Gold Cup: Finale race report

Kinser defends Gold Cup Race of Champions title. CHICO, CA (September 6) -- Steve Kinser passed Joey Saldana early and held off hard-charging Danny Lasoski Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway on his way to successfully defending his Gold Cup Race...

Kinser defends Gold Cup Race of Champions title.

CHICO, CA (September 6) -- Steve Kinser passed Joey Saldana early and held off hard-charging Danny Lasoski Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway on his way to successfully defending his Gold Cup Race of Champions title.

"The King of the Outlaws" drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim past Saldana in the low groove between turns three and four late in the 11th lap and beat Lasoski under the checkered flag by two car-lengths to claim his 11th Gold Cup championship. The $20,000 victory also pushed Kinser 13 points ahead of "The Dude" in their battle for the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 25th Anniversary title.

"I've been coming back here a long time," said Kinser, who won his first Gold Cup championship in 1979. "I won my first Gold Cup at West Capital (Speedway in Sacramento), so that tells you how long I've been coming here. John (Padjen, the promoter) does a great job for the fans with the fairgrounds and the race track, and we just have a lot of fun here. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep running like this -- I guess until these kids start beating me -- but until then we'll just keep coming back."

Saldana and Kinser tied for the preliminary points lead with 535. Saldana, who started on the pole because he won the Preliminary Feature on opening night, drove his family's #17 Eagle Raceway Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the 40-lap main event.

Jeff Hodgson and Kevin Plylant collided and flipped into Blake Robertson in turn three early in the third lap. The red flag was flying again three laps later when 2002 Silver Dollar Speedway champion Jonathan Allard spun and turned over in the fourth corner. Jac Haudenschild, who won Gold Cup titles in 1998 and 1999, slid over the bank in turn four within a lap after the race resumed, bringing out the caution flag.

Two-time Silver Dollar Speedway champion Tim Kaeding took the high line through turns three and four to pass Dennis Moore, Jr., and Jason Meyers for eighth place on the ensuing restart. Paul McMahan, who won Friday's Preliminary Feature, used a similar move between the first and second corners to pass Sammy Swindell for sixth place two laps later.

Kinser took the lead late in lap 11 and was three car-lengths ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic three laps later. Lasoski, who won the 2000 Gold Cup, steered NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle into the low groove in turn four to pass Saldana for the runner-up spot late in the 14th lap.

Peter Murphy's second-corner spin tightened the field and opened the track ahead of the leaders midway through the race. Tim Shaffer collided with Saldana while trying to pass him for third place and flipped in the fourth corner within a lap after the green flag replaced the yellow.

Moore and McMahan raced around Meyers in turn one for fifth and sixth place as the race resumed. Shaffer stopped in turn four, Allard pitted to replace a flat right rear tire and Saldana's coasted off the track with front end problems late in lap 21.

Kinser controlled the restart and opened a straightaway advantage within five laps. Lasoski narrowed the gap to eight car-lengths in dense lapped traffic by the 33rd lap, then closed to within two car-lengths three laps later when "The King of the Outlaws" had problems passing Shaffer. Lasoski caught Kinser the next time around and threatened to take the lead during the final three laps, but finished two car-lengths behind.

"I'd pretty much made my mind up that I was going to run the bottom," Kinser said. "I knew I wouldn't get by Joey off the top on the start, but my biggest concern was beating Danny to the bottom in turn one. From there, I just paced myself and waited to see what would happen to the high side of the track. I never did really get up on the top until right at the end there. I don't know what I was doing messing around up there, but I was really handling on the bottom in three and four."

McMahan finished in third place, ahead of Meyers, Jason Sides, Swindell, 14th-starting Donny Schatz, Andy Forsberg, Daryn Pittman and Kaeding. Forsberg and Pittman each passed 11 cars to finish eighth and ninth, respectively. Peter Murphy raced into 11th place from outside the 12th row.

The O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series will run a $51,600 event at Hollywood Hills Speedway in San Felipe Pueblo, NM, Saturday.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Daryn Pittman , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Jac Haudenschild , Tim Kaeding , Peter Murphy , Andy Forsberg