OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Tony Stewart Racing, Kinser Seek Breakthrough Performance in Sprint Car Racing's Showcase Event INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 5, 2008) -- Since the green flag dropped on the 2008 campaign, Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Kraig Kinser has...
Tony Stewart Racing, Kinser Seek Breakthrough Performance in Sprint Car Racing's Showcase Event
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 5, 2008) -- Since the green flag dropped on the 2008 campaign, Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Kraig Kinser has been preparing for this week. Every qualifying lap, heat race lap and feature lap behind the wheel of the TSR No. 20 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevy/Maxim has been in preparation for his two laps against the clock and hopefully many laps of action on the famed half-mile Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway during this week's 48th annual Knoxville Nationals.
Kinser, one of 22 drivers who have won the sport's premiere event, will use everything he's learned when he hits the track in Thursday's qualifying night program. The Nationals' unique format includes two complete nights of action with points being accumulated for qualifying, heat race finish and feature finish. This will be Kinser's seventh time competing in the event and second since he led all 30 laps of the finale in August 2005.
After missing last year's Nationals while competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), Nationwide Series (NNS) and Auto Racing Club of America (ARCA) RE/MAX Series, Kinser has returned to his Sprint car racing roots this season and ranks 14th in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series after 39 events. He has a pair of top-five finishes and 11 top-10s.
The Bloomington, Ind., native is looking to regain the confidence he had three summers ago when, as a 20 year-old, he drove the race of his life. Kinser started on the pole and held off fierce charges by current TSR teammate Donny Schatz in a race he'll never forget. The victory was the culmination of five years spent learning how to win on the biggest stage. With the victory, Kinser and his dad, Steve, became the first father-son duo to win the coveted crown.
Kinser's Bass Pro Shop crew has had tremendous success at the Nationals in the past. Team manager Jimmy Carr, who was TSR's crew chief on Nationals-winning cars in 2001, 2003 and 2004, along with Steve Swensen, who was part of TSR's team last year that earned the second-most qualifying points and started the race on the outside front row, and Mike Cool, who won the 2005 event as Kinser's crew chief, will all be helping Kinser this week.
Kinser and his teammate Schatz are two of the more than 100 drivers entered for the event. Schatz will race the No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J on Wednesday and Kinser will race on Thursday. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. CDT each night.
Three times Kinser has qualified in the top-seven during preliminary night. And in both 2004 and 2005, he was the third-fastest qualifier. His best Knoxville preliminary qualifying feature finish was ninth on August 11, 2005.
The event culminates Saturday night with the drivers battling for an A-main purse of $473,000. The total purse for Saturday's finale is $909,590. SPEED will offer live coverage of the final night of action beginning at 10 p.m. EDT
Tickets for the Knoxville Nationals can still be purchased by calling 641-842-5431. The official Web site of Knoxville Raceway is www.knoxvilleraceway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this week's events can catch all of the action from Knoxville live each night on Hoseheadsradio.com. Go to www.knoxvilleraceway.com for more information on the event, including updated results from each night of racing.
Quotes from Kraig Kinser, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Maxim:
This is the biggest race of the year. What experience from previous Nationals and things you've done earlier this year do you expect will help you this week?
"We've worked on a lot of different things this year, so we're just trying to figure out what the best plan is. We had a problem there at Beaver Dam, so we're putting a new car together for this week. You just never know with a new car. Sometimes they're fast out of the box and sometimes it takes a night or two to figure them out. Hopefully, this one is fast right out of the box. I know all the TSR guys are working hard so that we have a fast Bass Pro Shop car on Thursday. It's a big race and I wish that we had a little more momentum going our way right now. The good thing is one night can change everything. We're hoping for the best."
The key is getting through your qualifying night. What's your mindset heading into each part of the night?
"It starts with the luck of the pill draw. If you can get a good number and then go out and lay down a good lap, your chances for success are better. We're just thinking about hot laps right now. You get four or five laps to feel your car out and, honestly, those are some of the most important laps of the year. After that, you get the car better and go out and try to make the smoothest laps you can and go from there.
"It's a lot of fun to be at this race and knowing that we've won it before. I know it takes a lot of things going your way to have it all come together. We're looking forward to getting out there Thursday night and see what we can do."
For complete Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Series results, log on to www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint. For information regarding TSR, Bass Pro Shops, J.D. Byrider, Chevy or Kinser, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com, www.basspro.com, www.byrider.com, www.chevy.com or www.kraigkinser.com.