold came back down the track and the three collided. Solwold and Saldana sustained the most damage while Pittman was able to make his way back to the work area and was the only one of the three able to restart. Pittman and Saldana were the third and fourth fastest qualifiers in time trials. On the restart, Kinser jumped back to the lead to pick up the win with Craig Dollansky diving under Paul McMahan to get second. Also transferring to the feature were Travis Rilat, Colling Northway and Pittman.
* In the Stacker 2® Dash, Steve Kinser worked the bottom lane to slide past Brian Paulus on Lap 3 and drive to victory, earning the pole in the A-main. Paulus held on for second ahead of Jason Meyers, Daryn Pittman, Brandon Wimmer and Craig Dollansky.
* Terry McCarl displayed the power that helped him post the second fastest lap during time trials and drove away with the second Dash. Following McCarl were Paul McMahan, Kerry Madsen, Jason Sides, Kraig Kinser and Donny Schatz.
* In the B-main, Billy Alley raced into the lead on Lap 2 and Shane Stewart and Jason Solwold battled back and forth for second before Stewart finally grabbed second just before Nick Haygood and Sean Walden touched wheels coming off of Turn 2. Haygood shot up into the wall on the backstretch and flipped violently, destroying his car. Haygood was able to walk away from the incident. On the restart, Alley drove away as the field fell in line with Stewart finishing second ahead of Solwold and Johnny Herrera.
* In the first heat, Donny Schatz grabbed the lead in Turns 3 and 4 on the first lap and ran the low line to hold off Brooke Tatnell at the checkered flag. Also transferring to the feature were Jason Meyers, Kerry Madsen, Brian Paulus and Tim Shaffer.
* In the second heat, Tim Kaeding started on the pole and, after a red flag on Lap 2, raced side-by-side with Steve Kinser until finally getting the edge on the final lap to pull ahead for the victory. Also transferring to the feature behind Kaeding and Kinser were Jason Sides, Brandon Wimmer, Terry McCarl and Danny Lasoski, whose car was decked out in a special Mopar-inspired paint scheme.
* Brian Paulus paced the 29-car field in time trials with a lap around the one-third mile oval in 11.993 seconds at 99.958 mph. Joey Saldana established the single-lap record of 11.124 seconds on Sept. 20, 2002.
* The World of Outlaws Sprint Series concludes the Eagle Nationals Saturday before moving on June 22 to Missouri State Fair Speedway, June 24-25 to Knoxville Raceway and wrapping up the month June 28 at Huset's Speedway.
* All of the action from the Eagle Nationals will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 6 on The Outdoor Channel. The Outdoor Channel will air June 22 the race at Eldora Speedway from June 4, followed June 29 by the race last week from I-96 Speedway.