'The King' Wins Battle With Smith in Vegas Opener By Richard Day LAS VEGAS, NV (March 2) -- Steve Kinser earned the reputation as a tough racer while winning 15 championships and 435 "A" Features with...
'The King' Wins Battle With Smith in Vegas Opener By Richard Day
LAS VEGAS, NV (March 2) -- Steve Kinser earned the reputation as a tough racer while winning 15 championships and 435 "A" Features with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series. Knowing that made Thursday's speech following his victory in the Preliminary Feature on opening night of the Fourth Annual Silver State Shootout at Las Vegas Motor Speedway all the more surprising. "It felt real good to be able to race this hard again, and win one for Hoosier Tires," Steve said. "That's probably as hard as I've raced in a long time. I just hope we can come back and get another one tomorrow (Friday) night." Another victory for Kinser in Friday's nationally televised race on TNN would give him the pole position in Saturday's championship feature. Friday's live coverage starts at 10 p.m. eastern time. Had Kinser not raced as hard as he has in years, Stevie Smith would have collected the $5,000 first prize. Smith drove his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Black Bandit to victory in the First Channellock Dash and the Third NAPA Auto Parts Race before leading laps 12-28 in the evening's main event. Kinser, winner of the Second Channellock Dash and the Fourth NAPA Auto Parts Heat Race, started the 30-lap feature outside the front row. He raced around Smith in the fourth corner as the green flag fell to take the lead. Smith, who raced just inches from Kinser's rear bumper throughout the second lap, tried to take the lead with a low move into turn four the next time around, but was unable to surge ahead. A mechanical problem forced Billy Wilburn to stop on the front straightaway early in the fourth lap. The #21 PC Joey J&J turned on its side in the second corner as the race resumed, causing Lance Blevins to restart at the rear of the field. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Danny Lasoski passed four cars in the first five laps. He steered the #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the low groove between turns one and two to pass Frankie Kerr for sixth place the next time around. Kinser was 1.1 seconds ahead of Smith when he entered lapped traffic during lap eight. Smith narrowed the gap to .4 seconds within three laps, however, then took the lead with an inside move in the fourth corner late in the 12th lap. The leaders raced wheel-to-wheel through turn four one lap later, but Smith maintained first place by beating Kinser down the front stretch. Blevins spun in turn two in front of the leaders two laps later, tightening the field and taking the leaders out of lapped traffic. Mark Kinser and Lasoski passed Second NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race winner Sammy Swindell for fourth and fifth place during the 17th and 18th laps, respectively. Smith held a slim .4-second advantage when he caught the backmarkers again with 10 laps remaining. Kinser tried to regain the lead with a low move into the fourth corner late in the 21st lap. He was unsuccessful with a similar attempt in turn two three laps later. Lasoski passed Mark Kinser for fourth place deep in the second corner with five laps remaining. Swindell followed "The Dude" past the defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion on the back straightaway several seconds later. Smith was following a pack of backmarkers through the second corner when Kinser raced around him and won a drag race into turn three with 2 1/2 laps remaining. "The King of the Outlaws" took the checkered flag with 2.1 seconds to spare. "I was loafing there, trying to keep my tires cool, and Stevie drove by me," Kinser admitted. "I thought I'd just run this thing for everything it's worth and see what happens, and I got back by him." First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race Jac Haudenschild winner finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Swindell, Mark Kinser, Paul McMahan, Kerr, 21st-starting Greg Hodnett and Brian Paulus. Joey Saldana continued to dominate the Vivarin Fast-Time Award, earning his third $300 payoff in as many races. He drove his #17 Hemsaw Eagle around the semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval in 14.804 seconds, an average speed of 121.589 m.p.h. Donny Schatz, who won the season-ending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Presented by Wirtgen event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last November, continued to have early-season problems. His #15 Parker Stores Maxim turned sideways as the green flag fell in the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race. His collision with Johnny Herrera, Brad Furr, Terry McCarl and Mike Faria sent him and Faria flipping. Schatz lost a battle with Jason Meyers in the "B" Feature for the last starting position in the evening's main event. He used a provisional, started inside the 12th row and passed 12 cars in the Preliminary Feature. A missing fuel cap on the #93 Amoco Maxim caused Dale Blaney to lose his ninth row inside starting position in the Preliminary Feature. He started at the rear of the field and finished 18th.