</pre> 'King of the Outlaws' Wins at Riverside By Richard Day COTTAGE GROVE, OR (August 19) -- Steve Kinser admitted he was feeling his age Tuesday at Riverside Speedway. Of course, that ...
'King of the Outlaws' Wins at Riverside
By Richard Day
COTTAGE GROVE, OR (August 19) -- Steve Kinser admitted he was feeling his age Tuesday at Riverside Speedway. Of course, that didn't keep him from winning the "A" Feature and increasing his advantage in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings. "I worked out pretty hard over the winter, but since we started racing I haven't been able to keep up with it the way I'd like to," the 45-year-old Kinser said. "We'll just have to go back in November and get back in the gym. The older you get, the harder you have to work to keep up with these young guys." One of those "young guys" -- 31-year-old Greg Hodnett -- almost passed "The King of the Outlaws" during the final lap, but finished a car-length behind. "I thought I might have had something for Steve there in traffic, but he's just such an awesome race car driver," the 1993 Rookie of the Year said. "To beat him in a situation like that, you have to be perfect, and we were just a little bit off. We're pretty happy with second tonight -- it's our best finish in a while. The Wirtgen America car was pretty nice all night long, and, hopefully this is what we need to get back on track." Hodnett's runner-up run was his best through the series' first 48 main events and his fifth in the top five this season. Kinser's eighth "A" Feature victory, coupled with Sammy Swindell's 11th-place finish, gave "The King of the Outlaws" a 188-point cushion with 14 events remaining on the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 2000 schedule. Kinser, the 12th-fastest qualifier in the 39-car field, won every race he entered -- the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race, the CHANNELLOCK Dash and the 40-lap main event. Kinser burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature. He was racing away from the field when Brian Paulus collided with several cars and hit the outside retaining wall in the fourth corner early in the second lap. Paulus' #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim suffered a broken drag link in the crash and was unable to restart. Kinser quickly opened a comfortable advantage as Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Danny Lasoski challenged Tim Shaffer for second place on the ensuing restart. He was five car-lengths ahead of his closest pursuers when he entered lapped traffic within four laps. A collision involving Shawna Wilskey and Kevin Etchison sent Etchison flipping in turn four the next time around. Series officials disquailfied Shannon Wheatly, a former crew chief for Steve Beitler, when a crewman worked on his car during the closed red period. Kinser drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim away from the field again when the green flag replaced the red and was five car-lengths ahead of Shaffer when he caught the backmarkers during the 10th lap. Shaffer caught Kinser in dense lapped traffic three laps later, however. Shaffer was unable to keep pace with "The King of the Outlaws" while Lasoski challenged him during the race's middle stages. Hodnett joined the battle during lap 20 and drove the #V12 Wirtgen America Maxim into the high groove between the first and second corners to pass "The Dude" for third place five laps later. Danny Wood took the leaders out of lapped traffic when he stopped in turn three with a flat right rear tire early in the 26th lap. Mark Kinser and Donny Schatz, who finished 1-2 at the Amoco Knoxville Nationals recently, exchanged sixth place one lap later. Shaffer, who narrowed the gap to two car-lengths in lapped traffic with 9 1/2 laps remaining, had problems in the fourth corner three laps later, allowing Hodnett to pass him. Hodnett steadily narrowed the gap, and threatened to steal the $10,000 first prize as they headed for the checkered flag, but was unable to pass Kinser. "The track was pretty tough," Kinser said. "The fast way was right around the top. There wasn't a whole lot down there on the bottom to get ahold of. The main thing was trying to be smooth up there (on the cushion). Actually, there at the end when I caught up to some pretty good guys like Andy (Hillenburg), I just had to follow them, because I didn't think I could do much with them." Lasoski claimed fourth place when First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Stevie Smith jumped the cushion in the fourth corner with 3 1/4 laps remaining. Joey Saldana finished sixth, ahead of Jac Haudenschild, Mark Kinser, Schatz and 19th-starting Johnny Herrera. "The Dude" received his second straight Vivarin Fast-Time Award for pacing the qualifying session with a 84.309-m.p.h. lap around the semi-banked, 1/4-mile oval. WoO