STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ Tony Stewart Racing Teammates Look to Continue World of Outlaws Winning Streak at Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 23, 2010) --The number seven has special meaning in Las Vegas. Whether it's the ...
STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ
Tony Stewart Racing Teammates Look to Continue World of Outlaws Winning Streak at Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 23, 2010) --The number seven has special meaning in Las Vegas. Whether it's the result of a lucky roll of the dice or the outcome of just the right pull on those finicky slot machines, a seven in the "Entertainment Capitol of the World" oftentimes equals cash in your pocket. Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) has a pair of World of Outlaws (WoO) aces hoping seven is the lucky number in Friday night's Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Twenty-time WoO champion Steve Kinser, driver of the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider Maxim, and four-time and defending WoO champion Donny Schatz, driver the TSR No. 15 Armor All/STP/ParkerStore J&J, each have six career wins at the half-mile dirt track and each is vying to become the track's first seven-time winner.
Schatz and Kinser lead the 2010 band of Outlaws into the event ranking one-two in the WoO championship standings. The race will be the series' first since Kinser claimed his 553rd career WoO A-Feature triumph on Super Bowl Sunday at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. Kinser's triumph followed Schatz' 101st career WoO A-Feature win at Volusia the night before (Feb. 6). The season-opening victory for Schatz was his third opening-night win in the last four years.
The results Schatz has put up in season openers has been impressive, but his recent success at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been even better. He's won five of the last eight WoO A-Feature programs held at the track, including last February's 30-lap main event triumph to culminate an evening during which he was the fastest qualifier and also a heat race winner. The Fargo, N.D., racer scored his first win at the track in November 1999.
Kinser, who finished eighth in last year's inaugural Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic, last won at the track in March 2004. The Bloomington, Ind., native swept the two-day program that season, and it marked the second time in his career that he scored consecutive wins at the facility. "The King of the Outlaws" also won his first and second features at the track on consecutive nights in March 2000.
The 2010 campaign started with a bang for TSR in Florida as Schatz and Kinser swept the Outlaws opening two races. Schatz led 20 laps of the opening-night 30-lap main event while Kinser charged from his ninth starting position to finish in third. The following night, Kinser led the final 12 circuits of the feature as Schatz raced to a fourth-place finish. In the season championship standings, Schatz has 299 points and is three markers ahead of Kinser heading to Las Vegas.
For Friday's WoO event at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the pit gates open at 11 a.m. PST, and the grandstands open at 6 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, visit www.lvms.com or call the track at 800-644-4444.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, "Voice of the Outlaws," calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
The Outlaws event on Friday is the second half of the two-night Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic doubleheader. On Thursday, the United States Auto Club (USAC) National Sprint Car Series will be in action at the half-mile track. TSR's Levi Jones, the defending USAC Sprint car champion, won the series' most recent race on Sunday at USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz.
Tony Stewart, Owner of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J and No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
This year, you've got a pretty impressive driver stable. Defending World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz, defending USAC National Sprint champion Levi Jones, and Steve Kinser, "The King of the Outlaws." Can you gauge your excitement level about the season ahead?
"It's a pretty special situation. On the Outlaws side, we started a team in 2001 and, since bringing Donny on board two years ago, we've had a lot of success. Last year, we found ourselves feeling like we needed to make a change with our second driver, and we worked out a scenario that we feel was a win-win-win opportunity.
"I feel like, in the Sprint car world, that I've got the 'Dream Team.' I am just really proud as a car owner to have guys like this. I know I've got two guys who can go out every night and win races, and both of them have a great shot at the championship.
"On the USAC side, yes, our program has been scaled back slightly, but we want to continue pursuing championships. Levi has won two USAC Sprint championships in three years for TSR, and we're excited he's driving for us and representing all of our partners again.
"We're obviously thrilled with how everything has started. Both Donny and Steve won Outlaw races, and Levi won both the USAC Silver Crown and Sprint car features this past weekend. It's a great way to begin the year."
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
With one weekend under your belt at TSR, what is your outlook on the season?
"This is going to be a fun year for me. We've started off really well. Winning our first race and being in the top-four every night was really good. Coming to TSR was a unique opportunity. I mean, we've had a strong race team for a long time, but it's great to get back to just being a driver now and not have to worry about a whole lot of things. I am able to go out there and just concentrate on driving.
"We've got a pretty good team put together here. It was a good start for Tony Stewart Racing. Donny won the first night and we won the second. I just hope both teams can continue to do that all year and somehow we can get a one-two finish in the championship. I really hope we can get Bass Pro Shops a championship this year. Four in a row is plenty for Donny -- I think it's about time for me to win another one."
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a track where you've won six times in your career. What are your thoughts heading there?
"We've always run well at Las Vegas. That's something that makes you look forward to going back. It's a big, fast half-mile and we've been pretty good on the bigger tracks. We just spent a week racing in Florida on a fast track, where our results were pretty good every night.
"My crew (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois and Travis LoGrande) works hard to try and continue finding ways to get me faster. We tried a car in Florida that worked really well, and we feel like it should be pretty stout in Las Vegas. You never know what the track will be like, so we'll just see what happens."
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
Winning one championship is difficult, but four is remarkable. What is your view on that accomplishment as you start another run?
"It's about the people you surround yourself with. Building a great program and being around people you like to be with is what it takes to be successful. Winning a championship the first time is the hardest, and I can't even imagine what it feels like to be Steve (Kinser) and have 20. It feels really great that we've been able to do it four times. It's a lot of hard work, and I think the key is to keep pushing yourself and those around you to stay at that level."
You have a new teammate this year. What's it going to be like racing with Steve Kinser?
"He's obviously the best thing to ever sit in these cars. So, for me to be able to learn from the things he's done and watch him go from up close, it's fun to be able to be a part of that. We've only gotten to be teammates for a few nights, but we got off on the right foot and both have that drive to win.
"Our desire to win doesn't seem to cross that line with each other on the track, so it's actually a lot of fun. I hope that we can go down to the end of the year fighting neck and neck for a championship. Believe you me, I want to win it and hope he's second, but I know he'd probably like the order to be switched around."
You've been extremely tough at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. What's your secret?
"Honestly, it's just a place where I have a lot of fun racing. It goes back to the last race in 1999. It was really rough and the driver had to get up in the seat to get the job done. I was young and hungry enough to where I wasn't settling for anything but a win that night. Through the years, that mentality just kind of stuck with me, there. We won the season finale there in 2004, and then won again in 2006 to clinch my first championship. Last year, we had a lot of people from Armor All at the event, so it was really important to be able to get a win for all of them.
"It's a big track, where speed and driver finesse matters. Some guys go out there and just mash the gas pedal and roll the cushion, but you have to be able to move around. The track gets slick and I think I won the race last year by making a couple of perfect corners on the low side in (turns) three and four. I've got an outstanding crew (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Steve Swenson), and they give me a great car to get into. We're excited about getting back out there and racing again."