20,000 Reasons to Smile: Steve Kinser Wins Finale at Skagit Speedway to Move to Within Just 6 Points of Joey Saldana Alger, WA-September 4, 2010- Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana have been neck and neck for most of the season in the World of...
20,000 Reasons to Smile: Steve Kinser Wins Finale at Skagit Speedway to Move to Within Just 6 Points of Joey Saldana
Alger, WA-September 4, 2010- Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana have been neck and neck for most of the season in the World of Outlaws championship standings, as well as on the track and off the track in most statistical categories. That battle got even closer Saturday night at Skagit Speedway, as the duo traded the lead a couple of times at the high-banked three-tenths-mile bullring, with Kinser coming out on top in the $20,000 finale of the two-day show to move to within just six markers of Saldana in points as he chases his record 21st title.
Kinser led the first three laps from the pole, before Saldana charged around him on the high side of turn four on the fourth lap. Kinser retook the top spot on the 27th lap in heavy traffic and would lead the remaining 15 laps to score his first World of Outlaws A-Feature win at Skagit Speedway and his second overall triumph at the track adding to a preliminary feature win he had at the track in 1995. For the Hall of Famer, it was the 560th World of Outlaws A-Feature win of his illustrious career.
"It feels good to win," said Kinser. "We hadn't been running all that well since Knoxville, so yesterday we put together a car I had been running and we were able to get it dialed in pretty good. It had a good feel to it tonight and we put ourselves in a good position."
Kinser took the white flag as the leader when the final caution of the night flew, setting up a two-lap shootout with Saldana for the $20,000 top prize. The race was extended from the schedule 40-laps to 41 laps by way of World of Outlaws rules, which states that a race must end with two consecutive green flag laps. On the final double file restart, Kinser chose the low line as he did on each of the restarts he was out front for. The 20-time series champion used a strong restart to quickly jump to a five car-length lead and would end up winning by nearly a half-a-second in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim.
"I didn't want Joey (Saldana) to get a big run on me and put a slide job on in (turn) one or get a run on my on the top in three," he stated of the final restart. "Those were my only concerns. After the first lap I was pretty good. I got a little conservative. I knew he would have a hard time getting by me as long as I didn't make a big mistake."
Kinser has a close call on the 33rd lap when Travis Jacobson, Jesse Whitney and Sam Hafertepe Jr. got together right in front of him. He clipped one of the cars as he went to the high side of turn two to avoid the accident, suffering some damage to his front nose wing. During the red flag that followed that incident, his crew was able to make some repairs on his machine for the final few laps.
"It really didn't affect it too much," he said of the damage to the front of his machine. "We were able to keep going and were all right. The car was pretty good all night long tonight."
Saldana led a total of 23 laps aboard the Budweiser Maxim as he rebounded from some bad luck while running second on Friday. For the second generation driver it was his 34th Top-Five finish of the season which has him tied with Kinser in that department as he continues to lead the series standings as he chases his first series title.
"We did everything right tonight," said Saldana. "The team has been doing a flawless job. You make a little mistake and you pay the price. Tonight for example we got in lapped traffic and I got in the fence and knocked my Jacobs ladder off and Steve (Kinser) definitely took advantage of that situation and beat me."
Paul McMahan had an epic battle with his teammate Saldana in the late going for the second spot and wound up coming home third in the Great Clips Maxim to earn his 23rd Top-Five of the season. He started 11th and steadily worked his way to the front, first finding the Top-Five on the 11th lap of the scheduled 40-lapper. He worked his way into third on the 18th go-around.
"It was a good run for us," McMahan said. "We had a great race car tonight. My guys bust their butts every day to get the race cars ready. We had a shot at Joey (Saldana) and Steve (Kinser) one time and the red came out and that kind of let those guys work on their race cars. We didn't really want to touch ours much because we had a good race car."
