Steve Kinser Rolls To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory at I-96 Speedway Lake Odessa, MI -- June 9, 2005 -- Steve Kinser locked his car into the bottom groove Thursday night at I-96 Speedway and maintained a safe lead over the final 20 laps...
Steve Kinser Rolls To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory at I-96 Speedway
Lake Odessa, MI -- June 9, 2005 -- Steve Kinser locked his car into the bottom groove Thursday night at I-96 Speedway and maintained a safe lead over the final 20 laps for his 11th World of Outlaws Sprint Series A-feature victory of the season.
Like he has done so many times this season, Kinser found a comfortable line around the half-mile oval in hot laps. He then posted the quickest lap in time trials and won the Stacker 2® Dash to start the 30-lap main event on the pole to become the seventh driver this season to win a feature from the top starting position.
Early on Joey Saldana appeared to have the car to beat, but with Saldana trying to carry his momentum on the high side in traffic, Kinser cut to the bottom on Lap 10 and grabbed the lead coming off of Turn 4. Behind them, Tim Kaeding and Kraig Kinser were engaged in a battle for third, with Kaeding, who started eighth, sliding into the position on Lap 11 as rubber began to take hold in the turns.
"I was hoping [Saldana] wouldn't get down there in Turns 3 and 4, he was still running high," said Kinser, who on Saturday was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. "He actually got down there and found it but he tried to get a lapped car out on the top. Once that rubber is down there, you can't get off the bottom unless you get everybody bottled up. I think Tim caught a few of them at the start bottled up and got around them on the top. Once it gets down, it just gets harder and harder. Unless you get a lapped car underneath coming off a turn, you don't even mess with passing them. That was it. They weren't going to drag me off the bottom."
Two laps later, Kaeding raced his way around Saldana in Turn 2 to claim second and was trying to figure out how to close a 2-second gap to Kinser when a caution came out for Brett Mann, who slowed in Turn 3 at the halfway point.
But Kinser was too strong on the restart for anybody to stay with him. He quickly built his advantage to 2.3 seconds and had the rear of the field in sight when he decided to play it safe and not push the issue. That allowed Kaeding and Saldana to cut the deficit, but a caution with five laps to go reset the field and gave Kinser a clear view for the final few circuits as he earned the 524th victory of his storied career.
"I would take off and run hard for about four or five laps, but when I saw the lapped cars come up I'd start back-pedaling because I didn't want to get up and run with them," said Kinser, of Bloomington, Ind. "When you're out there in clean air in the front when the track gets rubber down it's pretty easy to run a little bit harder than everybody else."
Following Kinser, Kaeding and Saldana to the checkered flag were Kraig Kinser, Jason Solwold, Craig Dollansky, Jason Meyers, Terry McCarl, Brooke Tatnell and Daryn Pittman.
For Kaeding, who finished third on Saturday at Eldora, his run marked his fourth top-six finish in the past five features as he has climbed back into the Top 10 in points.
"It took rubber around the bottom and Steve was down there running good," said Kaeding, a Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender from San Jose, Calif. "We had a car that was good enough to keep up with him the first 15 laps or so. It just burned the tire off once it took rubber around the bottom. We were good the first couple of laps, especially up around the top. We picked off a couple of good cars and got into second and I said, 'Hey, I'm going to follow Steve around for a while.' We almost had him at one point, but the yellow came out at the wrong time. I think if it had come out about a lap later we could have got him."
On the final restart with five laps to go, Kaeding tried to keep his car on the bottom while Saldana aimed to power past him on the cushion. Kaeding was able to maintain his pace while Saldana got loose coming off of Turn 2 and lost his momentum in a now-or-never move to try to get second.
"I knew I didn't have that much tire left," Kaeding said. "I had missed the bottom once or twice before that and kind of slid up the racetrack. I just didn't want to miss my marks. That was the biggest thing. When it takes rubber like that, you've got to hit your marks every lap. With five to go and you're running second behind Steve Kinser, if you get a chance to get by him you better make it quick or else he's going to make his car as wide as he can."
