Steve Kinser Holds off Saldana at MetraPark By Richard Day BILLINGS, MT (August 13) – Steve Kinser has received more awards than any driver in the history of sprint car racing, but he’s never been one to rest on them. "The King of the Outlaws" recorded the third Knoxville Nationals-MetraPark Raceway double in four years Tuesday when he led all 30 laps in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Wild, Wild Northwest Tour opener at Billings’ semi-banked, ½-mile oval. Mark Kinser followed his 1999 and 2000 Knoxville Nationals championships with victories at MetraPark. "We had a great car tonight," the series points leader said. "I was catching traffic at the right spots, where I could just kind of coast into the corner and get by them when they were getting loose getting off (the corner). I was a little loose on the front stretch – kind of bouncing around there for a little bit – but, all in all, it was a pretty good night."
The $10,000 victory, Kinser’s 14th of the season, increased his advantage over Joey Saldana in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings to 243 points. Saldana, who finished second in an "A" Feature for the fifth time this season, was 5.2 seconds behind when "The King of the Outlaws" took the checkered flag. Kinser, the seventh-fastest qualifier, earned the right to start the main event on the pole by winning his 12th O’Reilly Auto Parts Dash of the year. He drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature.
Craig Dollansky, who started behind Kinser, passed outside pole-sitter Tim Shaffer for second place with an inside move in the fourth corner late in the opening lap. Saldana and Brad Furr passed Shaffer as the left rear tire on the #83 Beef Packers Eagle lost air pressure during the second lap. The tire was completely flat the next time around, forcing Shaffer to stop in turn one.
Saldana, whose crew replaced the engine in his family’s #17 Eagle Raceway/HEM Saw Eagle following the First O’Reilly Auto Parts Dash, raced through the high groove in the first corner to pass Dollansky for the runner-up spot as the green flag replaced the yellow. Kinser raced away from the field as the race resumed and was 1.5 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic early in lap eight. Saldana narrowed the gap to .6 seconds within two laps, however. Shaffer raced back through the field and passed fellow Pennsylvanian Stevie Smith for 10th place deep in turn two early in the 13th lap. Daryn Pittman and Second Heat Race winner Donny Schatz passed Danny Wood for seventh and eighth place one lap later.
"The King of the Outlaws" opened a two-second advantage during the 16th lap, only to have Saldana narrow the gap to .7 seconds within two laps. Danny Lasoski used an inside move between the third and fourth corners to pass Furr for fourth place late in lap 20. Richie Peterson’s turn-three spin took the leaders out of lapped traffic and tightened the field the next time around. Mike Dunham’s crew replaced his right rear tire during the caution period. Kinser controlled the final restart, and was 5.1 seconds ahead of Saldana when he caught the back-markers early in the 26th lap. Schatz, who started outside the sixth row, was trying to pass Pittman for seventh place high in the fourth corner when Shaffer passed him in the low groove with 3 ¼ laps remaining.
When asked what still motivates him after 16 championships and 465 "A" Feature victories with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series, Kinser said, "I guess the biggest thing is I’m still afraid of losing. I just don’t like to lose no matter what it is, and having a car as good as we’ve had here lately. My guys have just been doing an awesome job all year long, and it’s just fun to drive a race car when it feels this good. We’re heading to some tracks where I run pretty good, so we’ll just try to keep everything together and have a good finish to the season."
Dollansky finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Furr, fast-qualifier Mark Kinser, Pittman, Shaffer, Schatz and Wood. Mark Kinser set quick time for the fourth time this season, driving the #5M Mopar Maxim around the semi-banked, ½-mile oval in 18.069 seconds, an average speed of 99.618 M.P.H. WoO
2002 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series MetraPark Raceway, Billings, MT Tuesday, August 13, Feature Program #49
Qualifications: 1. Mark Kinser, Kinser 5M, 18.069; 2. Tim Shaffer, Roth 83, 18.243; 3. Joey Saldana, Saldana 17, 18.311; 4. Danny Lasoski, Stewart 20, 18.560; 5. Craig Dollansky, Karavan Racing 7, 18.622; 6. Brad Furr, Furr 2, 18.645; 7. Steve Kinser, Kinser 11, 18.668; 8. Daryn Pittman, Sher-Don Motorsports 21, 18.759; 9. Danny Wood, Parsons 6, 18.773; 10. Donny Schatz, Schatz 15, 18.956; 11. Randy Hannagan, TH Racing 1x, 19.152; 12. Jason Meyers, Carter 14, 19.203; 13. Stevie Smith, Helm 11H, 19.302; 14. Toni Lutar, Lutar 4x, 19.982; 15. Mike Dunham, Dunham 11D, 20.393; 16. Shane Spurlock, Spurlock 4, 20.729; 17. Richie Peterson, Peterson 23, 22.050; 18. Steve Nelson, Nelson 6N, 22.241; 19. Doug Strong, Strong 43, 22.348; 20. Willie Hernandez, Hernandez 1M, no time.
First Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Jason Meyers, 2. Danny Wood, 3. Danny Lasoski, 4. Daryn Pittman, 5. Craig Dollansky, 6. Mark Kinser, 7. Stevie Smith, 8. Mike Dunham, 9. Richie Peterson, 10. Doug Strong. (all 10 qualified for the "A" Feature)
Second Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Donny Schatz, 2. Steve Kinser, 3. Brad Furr, 4. Randy Hannagan, 5. Tim Shaffer, 6. Toni Lutar, 7. Joey Saldana, 8. Steve Nelson, 9. Shane Spurlock. DNS – Willie Hernandez. (all nine qualified for the "A" Feature)
First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Steve Kinser, 2. Joey Saldana, 3. Craig Dollansky, 4. Mark Kinser, 5. Danny Wood, 6. Stevie Smith, 7. Randy Hannagan, 8. Mike Dunham. (finish determined the inside starting positions in the first eight rows in the "A" Feature)
Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Tim Shaffer, 2. Brad Furr, 3. Danny Lasoski, 4. Daryn Pittman, 5. Jason Meyers, 6. Donny Schatz, 7. Toni Lutar, 8. Steve Nelson. (finish determined the outside starting positions in the first eight rows in the "A" Feature)
A Feature (30 laps): 1. Steve Kinser  ($10,000); 2. Joey Saldana  ($5,500); 3. Craig Dollansky  ($3,200); 4. Danny Lasoski  ($2,800); 5. Brad Furr  ($2,500); 6. Mark Kinser  ($2,300); 7. Daryn Pittman  ($2,200); 8. Tim Shaffer  ($2,100); 9. Donny Schatz  ($2,050); 10. Danny Wood  ($2,000); 11. Stevie Smith  ($1,500); 12. Randy Hannagan  ($1,200); 13. Jason Meyers  ($1,100); 14. Toni Lutar  ($1,050); 15. Richie Peterson  ($1,000); 16. Willie Hernandez  ($900); 17. Doug Strong  ($800); 18. Shane Spurlock  ($800); 19. Mike Dunham  ($800); 20. Steve Nelson  ($800).
Lap leader: Steve Kinser 1-30 WoO