Manzanita: Finale race report

'King of the Outlaws' dominates Cactus Classic Finale. PHOENIX, AZ (February 21) - Steve Kinser moved ever closer to the 500-victory plateau Saturday, leading all 30 laps from the pole to win the Inaugural Cactus Classic at Manzanita ...

'King of the Outlaws' dominates Cactus Classic Finale.

PHOENIX, AZ (February 21) - Steve Kinser moved ever closer to the 500-victory plateau Saturday, leading all 30 laps from the pole to win the Inaugural Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway.

"The King of the Outlaws," who took the lead in the World of Outlaws point standings with the $12,000 victory, enters Saturday's race at Perris Auto Speedway with 498 "A" Feature victories in his incomparable career. Kinser also won the World of Outlaws Down Under main event at Parramatta City Raceway in Australia January 10th.

"This car's been running good, and (crew chief) Scott (Gerkin) and the whole team's been working real hard," Kinser said. "We have two teams (including son Kraig) out here on the road now, and everyone's just done a tremendous job. We're off to a good start - and that's what you want to have - but there's still a long way to go. It takes two or three months to really find out who's going to be fast out here.

"I grew up dreaming of racing, and watching my dad race, and he was just a master when it came to traffic. I carried a helmet bag around for a while after I graduated high school, but I could never come up with anything to drive. Finally, my dad and Jerry Shields let me get in one of their back-up cars, and it just took off from there. I always thought I'd get to be a weekend racer, and thought I'd have to lay blocks for a living. I just have to thank my family for putting up with me being on the road all the time to try to make a living. I'll tell you one thing, winning never gets old!"

The 48-year-old legend earned the right to start Saturday's main event on the pole by beating Preliminary Feature winner Tyler Walker across the finish line in the Dash Race.

Kinser and Walker were racing wheel-to-wheel for the lead early in the opening lap when Randy Hannagan and Third Heat Race winner Dean Jacobs spun into Keith Watkins and Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate Erin Crocker in turn one. "The King of the Outlaws" drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the lead as the race resumed. Danny Lasoski, who set fast time for the second consecutive night, passed Craig Dollansky for fourth place with an inside move between turns three and four several seconds later.

The defending and 18-time World of Outlaws champion was six car-lengths ahead of Walker when he entered lapped traffic four laps into the race. Crocker hit the retaining wall and flipped in the fourth corner the next time around, bringing out the red flag and tightening the field.

Jason Sides, the 2003 Rookie of the Year, took the low line into turn four to pass Dollansky for fifth place as the green flag replaced the yellow.

Twelve car-lengths separated Kinser and Walker when they caught the back-makers midway through the eighth lap. Walker, the 2002 World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion, cut Kinser's advantage in half within a lap.

Dollansky, who suffered a severely injured ankle in a crash during Friday's Preliminary Feature, was unable to walk but was in the cockpit of Karavan Motorsports' #7 VMAC Maxim Saturday. The main event ended prematurely for him early lap nine, however, as he hit the wall in the first corner. The 2000 Gumout Series champion was uninjured in the crash, but his crew was unable to repair the car in time for him to restart the race.

Kinser raced away from Walker as the green flag replaced the yellow, and opened a 10-car-length advantage within three laps. Lasoski lost fourth place midway through the "A" Feature when a fuel nozzle came loose on NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle.

Jason Meyers took the high line around Sammy Swindell for sixth place two laps after the race resumed.

"The King of the Outlaws" lost his half-straightaway advantage with 3¼ laps remaining when Joey Saldana spun in the fourth corner. Meyers surrendered sixth place when he pitted to change a flat tire during the caution period. The #83JR Ore-Cal J&J driven by Swindell started slowly as the green flag replaced the yellow, and Second Heat Race winner Jonathan Allard and Watkins spun to avoid him.

Kinser raced away from the field as the race resumed, and was 15 car-lengths ahead of Walker when he took the checkered flag in his eighth victory at Manzanita Speedway. "The King of the Outlaws" has never won a main event at Perris Auto Speedway.

Donny Schatz drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J into third place, ahead of Sides, Tim Shaffer, Paul McMahan, Daryn Pittman, Brian Paulus, Kraig Kinser and Lasoski. Pittman and Paulus each passed 10 cars to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Erin Crocker , Craig Dollansky , Tyler Walker , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Dean Jacobs , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan