'The King' Experiences Deja Vu at Talladega By Richard Day TALLADEGA, AL (April 20) -- Steve Kinser has fond memories of Talladega. When he last visited the Alabama town in 1994, "The King of the Outlaws" was competing in his third International...
'The King' Experiences Deja Vu at Talladega
By Richard Day
TALLADEGA, AL (April 20) -- Steve Kinser has fond memories of Talladega. When he last visited the Alabama town in 1994, "The King of the Outlaws" was competing in his third International Race of Champions event and out-raced drivers from every form of motorsports.
Kinser won at Talladega again Friday when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opened its inaugural event at the Talladega Short Track, leading all 30 laps from outside the front row.
"I was here (for a sprint car race) a long time ago (1981), but I don't really remember anything about it," Kinser said. "With a little more work, they could have a first-class facility here."
Kinser, the 11th-fastest of 21 cars breaking the previous single- lap record, won the Second O'Reilly Heat Race despite colliding with Kenny Hart and turning a 360 on the front straightaway. He earned the right to start outside the front row by following Andy Hillenburg across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash. Hillenburg won the 10- lap race, the missing engine in his #2 Luxaire J&J notwithstanding. His crew replaced his power plant before he lined up on the pole in the Preliminary Feature.
Kinser and Hillenburg raced wheel-to-wheel down the front stretch as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature. "The King of the Outlaws" steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim around Hillenburg high in the second corner to take the lead.
Jac Haudenschild spun over the bank in turn two early in the second lap. Danny Wood duplicated Haudenschild's move as the race resumed, bringing out the caution flag again.
Randy Hannagan, whose 109.210-m.p.h. lap around the high-banked, 1/3-mile oval paced the 24-car qualifying session, challenged Danny Lasoski for fourth place before Wood spun between the third and fourth corners late in lap five, taking the leaders out of lapped traffic.
Hillenburg jumped the cushion in turn three late in the eighth lap, allowing four cars to pass him. Hannagan beat "The Dude" down the front stretch for third place before Brooke Tatnell spun between the third and fourth corners early in the ninth lap.
Kinser was a half-straightaway ahead of Dale Blaney when he caught the back-markers again four laps later. Brian Paulus took "The King of the Outlaws" out of lapped traffic when he took the #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim for a spin in turn four the next time around.
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser and Donny Schatz passed for fourth and fifth place, respectively, before Jeff Shepard suffered a flat left rear tire and spun in the fourth corner late in lap 18.
Mark Kinser was trying to pass Blaney for second place the next time around when the #5M Mopar Maxim spun between turns one and two. Tim Shaffer also spun in the second corner.
"The King of the Outlaws" raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow, and was a half-straightaway ahead of Blaney when he entered lapped traffic during the 24th lap.
Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate Brad Furr and 18th- starting Stevie Smith raced three-abreast with Hillenburg through turn two as they battled for sixth place two laps later.
Mark Kinser spun in the fourth corner late in lap 27, setting up a three-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Blaney kept pace with Steve Kinser on the ensuing restart and almost passed him for the lead heading into turn two with 1 3/4 laps remaining, but was unable to surge ahead. Kinser increased his advantage to a half-straightaway during the final lap as Hannagan challenged Blaney for the runner-up spot.
"The way the track was, you had to be really precise on the high side of the corners because it's pretty easy to drive off the edge of the track here," Steve explained. "I was afraid someone might try to get a run on me there on the restarts. I saw Dale get a nose under me one time, but I didn't want to move down and let someone else get by both of us on the top. The cautions were to my advantage; I think we had a good car there in the open."
Schatz claimed the final automatic starting position in Saturday's CHANNELLOCK Dash by finishing fourth. Lasoski's fifth-place run pushed him to within four points of the points lead. Smith finished sixth, ahead of Hillenburg, Furr, Paul McMahan and Jason Meyers.
The right rear wheel on Joey Saldana's #17 HEM Saw Eagle broke as he entered the first corner on his first qualifying lap, causing him to flip. The 1996 Rookie of the Year brought out a backup car and raced into 11th place from outside the 12th row in the feature.