THE FINISH LINE Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Eyes Strong Finish Aboard Bass Pro Shops Sprinter to Close 2009 Outlaws Campaign INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2009) -- With the focus of this weekend's World of Outlaws season-ending World Finals ...
THE FINISH LINE
Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Eyes Strong Finish Aboard Bass Pro Shops Sprinter to Close 2009 Outlaws Campaign
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2009) -- With the focus of this weekend's World of Outlaws season-ending World Finals squarely on the closest title chase in the series' 31-year history, it's going to be tough for anyone other than the championship contenders to gain the spotlight. Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Kraig Kinser would like nothing more than to share the attention with the driver claiming the coveted crown. Winning Saturday night's final WoO Sprint Car Series feature of 2009 sounds like just the right plan for the 25-year-old third generation driver and a perfect way to head into 2010.
In only its third year of existence at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., the World Finals has become one of the premiere short-track events. With the unique opportunity to combine the top Sprint car racers in the world on the same card with the best dirt Late Model teams, it's an event in which all competitors want to succeed. Live TV and the chance to be the season's final winner add to the significance.
Kinser is completing his second season behind the wheel of the TSR No. 20 Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim. In the 2007 World Finals, he made his return to Sprint car racing after spending the 2006 and 2007 seasons competing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and Nationwide Series (NNS), as well as the Auto Racing Club of America (ARCA) RE/MAX Series with the Ginn Racing team. In last year's World Finals, he challenged his TSR teammate Donny Schatz for the victory to conclude his first season with TSR.
The 2004 WoO Rookie of the Year, who grew up in Bloomington, Ind., now calls the Charlotte area home. He made his debut at the 4/10-mile clay oval in October 2002 and is looking to make his 10th and 11th feature events at the track this weekend. Last season, he scored a pair of top-10s in three starts and, earlier this year, finished 12th at the facility.
The three-day program will include qualifying sessions on Thursday night for both Friday and Saturday night's events. Friday and Saturday night, complete race programs, including heat races, the Crane Cams Dash and features, will be contested.
Kinser and the Bass Pro Shops team are still looking to put together a complete weekend from start to finish. On 34 occasions this season, Kinser has qualified inside the top-10 and 16 different times he's been able to advance positions in the feature. Their collective goal would be to qualify in the top-10 and start near the front in the 30-lap features. It starts with Thursday night's qualifying program, where Kinser will have two opportunities to race against the clock. The results of those laps set the lineups for Friday and Saturday's programs.
Kinser enters the World Finals following a 10th-place finish on Oct. 24 at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas. He was the third-fastest qualifier, but the racing surface didn't allow for much passing throughout the night.
The Mooresville, N.C., resident has competed in 61 Outlaw features during the 2009 season. Kinser and the Bass Pro Shops team have scored 10 top-five finishes and 29 top-10s. He currently ranks eighth in the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 7,830 points.
Saturday's 2009 WoO season finale will be broadcast on SPEED-TV. Race fans can watch all of Saturday's action unfold live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
On Thursday, the pit gates will open at 11 a.m. with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the pit gates will open at 12:45 p.m. with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. For race tickets and other event information, contact Lowe's Motor Speedway at (800) 455-3267. The official Web site of Lowe's Motor Speedway is www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
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.
Kraig Kinser, Driver of the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
The World Finals is a relatively new event, but it's one that every driver wants to perform well at. What's made it become such a big event?
"The biggest thing is it brings all the best Sprint car and Late Model drivers to one track at the same time. The fact that it's at one of the nicest tracks we race at, and also right in the heart of racing country, is big, too.
"It's a fun weekend for everybody. The racers, the fans and sponsors all come out to be part of it. Even the people from the Charlotte area get a chance to see a different kind of racing. I think the drivers and teams enjoy it because we race so much ourselves that we don't get to watch a lot of different racing. The Late Models put on a great show and it's fun to be part of it.
"We also enjoy having SPEED doing the race. There will be a lot of people at the race, but it's great that our sport's final race can be viewed by motorsports fan across the globe. Just another reason that everyone wants to go out and put on a great show."
The World Finals is also the final race of the year after a grueling schedule that started in February during Speedweeks. With it being the last races of the year, do you change your approach?
"You can't really do anything a whole lot differently. The biggest thing is that it's the last event of the year, so you know you'll have a long break after it. Every guy who races Sprint cars wants to win the last World of Outlaws race of the year. We're not accustomed to not racing on weekends, so if you can go into the offseason on a high note, it gives everyone something to feel good about for a while."
Every event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway becomes bigger than just another race. Is there a way to block out all of the other factors and just treat it like another night?
"I'd like to say you can, but all the activity there makes it a bigger event. With the NASCAR track just across the street, live TV and a standing-room-only crowd, it's hard to block all of that out. It's fun to be part of it, but we still have a job to do, and that's to try and win the race.
"I really like racing there. It's fast and, if your car is right, you can really make some speed. Last year in the World Finals, the Bass Pro Shop guys (Mike Cool, Steve Swenson and Bob Curtis) gave me a really fast car and we drove to the front. (TSR teammate) Donny (Schatz) was setting a pretty good pace, and maybe if we could have gotten into lapped traffic, the outcome would have been a little different. I hope the two of us are fighting for the win again this year. Maybe this time I can win the feature and, by finishing second, he'd clinch the championship. I'd say that would be a great way for TSR to close the year."
For complete WoO Sprint Series results from the World Finals, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint. For information regarding TSR, Bass Pro Shops, J.D. Byrider, Chevy or Kinser, visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.basspro.com, www.byrider.com, www.chevy.com or www.kraigkinser.com.