Saldana lined up on the high side of the track on the final double file restart, the same spot he started on each and every one of the four restarts. He looked high in turns one and two to no avail on the restart and looked low in both turns one and two and again in three and four on the white flag lap, but could not get a run on Kinser.
"That was really my only shot," shared the native of Brownsburg, Indiana of the final restart. "Once I knocked the ladder off the car was not stuck like it was before. I definitely needed that caution and the green-white-checker. We'll keep working hard and come back on Monday and see if we can get one."
McMahan, who ran second for a couple of laps lined up on the inside of the second row on the final double file restart and nearly got around Saldana for second coming off turn four and ended up dropping back a little bit on the final circuit.
"I wanted to get by Joey (Saldana) as fast I could to get a shot at Steve (Kinser)," noted McMahan. "I kind of squeezed Joey up by the fence and left him enough room to get by and he was able to drive back by me two times. If it wasn't a teammate, I probably would have squeezed him a little harder. We race hard and we race clean and it was a great overall night for Kasey Kahne Racing and this entire team."
Brad Sweet finished fourth in the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Maxim to score his best World of Outlaws finish of the season, also putting all three Kasey Kahne Racing cars in the Top-Five.
Jason Meyers came home fifth in the GLR Investments KPC to earn his 28th Top-Five finish of the season. The California native remains third in points, just 25 markers out of the top spot as he chases his first World of Outlaws title. He opened the night by turning the second fastest lap in time trials to earn four bonus points in the standings.
Jason Sides was sixth in the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim, with Friday night's winner Jac Haudenschild coming from 19th to finish seventh in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass XXX to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award. Kraig Kinser was eighth in the Quaker State Maxim, with Danny Lasoski ninth aboard the Casey's General Stores JEI. Kerry Madsen rounded out the Top-10 in the Halls Haulage KPC.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Monday, September 6 at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington.
SKAGIT SPEEDWAY NIGHT #2 NOTES
* FAST QUALIFIER: Donny Schatz paced the 34 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked three-tenths-mile oval at 11.339 seconds at 95.246 miles per hour. For his qualifying effort Schatz earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Jason Meyers (4), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (3), Paul McMahan (2) and Brad Sweet (1).
* SKAGIT SPEEDWAY QUALIFYING WINNERS: Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana, Steve Kinser and Ben Gregg won heat races. Steve Kinser won the dash. Kerry Madsen won the Last Chance Showdown.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 56 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2010. The winners include: Joey Saldana (Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Eldora Speedway-twice, Dodge City Raceway Park, River Cities Speedway, LaSalle Speedway, Beaver Dam Raceway, Lernerville Speedway, Nodak Speedway and Castrol Raceway), Jason Meyers (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, Tri-State (Okla.) Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway, I-96 Speedway, North Central Speedway, I-55 Raceway and Castrol Raceway), Steve Kinser (Volusia Speedway Park, Jackson Speedway, River Cities Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Eldora Speedway, Autodrome Drummond, Fulton Speedway and Skagit Speedway), Jason Sides (Houston Raceway Park , Tri-City Speedway, Missouri State Fair Speedway and Ohsweken Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Lone Star Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway and Nodak Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Paducah International Raceway, Knoxville Raceway and Skagit Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park, The Dirt Track at Charlotte and Ohsweken Speedway), Lance Dewease (Lernerville Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway), Sammy Swindell (Dodge City Raceway and Huset's Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (Knoxville Raceway and Junction Motor Speedway), Dale Blaney (Limaland Motorsports Park), Doug Esh (Lebanon Valley Speedway), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove Speedway), Danny Lasoski (Cottage Grove Speedway), Chad Layton (Williams Grove Speedway), Paul McMahan (Eldora Speedway), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway) and Tim Shaffer (I-55 Raceway).
* THREE-TENTHS-MILE-WINNERS: Skagit Speedway is a high-banked three-tenths-mile oval. The World of Outlaws have raced twice this season a track that size. The winners include: Jac Haudenschild (Skagit Speedway) and Steve Kinser (Skagit Speedway).