GREENWOOD, NE (September 22) - Mark Kinser has recorded several prestigious career firsts in recent weeks as he races for his third Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship. "Mopar Mark" won his first Kings Royal championship July 21st,...
GREENWOOD, NE (September 22) - Mark Kinser has recorded several prestigious career firsts in recent weeks as he races for his third Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship.
"Mopar Mark" won his first Kings Royal championship July 21st, added his first Gold Cup Race of Champions title September 8th and completed the first triple-feature sweep of his career Saturday at Nebraska Raceway Park.
Kinser, who won both Preliminary Features convincingly, passed Danny Lasoski early in the 17th lap on his way to completing the Great Plains Shootout hat-trick just minutes before thunderstorms hit the 4/10-mile oval. It was the series' first triple-feature sweep since Sammy Swindell won all three races during the 1997 Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway.
"Danny Lasoski's a tough competitor," Kinser said in victory lane. "With all the rain in the area, we were rushing things along pretty good. He was ready for the start and I wasn't. I was running as hard as I could, but I think his car was a little better than mine at the beginning. We kind of came on there toward the middle of the race, and traffic went our way, and we were able to get the win.
"I'm just glad to win another one here for Phil and Mary Durst. They've been sponsors of mine for a long time. We pretty much dominated things at this track when we started coming here, but we went into a slump there for a while. Maybe this means we're back."
Kinser, who earned the right to start the main event on the pole by scoring the most points in the preliminary programs, drove the #5M Mopar Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell. "The Dude" raced past Andy Hillenburg in the fourth corner, then took the lead with an inside move past Kinser between turns one and two, however.
Joey Saldana steered the #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the low groove in the fourth corner to pass Hillenburg for third place the next time around. Former Rookies of the Year Donny Schatz (1997) and Tim Shaffer (1999) exchanged fifth place during the third and fourth laps. Shaffer drove the #11H Vivarin Maxim under Schatz exiting turn three, only to have Donny regain the position high in the fourth corner one lap later.
Blake Feese, who started at the rear of the field after missing the staging area deadline, crashed into the turn-four wall late in the fifth lap. Feese was uninjured, but severe damage to the #1F sprinter kept Feese from restarting the race.
Shaffer and Stevie Smith passed Schatz for fifth and sixth place within two laps after the green flag replaced the yellow. Shaffer, who started outside the third row, continued his run toward the front early in lap eight, passing Hillenburg for fourth place deep in the second corner.
"The Dude" had NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle .8 seconds ahead of Kinser when they entered lapped traffic 13 laps into the race. "Mopar Mark" raced wheel-to-wheel with Lasoski through turns three and four two laps later, but was unable to surge ahead.
Kinser continued challenging "The Dude," and took the lead with an inside move through the second corner early in lap 17. Jason Johnson stopped in turn two the next time around, taking the leaders out of lapped traffic.
Shaffer and Hillenburg passed Saldana during the 20th lap. Shaffer took over third place with an inside move in turn one, while Hillenburg drove his #2 Luxaire J&J into fourth place low in the fourth corner.
"Mopar Mark" caught the back-markers with a 2.2-second advantage with 5 ½ laps remaining, and took the checkered flag with 1.7 seconds to spare. The $20,000 victory was the fifth of Kinser's career at Nebraska Raceway Park.
By leading 16 of the 30 laps in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 54th "A" Feature of the season, Lasoski remained 28 points behind Kinser in their battle for the series championship.
Shaffer finished in third place, ahead of Hillenburg, Saldana, Smith, Craig Dollansky, Jason Meyers, Third O'Reilly Heat Race winner Johnny Herrera and World of Outlaws Gumout Series rookie Mike Goodman.
Dollansky and Meyers, Gumout Series stars a year ago, raced into seventh and eighth place from the seventh row.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will run a $51,600 event at Lernerville Speedway Tuesday, race at Port Royal Speedway for the first time in 14 ½ years Thursday, then sanction the 39th Annual Williams Grove National Open Friday and Saturday.