Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Title Battle Rages MESQUITE, TX (October 22) -- They have battled through 60 events over 90 race dates at high-speed dirt ovals from coast to coast and still only 14 points separate Mark Kinser and Danny Lasoski...
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Title Battle Rages
MESQUITE, TX (October 22) -- They have battled through 60 events over 90 race dates at high-speed dirt ovals from coast to coast and still only 14 points separate Mark Kinser and Danny Lasoski in their battle for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship.
Their season-long war for the $100,000 first prize is reminiscent of 1999 when Kinser outscored "The Dude" by just 71 points . but they're threatening to take the 2001 championship down to the season finale -- the Mopar Parts World Finals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Mopar Mark" leads the series with 16 "A" Feature victories and 37 top-five finishes, but both have recorded 51 top-10 finishes. Lasoski has won four main events, has 31 top-five finishes and leads the series with five Preliminary Feature victories.
Both have scored 1,336 points in the last eight events, during which Kinser won the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway and the Great Plains Shootout at Nebraska Raceway Park and Lasoski reeled off seven top-10 finishes.
Only two weeks ago, Kinser increased his advantage to a season-high 63 points when he drove father Karl's #5M Mopar Maxim into fourth place in the OdoBan Outlaws Championship at The Lowe's Motor Speedway Dirt Track. "The Dude" has come charging back, however, driving NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle into the top three at Houston Raceway Park and the Talladega Short Track.
Finishing two positions ahead of Kinser in the remaining five feature races (three main events and two preliminaries) would give Lasoski a two-point victory over "Mopar Mark" for the championship.
Lasoski first took the points lead from Andy Hillenburg on March 9th while winning the 28th Annual Spring Nationals Preliminary Feature at the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series birthplace, Devil's Bowl Speedway. The two-time Spring Nationals champion will get his chance to pass Kinser Friday and Saturday when the series returns to "The Bowl" for the 28th Annual Winter Nationals. Kinser won three main events at Devil's Bowl Speedway in 1996 and 1997.
"The Dude" was 84 points ahead of Kinser when Mark slipped into fourth place in the standings with a 16th-place finish at I-55 Raceway March 24th. Sweeping the Southern Bleacher Classic at Texas Motor Speedway the following weekend started the five-race winning streak that pushed Kinser into the points lead.
Lasoski returned to his racing roots -- Knoxville Raceway -- and reclaimed the points lead with an "A" Feature victory April 28th. "Mopar Mark" went home to his native Indiana and regained first place May 11th when he won the main event at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Kinser led the point standings for almost a month before Lasoski returned to first place with a Preliminary Feature victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Motor Speedway at Heartland Park Topeka. Kinser raced into third place from outside the ninth row in the Second Preliminary Feature at the Eagle Nationals to reclaim the points lead.
"The Dude" enjoyed another outstanding weekend at Knoxville Raceway during the Iowa Classic June 29-30, tying Kinser for the points lead with a Preliminary Feature victory and taking the points lead with a runner-up run in the finale.
Kinser returned to first place just three days later when he won his fifth "A" Feature in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' last six visits to Huset's Speedway.
Lasoski tied "Mopar Mark" for the points lead with a sixth-place finish in the First Preliminary Feature in the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway July 5th, then surged into first place with a seventh-place finish in the Second Preliminary Feature.
Kinser regained first place with a victory at Route 66 Raceway July 13th, only to have "The Dude" pass him again with a runner-up run at -- where else -- Knoxville Raceway three days later.
A second-place finish in the "Night Before The Kings Royal" race at Eldora Speedway on July 20th pushed Kinser back into first place in the point standings. He has held the points lead for the last 23 events.
"Mopar Mark" and Lasoski exchanged the points lead 11 times between April 14th and July 20th (27 events). They're liable to pass each other several more times in the remaining three events. Stay tuned.