Steve Kinser returns

BLOOMINGTON, IN - Heading into this year's Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) schedule all the talk was about the points championship chase between 1999 Champion Mark Kinser and runner-up Danny Lasoski. Most people had written off Steve ...

BLOOMINGTON, IN - Heading into this year's Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) schedule all the talk was about the points championship chase between 1999 Champion Mark Kinser and runner-up Danny Lasoski. Most people had written off Steve Kinser’s chances of returning to his championship form simply because he had signed an exclusive tire deal with Hoosier and many thought "the King of the Outlaws" had lost his edge. With all of talk surrounding Mark and Danny, Steve simply wanted to race. After 41 events, Kinser has proven the critics wrong and leads the point standings by 177 points. "We’ve ran good all year," said Kinser, who has won 15 WoO titles. "We’ve been right there in the top three just about every night. The last couple of races, we’ve slacked off a little bit, but we’ve had a good year and we’re looking forward to trying to finish off that strong." The key to any championship is consistency. Kinser has 32 top five finishes in the season’s first 41 events and only three finishes outside the top ten. Throw in his seven wins and three more preliminary victories and you come up with a pretty impressive season-to-date. "The Quaker State crew has done a terrific job of keeping the car together," said Kinser. "We haven’t had a lot of motor problems and that’s kept us in a lot of races. The thing we’re all most happy about is that we’re capable of winning every night. I think we’ve been the fastest car night in and night out. There’s not very many race cars that have been able to run in the top three about every night. The fact that we’ve been able to do that puts us in a good position." Being in a good position or on top of the Outlaws points chase is something that Kinser has been doing for most of his career. Since 1990, Kinser has won six WoO titles by an average of 374 points. Even in 1995 when he missed a number of early races while he was competing in NASCAR’s Winston Cup series, he finished ninth and led the series with 18 victories. He finished fourth in 1996 and third in 1997 and 1999. His 1998 Championship was by 93 points, and he knows he can’t let his guard down now with the likes of Sammy Swindell and Mark Kinser chasing him for the points title. "When you are battling for that first spot you have to stay at it pretty hard," said Kinser. "You could have four or five bad races and lose every bit of your lead. There is never a comfort zone until you get down to the final races, but at this point we’ve got to race every night like we’re behind in the standings and trying to catch up." For the next two weeks, the point standings will take a back seat to the prestige of the Amoco Knoxville Nationals and the payoff of the Historical Big One. Kinser has won 11 Nationals in his career, but hasn’t won the coveted "Superbowl of Sprint Car Racing" since 1995. The four year winless drought is the longest of his Nationals career. He first competed in the Nationals in 1976 and finally won his first in 1980. He followed his first victory with two more in 1981 and 1982. He repeated his "three-peat" with wins in 1986, 1987, and 1988. In 1991, he started a five year streak that ended with his dramatic 1995 win. In 1995, Kinser won both the $100,000 first-place prize at the Historical Big One and just eight days later raced from 14th to first in the 35th Annual Amoco Knoxville Nationals. "That was an incredible week," said Kinser. "We came to Knoxville pretty confident, but lost some steam when we broke a rearend on our qualifying night. To come from 14th to win in that race just doesn’t happen. We were really proud of those two wins, but we haven’t won either since then, so our goal is to get at least one of them this year." Kinser, who used to dominate "the month of money", last won one of the big three (King’s Royal, Historical Big One and Amoco Knoxville Nationals) in 1997 when he won the King’s Royal. He almost snapped that streak at this year’s King’s Royal, but came up short against Dale Blaney and finished second. This weekend’s Historical Big One will give "the King" another shot to break through at Eldora, and he’s also confident about heading to Knoxville next week where he won on July 19. In both of these races, the difficulty of making the race is almost as tough as the race itself. "The toughest part of the Amoco Knoxville Nationals is getting yourself in a position to win it," said Kinser. "You have to try and be in the top three rows, because it’s a relatively short race only 30 laps and with the caliber of cars that we compete against you can’t get that far behind and still make it up." The 2000 season has been the "Year of the King" so far. Steve Kinser is hoping he can continue to be a top three car. If he’s in the top three, his chances of winning are pretty good. Whether or not he can win either the Big One or Knoxville, Kinser has already proven this year that you cannot count him out on any given night.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell