BIG FINISH Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Shoots for Texas-Sized End To 2009 World of Outlaws Campaign INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 20, 2009) -- Another race, another chance. That's how Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Kraig Kinser views this weekend's...
Tony Stewart Racing's Kraig Kinser Shoots for Texas-Sized End To 2009 World of Outlaws Campaign
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 20, 2009) -- Another race, another chance. That's how Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Kraig Kinser views this weekend's World of Outlaws (WoO) event in the great state of Texas. Kinser and the traveling Sprint car stars have circled the United States and even ventured to Canada during the last 10 months, and each of them knows the final laps of the 2009 WoO campaign could leave a lasting impression.
Kinser is hoping for a repeat of his solid conclusion to the 2008 WoO campaign behind the wheel of the TSR No. 20 Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim when he returns to action Saturday night at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas. The 25-year-old third-generation Sprint car racer scored a pair of podium finishes to close 2008, and he'd like nothing more than to match or better those results with top finishes Saturday and in the season-ending World Finals Nov. 6-7 near Charlotte.
Just like everything in Texas, Lone Star Speedway is a big track and boasts of being the fastest half-mile in Texas. In April, the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval hosted the Outlaws for the first time in five years and the standing-room-only crowd was treated to a thrilling night of action. Kinser came home 10th on that night, in only his fourth career appearance at the track. His best results came in March 2004, when he earned the pole position for the feature event and scored a third-place finish.
The competition on the Outlaws trail has been as fierce as ever this year. Competitors have been challenged from the start of each night and being fast in qualifying has been crucial. With that in mind, Kinser knows that laying down a solid lap against the clock in time trials will go a long way toward making it a successful night. His qualifying lap time of 14.531 seconds (123.873 mph) in April was the 12th best in the field and earned the 2004 WoO Rookie of the Year a front-row starting spot in the third heat race. Starting up front has been a big key during this year's WoO campaign. Sixteen different drivers have won during the first 62 races, and the last three winners have started from the pole.
Recent results have also proved that charging forward hasn't been a problem for Kinser. On Sept. 25 at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway, Kinser kicked off the Team Chevy Weekend festivities by racing the Bass Pro Shops Chevy from 25th to 13th in the 30-lap feature. The following weekend, in the Williams Grove Speedway National Open, he drove past another dozen cars over the course of 40 laps. Those two results underlined the importance of beginning the feature events inside the top-10, and starting closer to the front this weekend is top priority.
Kinser enters Saturday's WoO Fest event at Lone Star following an 11th-place finish on Oct. 10 at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y. He was the seventh-fastest qualifier in the field of 43 cars and, despite a valiant effort trying to get into second place during the third heat race, he was forced to start the main event in the sixth row.
The Mooresville, N.C., resident has competed in 60 Outlaw features during the 2009 season. Kinser and the Bass Pro Shops team have scored 10 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s. He currently ranks eighth in the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 7,697 points.
For Saturday's event at Lone Star, the pit gates open at 2 p.m. CDT and grandstands open at 6 p.m. Hot Laps are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling Lone Star Speedway at (903) 986-9731, and more information is available at www.lonestarspeedway.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:
After a season-long schedule that had you racing two and three times a week, now the schedule slows way down and offers only a race every couple of weeks. Is that tough to adjust to?
"Definitely. It was kind of weird not being at a track last Friday or Saturday, but that gives us a little more juice for this week. It makes you a little more excited about going to the next race since you've had a little more time between races than you normally do. Everyone knows there are only a few more races left in the season, so you head to the track and try to have the best night you can.
"The time off in-between might give everyone a chance to be away from the regular routine. I know all the Bass Pro Shops guys (Mike Cool, Steve Swenson, and Bob Curtis) are back at the shop in Indiana this week getting ready for the final races of the season. We're all hoping to have a good night in Texas and carry some momentum with us to Charlotte."
In April, Lone Star Speedway hosted the Outlaws for the first time in five years. Was the track similar to how you remembered it, and what are your thoughts about going back?
"I remember it being a packed house and that's always fun -- when you can race in front of huge crowds like that. The track has always been a high-speed track and that hasn't changed. It's a place where you can carry a lot of momentum, and I really like those types of places. We've been decent there in the past and I feel good about our chances.
"The Hafertepe family has done a really good job with the facility and I've heard they've continued to make improvements since April. Texas has always been a fun place for me to go race, and there are a lot of Sprint car fans down there. Hopefully, we can go back down there this week and put on a really good show."
The season, which began the first week of February, is down to three races. Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish in Texas and Charlotte?
"We'd like to win a race, that's for sure. Honestly, if we can be racing up front, that would be something that would make us all happy. Last year, we had a third-place finish at Heartland Park Topeka and then a second in the final race of the year. That made us all feel pretty good heading into the off-season. Everyone works really hard to be able to race with the World of Outlaws. We'd really like to close the year with some good runs for all the people at Bass Pro Shops, Chevy, J.D. Byrider and everyone associated with Tony Stewart Racing."
For complete WoO Sprint Series results from Lone Star Speedway, 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.