2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Kraig Kinser Kraig Kinser grew up racing sprint cars on dirt, and has been around the sport for most of his life, thanks to the long racing tradition of his family. This season...
2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Kraig Kinser
Kraig Kinser grew up racing sprint cars on dirt, and has been around the sport for most of his life, thanks to the long racing tradition of his family. This season he will return to his roots and the sport that will always be near and dear to him as part of a two-car effort with Tony Stewart Racing. After a couple of seasons competing in the NASCAR Truck Series, he will contest the full season with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2008.
With less than two weeks remaining before the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, he and the team are making sure they have everything in place for a busy first month of the season that will see them travel from coast-to-coast.
"I am ready to head to Florida," said Kinser. "I have a few more workouts to get in and we have a little work to finish on the cars and we are ready to start the season off."
Kinser ran two Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series events late last season, as part of the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway as a teammate to his father, Steve, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion. Prior to that, Kraig Kinser was victorious at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana in the finale of the Fall Classic for the All Star Circuit of Champions.
"It will take a few races to get the feel of the car again, especially with the competition that is out there with the Outlaws," noted the 2005 winner of the Knoxville Nationals. "It will take a couple of races to get in the swing of things and to get even with the competition, but hopefully it won't be too long."
Kinser will be a teammate to two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz this season at Tony Stewart Racing. He looks forward to opening the season with the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, an event that his car owner will be able to attend. He also is anxious to return to the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio, which is also owned by Stewart, who is a two-time NASCAR champion.
"Tony (Stewart) really cares about the race team and puts a lot into it and that definitely helps," explained the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "When he is motivated and excited about something, that makes everyone around him in the team excited."
Kinser will have a chance to compete each night against his father this season, as well as over 20 more drivers that plan to compete full-time with the series in 2008. He drove for his father on the World of Outlaws circuit from 2004-2006, winning seven A-Feature events, including the 2005 Knoxville Nationals, becoming the first father/son duo to win sprint car racing's biggest event.
"I am looking forward to racing with him again," said the Indiana native who now calls North Carolina home. "I'll get the chance to be around my family a little more and that is nice. I'll also get to be around a lot of other friends and that will be nice as well."
While he knows there will be some obstacles early on the season, Kinser is confident with the team that is assembled, which consists of many veterans of the sport, including Team Manager Jimmy Carr, who will turn the wrenches again this season on the No. 20 machine. The team won twice last season with Paul McMahan behind the wheel, including at Eldora Speedway and finished eighth overall in championship points, in addition to being quickest in time trials on eight occasions.
"We just have to get used to everything," explained Kinser. "We changed chassis and getting everything going at the start of the year is the toughest thing. Hopefully we'll get in the swing of things and Jimmy (Carr) and I will get to feel each other out in the first couple of races."
Kinser finished seventh in championship points with the series in 2004, picking up the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award along the way. He followed that up with a fifth-place performance the following season, his last full year in a sprint car. While he is driving for the most high profile team in the series as a teammate to the two-time defending series champion, he does not feel any added pressure.
"I've had pressure my whole life," he said. "I think there is more pressure being the son of Steve Kinser that there ever would be here at Tony Stewart Racing. It will definitely be a challenge and hopefully we will work well together as a team and help each other out the whole way through."
With over 80 races on the schedule, stretching from February until early November, Kinser will have plenty of chances to add to his win total with the series. He will have the chance to race in North Carolina, where he has lived for the past couple of years, as well as in Indiana, where he was born and raised.
"Getting wins makes it a good season," he stated. "If you are getting wins, then everyone is happy. Winning is the biggest goal. Getting Top-Fives is definitely nice, and you'll have to be up there to compete for a championship. To win some big races also makes it a good season."