Saldana believed he had a car capable of winning, but when Kinser found the low groove was working so early in the feature it made catching him nearly impossible.
"I should never have been running third, I should have been leading," said Saldana, a native of Brownsburg, Ind. "We had the car, but when we got to lapped traffic I don't know what I was thinking. I stayed on the top in Turns 3 and 4 and Steve just snuck in there and took the bottom away from me. I tried to do it again and that's how Kaeding got by. We had a good car and it showed at the end. I knew there were only a few laps left and I felt I was better than Tim and I didn't know what to do so I tried to go to the top.
"I think what happened was I could get a run on the restart, but I had no tread left on my tire so it just kind of gets up on the track and starts spinning. I had it, but without the tire I wasn't going to make the pass. I was hoping [Kaeding] would get bottled up on the bottom and push a little bit because he was pushing real bad in Turns 3 and 4. That's where I could get a run on him, it's either try the top or follow him so I tried it and it almost worked."
Jason Solwold's car certainly was working. He started and finished fifth, earning his third top-five of the season and his first since April 22 at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla.
"I was just racing my own race, staying in the rubber as much as I could," said Solwold, of Mt. Vernon, Wash. "I was just trying to be smooth. I saw a couple of guys trying some different lines, but they weren't really getting anywhere. We're really happy with the top-five. We needed one of those."
In the Stacker 2® Dash, Steve Kinser started on the pole and led all six laps as Craig Dollansky cut into second ahead of Solwold. Jason Meyers finished fourth, followed by Daryn Pittman and Paul McMahan.
In the second Dash, Saldana raced to the bottom in Turns 1 and 2 to steal the lead from Kraig Kinser before the field ran single-file to the checkered flag. Following Kinser were Brett Mann, Kaeding, Terry McCarl and Brooke Tatnell.
In the B-main, pole-sitter Brian Paulus and Tim Shaffer raced side-by-side for the first four laps, with Paulus locked to the bottom and Shaffer riding the cushion. Paulus finally edged out front on Lap 5 and raced to the win ahead of Shaffer, Travis Rilat, Dustin Daggett, Gary Fast and Steve Irwin.
In the first heat, Brandon Wimmer charged to the lead and stretched it out to a flag-to-flag win for his second consecutive event with a heat race victory. Tim Kaeding, fast qualifier Steve Kinser, Jason Meyers, Brooke Tatnell and Ken Mackey also transferred to the feature.
In the second heat, Jason Sides started on the pole and drove to victory, also winning a heat race for the second event in a row. Brett Mann, Craig Dollansky, Donny Schatz, Kraig Kinser and Paul McMahan also qualified for the feature.
In the third heat, Shane Stewart led every lap to take the checkered flag. Also reaching the feature were Terry McCarl, Danny Lasoski, Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman and Jason Solwold.
Steve Kinser was the fifth driver in time trials and paced the 27-car field in time trials with a lap around the half-mile oval in 15.900 seconds at 113.208 mph. Kraig Kinser, Steve's teammate and son, was the second-fastest qualifier at 15.999 seconds. Mark Kinser set the track record of 15.443 seconds on June 15, 1997.
"It was better to go early tonight," Kinser said. "Both of us went out pretty early and I think that had a lot to do with it."
On Saturday, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series invades Sheboygan County Fair Park in Plymouth, Wis. Outlaws action in June includes events June 14 at Kokomo Speedway, June 17-18 at Eagle Raceway, June 22 at Missouri State Fair Speedway, June 24-25 at Knoxville Raceway and June 28 at Huset's Speedway.
All of the action from the June 1 race at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park will air at 8 p.m. (ET) June 15 on The Outdoor Channel, followed June 22 by the race at Eldora Speedway that was run on June 4. The Outdoor Channel will air the race from I-96 Speedway at 8 p.m. (ET) on June 29.