Thunderbowl: Race report

Kinser wins Thunderbowl feature, regains points lead TULARE, CA (September 2) -- It's almost impossible to keep a living legend down. Steve Kinser, who persevered through a tough weekend at Calistoga Speedway's Harvest Classic, regained the ...

Kinser wins Thunderbowl feature, regains points lead

TULARE, CA (September 2) -- It's almost impossible to keep a living legend down.

Steve Kinser, who persevered through a tough weekend at Calistoga Speedway's Harvest Classic, regained the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series points lead Tuesday when he won the series' inaugural race at Thunderbowl Speedway. "The King of the Outlaws" takes a six-point advantage into the 50th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions, where he is the defending and 10-time event champion.

It was the 51st time in Kinser's incomparable career he was the winner when the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series christened a new facility. Only seven drivers have won as many as 51 "A" Features in the series' 25 ½-year history.

"I think it's more coincidence than anything (winning races during the series' first visit to a track)," Kinser said. "We've been running really good on the smaller tracks and struggling some on the bigger tracks this year, which is kind of the opposite of the rest of my career.

"We have a long way to go, and lots of races left this year (12 events over 19 dates), so just about anything can happen as far as the points go. We were actually running pretty good at Calistoga, and then Brian Paulus had a tire go down and spun right in front of me. I didn't know he had a tire go down, and I got on him quite a bit. Then, then the next night, it came back and bit me, and I had a tire go down. We had to start 19th Sunday night, and got back up to seventh, so that went pretty well. We just have to plug along and try to win some more races and see where we stand at the end of the year."

Kinser paced the qualifying session for the sixth time this season, driving his #11 Quaker State Maxim around the high-banked, 1/3-mile oval in 13.350 seconds. He earned the right to start the main event inside the second row by following Sammy Swindell across the finish line in the First Dash Race.

Engine problems in the #15 Parker Stores J&J caused Donny Schatz to stop on the front straightaway as the green flag fell in the 35-lap "A" Feature, forcing a restart. Jonathan Allard and Third Heat Race winner Tommy Tarlton collided and flipped into First Heat Race winner Johnny Herrera, Garrett Ishi and Mike Faria in turn two on the second start.

Swindell burst into the lead, while Kinser passed his Beef Packers teammate, Tim Shaffer, deep in the second corner, as the green flag replaced the red. Blake Robertson exchanged seventh place with Harvest Classic champion Danny Lasoski the next time around.

"The King of the Outlaws" passed Swindell for the lead with an outside move in turn two early in the fifth lap. Kinser was approaching lapped traffic one lap later when Toni Lutar spun in the second corner.

Shaffer drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle around Jason Meyers and Swindell between turns three and four to claim the runner-up spot late in lap eight. Meyers passed Swindell deep in the first corner several seconds later. Robertson raced past Swindell and Meyers during the 10th and 12th laps to take third place.

Kinser was seven car-lengths ahead of Shaffer when he entered lapped traffic early in the 14th lap. Paul McMahan, whose mechanical trouble cost him a victory in the First Dash Race, opened the track ahead of the leaders when rear end problems in the #11H Vivarin Maxim caused him to stop one lap later.

Meyers took the inside line through turns one and two to pass Robertson for third place early in lap 16. Joey Saldana used a similar move to pass Swindell for fifth place two laps later. Lasoski drove NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle into the low groove in the fourth corner to pass Daryn Pittman for ninth place late in lap 23.

Twelve car-lengths separated the leaders when Kinser caught the back-markers two laps later. "The King of the Outlaws" followed Lutar and Brian Coelho for three laps before passing them and returning to his 12-car-length comfort zone during the 30th lap. Kinser was half a straightaway ahead of Shaffer when he took the checkered flag for his 20th "A" Feature victory of the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' Silver Anniversary Season.

"We got a good run there at the beginning," Kinser said. "We got by Sammy, then we started messing around on the bottom. I finally got up top, and it seemed to run a little better up there."

Meyers finished in third place, ahead of Robertson, Saldana, Swindell, Second Heat Race winner Tim Kaeding, Dennis Moore, Jr., Lasoski and Pittman. Randy Hannagan raced past 11 cars to finish 12th.

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Joey Saldana , Jonathan Allard , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Toni Lutar , Tim Kaeding