'King' Wins Houston Feature, Clinches Championship By Richard Day BAYTOWN, TX (October 21) -- Steve Kinser took over first place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings in April, two weeks...
'King' Wins Houston Feature, Clinches Championship
By Richard Day BAYTOWN, TX (October 21) -- Steve Kinser took over first place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings in April, two weeks after winning the Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park. "The King of the Outlaws" clinched the 2000 series title Saturday -- almost six months to the day later -- while winning the Lone Star Classic at Baytown's semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval. "We've played it conservative here the last month or so and got in pretty good shape (in the point standings), so now we're going out to try to win races to finish off the year," Kinser said after claiming his 16th Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship. "The King of the Outlaws" was anything but conservative in time trials and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race. He received his second Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the year for pacing the qualifying session and won the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race for the right to start the CHANNELLOCK Dash inside the third row. Kinser finished sixth in the six-lap race and lined up outside the third row in the 30-lap feature. Kinser exchanged the lead with Sammy Swindell three times before winning his 10th "A" Feature of the season. It was only the fourth time this season a driver earned the Vivarin Fast-Time Award and won the main event on the second day of a double-feature event. Swindell, who started on the pole for the 24th time this year, drove his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth into the lead as the green flag fell in the main event. Mark Kinser took the high line through the third and fourth corners to challenge Sammy, but was unable to surge ahead. Steve Kinser raced past Jac Haudenschild and Danny Lasoski during the opening lap and took the high line around Stevie Smith in turn two the next time around. "The Wild Child" and Lasoski relegated Smith to sixth place during the third lap. Kinser steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the low groove between the third and fourth corners to pass cousin Mark for second place late in lap four and caught Swindell within two laps. He raced wheel-to-wheel with Sammy through turns three and four, but was unable to complete the pass late in the sixth lap. "The King of the Outlaws" continued to battle Swindell for 2 3/4 laps before beating him down the front straightaway early in lap nine. Sammy regained the lead the next time around when Kinser slid out of the inside line in the fourth corner. Haudenschild drove the #22 fetchOmatic Maxim around Mark Kinser in the high groove between turns one and two early in the 11th lap. The #5M Mopar Maxim turned completely around in the fourth corner while Mark tried to catch "The Wild Child" several seconds later, and four cars passed him. Swindell was .2 seconds ahead of Kinser when he entered lapped traffic late in lap 12. Steve caught Sammy two laps later and the leaders raced wheel-to-wheel down the back straightaway. Swindell maintained the lead, surging ahead in the third corner. "The King of the Outlaws" continued to pressure Swindell and regained the lead with a high move in turn two early in lap 15. Kinser opened a 1.4-second advantage within three laps, only to have Swindell narrow the gap to .2 seconds with 1 1/2 laps remaining. Sammy tried to take the lead high in the fourth corner on the final lap, but Kinser took the checkered flag with .7 seconds to spare. "I got by Sammy there and then tried to go down to the bottom and take his line, and I was just slow there," Kinser explained. "I probably should have never gone down there in the first place. I just got back up top where I was working pretty good and I could start to feel rubber about three-quarters of the way up coming off the corner. I got the lead back, and then just tried to watch the lap counter and save my tires. I saw we got down to two (laps) to go, and then I just got back into it. I thought for a while that I had put on too soft a tire, and wasn't sure I was going to make it." Haudenschild edged World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion Craig Dollansky for third place. Smith finished fifth, ahead of Lasoski, Brian Paulus, Mark Kinser, Johnny Herrera and Tim Shaffer. Paulus won the Third NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race from outside the third row, but brake problems in the #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim kept him from starting the CHANNELLOCK Dash. His seventh-place finish in the feature pushed him past Dean Jacobs into 16th place in the standings. Andy Hillenburg, only the 37th-fastest qualifier in the 40-car field, drove his #2 Luxaire J&J past seven cars in the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race to qualify for the main event. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the 27th Annual Winter Nationals at Devil's Bowl Speedway Friday and Saturday.