Outlaws to Sanction 40th Annual Nationals By Richard Day KNOXVILLE, IA (August 7) -- Nothing in the wide world of sports compares to the Amoco Knoxville Nationals. It's the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' Woodstock ... a town of 8,500 ...
Outlaws to Sanction 40th Annual Nationals
By Richard Day KNOXVILLE, IA (August 7) -- Nothing in the wide world of sports compares to the Amoco Knoxville Nationals. It's the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' Woodstock ... a town of 8,500 attracting more than 30,000 for four days of fire-breathing, mudslinging sprint car racing. TNN will begin previewing sprint car racing's crown jewel Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT, then televise the championship racing program live. In the days leading up to the 40th annual event, one can't help but wonder who will take the checkered flag Saturday. Eleven different drivers have combined to win the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' first 42 "A" Features. Nine drivers have won the 19 preliminaries. Steve Kinser has the most impressive statistics. He's leading the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings. He's driven his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the top 10 in all but three of the 42 main events the series has run this season. "The King of the Outlaws" has won 11 Nationals titles, more than twice as many as any other driver. Steve won the other $100,000-to-win race -- Eldora Speedway's Historical Big One -- Saturday. Two $100,000 paydays in a week by one driver is a possibility. Kinser pulled off the feat in 1995, as did his cousin, Mark, and Dave Blaney the next two years. Although Mark, the defending series and Nationals champion, is in a slump -- three straight finishes of worse than 13th place -- he and his father, car owner and crew chief can't be counted out of any race. Karl has sent 12 sprinters to Knoxville Raceway's victory lane. Mark drove two of those cars. Kinser leads the series with eight "A" Feature victories. Danny Lasoski, who came within an eyelash of repeating as the Nationals champion a year ago, has won seven Knoxville Raceway titles and 58 "A" Features at the legendary, half-mile oval. He was the class of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series through the first 10 events this season and has won seven "A" Features. Sammy Swindell has a burning desire to return to Amoco's victory stage. The 1983 Nationals champion went 16 events before winning a main event this season, but still ranks second in the point standings. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' three-time champion was its hottest driver from late May through July, driving his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth into the top 10 in 18 of 21 races, including six victories. Stevie Smith, who led the series in "A" Feature victories two years ago, has driven his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Black Bandit to victory in four main events this season. With 32 top-10 finishes, including 18 in the top five, the 1989 Nationals Rookie of the Year is one point ahead of Mark Kinser. Stevie won the Iowa Ethanol Classic July 1st. Kings Royal champion Dale Blaney is having a career year in brother Dave's Mopar-powered #93 Amoco Maxim. The 1998 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Rookie of the Year won the first two "A" Features of his career this season and ranks sixth in the point standings. Johnny Herrera, who drives the #20 Networks Eagle for Eagle Raceway owner Craig Cormack, won the season opener at Kings Speedway and three Preliminary Features since. The 1995 Knoxville Raceway champion ranks ninth in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings. He has finished in the Nationals' top five twice. Jac Haudenschild is a threat to win any race. He's won five "A" Features at Knoxville Raceway, including three straight in 1998. "The Wild Child" has also won three Nationals Preliminary Features. He's driven the #22 fetchOmatic.com Maxim to victory twice this year. Eight-time Knoxville Raceway championship car owner Guy Forbrook hired 1993 Rookie of the Year Greg Hodnett to drive CART champion Jimmy Vasser's #V12 Wirtgen Maxim this season. After suffering a broken shoulder in a crash at Tri-City Speedway April 15th, Hodnett has returned to win a pair of Preliminary Features. Greg raced through the "C," "B" and "A" Features in 1994 and was the runner-up in 1997. Signing a major sponsorship contract with Luxaire late last season gave Andy Hillenburg high hopes for the new millennium. Hillenburg won Preliminary and "A" Features in the O'Reilly's Auto Parts Sunflower Shootout at Heartland Park Topeka June 16-17 and made it three straight with a victory in the Bud Carson Memorial at State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City. He won successive opening-night Preliminary Features at the Nationals in the mid-1990s. Donny Schatz, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series hottest driver the last two weeks of last season, got off to a slow start in 2000. Six top-five finishes have the 1997 Rookie of the Year 11th in the point standings. He pulled off a last-lap pass of Steve Kinser to finish fourth in the 1998 Nationals championship feature. Joey Saldana, the 1996 Rookie of the Year, returned to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series with HEM Saw sponsoring his #17 Eagle. He dominated the Vivarin Fast-Time Award early, winning the first three. Twenty-two top-10 finishes, including 11 in the top five, rank him seventh in the point standings. Craig Dollansky ranked seventh in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings when he won the inaugural Gumout Series race at Lernerville Speedway April 14th. He leads the Gumout Series points race. WoO
Amoco Knoxville Nationals champions: 1999 - Mark Kinser, 1998 - Danny Lasoski, 1997 - Dave Blaney, 1996 - Mark Kinser, 1995 - Steve Kinser, 1994 - Steve Kinser, 1993 - Steve Kinser, 1992 - Steve Kinser, 1991 - Steve Kinser, 1990 - Bobby Allen, 1989 - Doug Wolfgang, 1988 - Steve Kinser, 1987 - Steve Kinser, 1986 - Steve Kinser, 1985 - Doug Wolfgang, 1984 - Doug Wolfgang, 1983 - Sammy Swindell, 1982 - Steve Kinser, 1981 - Steve Kinser, 1980 - Steve Kinser, 1979 - Ron Shuman, 1978 - Doug Wolfgang