A Who's Who of Sprint Car Racing: 13 Drivers Have Won the Kings Royal Since 1984 Rossburg, OH-- July 11, 2008-- Over the past 24 years, there have been 13 drivers that have had the honor of wearing the crown and the purple robe, along with ...
A Who's Who of Sprint Car Racing: 13 Drivers Have Won the Kings Royal Since 1984
Rossburg, OH-- July 11, 2008-- Over the past 24 years, there have been 13 drivers that have had the honor of wearing the crown and the purple robe, along with holding the scepter and sitting atop the throne on the stage at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio after winning the Kings Royal.
The list reads like a "Who's Who" of sprint car racing, led by 20-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Champion Steve Kinser. Next on the list is Jac Haudenschild who has won the prestigious race three times in his career. Drivers that have it twice include: three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell, along with Hall of Famer Doug Wolfgang, 1995 series champion Dave Blaney and current driver Joey Saldana.
Drivers that have single wins in the Kings Royal include: Dale Blaney, Bobby Davis Jr., Johnny Hererra, Don Kreitz Jr., two-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Mark Kinser, two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz and Jason Sides. Each driver earned $50,000 for their win in the event.
Many of these former winners of the Kings Royal will be honored in a ceremony on Saturday, July 12 prior to the 25th Annual Kings Royal. The weekend kicks off on Friday, with the Knight Before the Kings Royal.
Steve Kinser is the only driver that has started all 24 Kings Royal main events, dating back to 1984. He won the inaugural event and his most recent win in it came in 2005. He also was victorious in 1988, 1991, 1997 and 2003. The native of Bloomington, Indiana has 15 finishes of third or better in his career in the race, which have earned him a spot on the podium in each of those events. He is the winningest driver in the history of Eldora Speedway with nearly 60 total victories at the half-mile. He won the Knight Before the Kings Royal last season aboard the Q Oil Maxim.
"It's still one of the biggest races there is," Kinser said. "It was one of the first big paying events to come out. Earl Baltes was always first to do things. I remember the first $10,000-to win race there, and then the first $50,000-to win and I think he (Baltes) had the first $100,000- to win race. Anytime you race at a place like Eldora it's a big race. Along with Knoxville, it's one of the two biggest races of the year."
While the $50,000 top prize for winning the Kings Royal gets everyone's attention, it's the trophy and prestige that come from winning the event that will last forever. Of the hundreds of trophies that Kinser has amassed over the years, the ones from the Kings Royal are ones that he will always cherish.
"You want to win the race and then the money comes along," he noted. "You don't think much about the money when you win, you just think about winning the Kings Royal."
Jac Haudenschild has competed in the main event of the Kings Royal 18 times in his career. Along with his three victories in the race, he has nine Top-10 finishes, with seven of those being podium finishes. The Ohio native won his first Kings Royal in 1987 and followed that up with wins in 1994 and 1998. He will be making his first start in the event this weekend behind the wheel of the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim for the Carnahan Motorsports team.
"The Kings Royal has been around for a long time and it has always paid $50,000- to win," said the veteran driver. "Everybody always enjoys going there and it's always good racing. Everybody wants to win the Kings Royal and the big races. We've been there a few times this year and the track has been different each time we have been there. Hopefully we have a good track and it will be a lot of fun."
Joey Saldana is one of just three drivers that has won the Kings Royal twice and he would like nothing more than to add his name to the list of drivers that have won it more than two times. He finished fifth in the event last year aboard the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI for Kasey Kahne Racing. He has three consecutive Top-Five finishes in the race. He won a race earlier this season at Eldora in a tune-up for the Kings Royal.
"The prestige is more important than the money," said the second generation driver. "In about a month my son will probably want the money. Hopefully we can win it. There are only two guys that have won it more than twice and that is Jac Haudenschild and Steve Kinser. Hopefully we can win it three times and we'll be in elite group of guys."
Donny Schatz added his name to the list of winners of the Kings Royal last season. His win in the event helped him make history in 2007, as he became the first driver to win the Knoxville Nationals, the Kings Royal, the National Open, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same season. He will be competing for the first time this season in the Kings Royal behind the wheel of the Armor All J&J for track owner Tony Stewart. In his Kings Royal career, Schatz has seven Top-10 finishes, including being first and second the last two seasons.
"There are very few guys that have won it multiple times and I'm glad to have gotten my name on that trophy one time," said Schatz. "All you can do is go in their with expectations to win and that is what we are going there for. It's our job to get it done and if we don't, we'll have to figure out what we did wrong and learn from our mistakes."
Jason Sides won the Kings Royal in 2004, becoming the third driver from Tennessee to win the famed event. For Sides it was his first career Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature win, and he became the first driver in series history to win his first race in the Kings Royal. He has finished third in two of the last three A-Feature events he has competed in at Eldora aboard the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. His win in the Kings Royal came a year after claiming the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws and is the one victory that Sides will never forget.
"I didn't realize the significance of it, until I went back and looked at the trophy the other day and saw that there was only 11 or so (13) winners from then until now," he noted. "It's pretty prestigious to be involved with that group of drivers."
On Friday, July 11 at Eldora Speedway, tickets for those ages 16-over will be $25, with tickets for those ages 12-15 $12, with kids 11-under $6.
On Saturday, July 12 at Eldora Speedway, tickets for those ages 16-over will be $32, with tickets for those ages 12-14 $20, with kids 11-under $10. For ticket information visit: www.eldoraspeedway.com.