By Lonnie Wheatley
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (November 13, 2010) – There’s a reason they call him “The King”.
And, Steve Kinser showed exactly why on Saturday night, prevailing over Jason Johnson in a classic, non-stop 30-lap duel atop the 5/16-mile Southern New Mexico Speedway clay oval for his first triumph in Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National action.
“That was a heck of a race right there!” a pleased Kinser exclaimed after the $6,000 victory to put the wraps on the much anticipated Lucas Oil ASCS National return to the Land of Enchantment.
Vying to knock off one of his early mentors, current series points leader Johnson paced a dozen circuits before Kinser slipped by in traffic on the 24th round en route to becoming the 99th different winner in the 601st feature event in ASCS National history.
After finishing third behind Jack Dover and Johnny Herrera in Friday’s preliminary feature to lock into Saturday’s main event, Kinser redrew the front row outside with four-time ASCS National champion Gary Wright racing into the redraw and landing on the pole position after pulling a “69” to kick off the night.
With the legendary duo of Wright and Kinser leading the way to the green flag in front of Johnson and Herrera with Dover and Wayne Johnson in the third row, it was “The Texan” gunning into the lead at the outset.
A winner of 126 career ASCS National features, Wright led his first two feature laps of the 2010 season before slipping off the edge of turn four on the third lap to open the door for Kinser, with Johnson dashing by for second as well.
Reaching traffic by the ninth circuit, Johnson worked the topside of one and two and the bottom of three and four, finally slicing underneath Kinser exiting turn four to take command on the 12th circuit.
“The Ragin’ Cajun” led the way aboard the JJR Don Ott-powered Haynes / Pope Transportation No. 41 Maxim over the ensuing circuits, opening up an advantage of several car-lengths as Jack Dover moved around Wright for third on the 17th lap and then began to put the pressure on Kinser for second with just ten laps to go.
Kinser began to surge forward though, and when Johnson slipped just a bit too high on the perilously thin turn two cushion, it was all Kinser needed to take advantage and race into the lead on the 24th lap.
“I finally got the wing back a little bit and got to working the middle,” Kinser explained. “He got a little loose off the top and I got by on the bottom.”
While Johnson tried to counter as the laps clicked off, Kinser slipped past a final pair of lapped cars on the white-flag lap to secure the triumph aboard the TSR Bass Pro Shops No. 11 Maxim.
Johnson settled for runner-up honors, while Dover claimed the show position aboard the Shaver-powered 3D Auto Transport No. 53 Eagle. Danny Lasoski climbed from eleventh to claim fourth, while Wright brought Scott Brown’s Lubbock Wrecker Service No. 9x across the stripe in fifth for his first top-five run since May 30 at the Jetmore Motorplex.
Trying to keep current Lucas Oil ASCS National points leader Johnson within reach in the series $60,000 title chase, 20-year-old Brady Bacon crossed the stripe sixth in front of fellow Oklahoma shoes Danny Wood and Wayne Johnson.
Leading Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Hirst of Loomis, CA, claimed ninth, with New Mexico native Herrera completing the top ten.
With all 30 laps run in non-stop fashion, 21 of the scheduled 23 feature starters took the checkered flag.
While the feature ran off without caution, that was not the case in the night’s earlier action with the red flag flying on several occasions.
The night’s first red flag flew on the second lap on the second heat race when Tony Stewart went for a wild ride off turn two. While Stewart was uninjured, his first weekend of Lucas Oil ASCS National competition was cut short with a mangled car.
Koty McGullam flipped later in the second heat, while Channin Tankersley flipped and junked a car after current ASCS Southwest points leader Rick Ziehl spun in turn four in the third heat race. The night’s final red flag flew at the start of the first “B” Main when Joshua Hodges went for a ride down the frontstretch. There were no injuries.
Tim Crawley, John Gaston, Ricky Logan, Lasoski, Mason Moore and Sammy Swindell won Saturday night’s heat races, with Kyle Larson, Shane Stewart and Darren Long topping the “B” Mains.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters
Southern New Mexico Speedway Saturday Results:
Locked in from Friday Night’s Preliminary Feature:
53-Jack Dover, 45x-Johnny Herrera, 11-Steve Kinser, 77x-Wayne Johnson.
Heat Races (Top 12 in Passing Points, including the 6 Heat Race winners, to “A” Main; Balance to 3 “B” Mains):
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 88-Tim Crawley, 2. 35-Shane Golobic, 3. 57w-Lucas Wolfe, 4. 3s-John Carney II, 5. 93-Dustin Morgan, 6. 55-Trey Starks, 7. 41j-Joshua Williams, 8. 20s-Kyle Sager.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 22j-John Gaston, 2. 57-Shane Stewart, 3. 9x-Gary Wright, 4. 3g-Darren Long, 5. 52-David Burns, 6. 44k-Koty McGullam, 7. 57x-Steve Stone, 8. 14-Tony Stewart.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 10a-Ricky Logan, 2. 6-Kyle Hirst, 3. 94-Danny Wood, 4. 95-Matt Covington, 5. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 6. 77-Colt Treharn, 7. 20z-Rick Ziehl, 8. 71-Channin Tankersley.
Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 33-Danny Lasoski, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 21-Brian Brown, 4. 19-Wes Wofford, 5. 11x-Chad Corken, 6. 11w-Tim West, 7. 145x-Derek Demartino, 8. 99x-Chuck Jackson.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 5h-Mason Moore, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 1p-Curtis Evans, 4. 2L-Logan Forler, 5. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. 62-Bill Mitchell, 7. 16-Chris Kaiser.
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell, 2. 79-Calvin Landis, 3. 75-Kyle Larson, 4. 50z-Zach Chappell, 5. 15-Bud Goodwin, 6. 41x-Jesse Baker, 7. 90-Lance Norick.
“B” Mains (Top 2 From Each Advance to “A” Main):
First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 75-Kyle Larson, 2. 3s-John Carney II, 3. 55-Trey Starks, 4. 35-Shane Golobic, 5. 19-Wes Wofford, 6. 20z-Rick Ziehl, 7. 41j-Joshua Williams, 8. 16-Chris Kaiser, 9. 95-Matt Covington, 10. 74x-Joshua Hodges. DNS: 11w-Tim West, 71-Channin Tankersley.
Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 2L-Logan Forler, 3. 79-Calvin Landis, 4. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 5. 11x-Chad Corken, 6. 62-Bill Mitchell, 7. 99x-Chuck Jackson, 8. 145x-Derek Demartino, 9. 93-Dustin Morgan. DNS: 44k-Koty McGullam, 14-Tony Stewart.
Third “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 3g-Darren Long, 2. 57w-Lucas Wolfe, 3. 1p-Curtis Evans, 4. 20s-Kyle Sager, 5. 50z-Zach Chappell, 6. 15-Bud Goodwin, 7. 41x-Jesse Baker, 8. 90-Lance Norick, 9. 52-David Burns, 10. 57x-Steve Stone. DNS: 77-Colt Treharn.
Southern New Mexico Speedway “A” Main:
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 11-Steve Kinser, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 53-Jack Dover, 4. 33-Danny Lasoski, 5. 9x-Gary Wright, 6. 99-Brady Bacon, 7. 94-Danny Wood, 8. 77x-Wayne Johnson, 9. 6-Kyle Hirst, 10. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 11. 10a-Ricky Logan, 12. 88-Tim Crawley, 13. 57-Shane Stewart, 14. 1-Sammy Swindell, 15. 75-Kyle Larson, 16. 3g-Darren Long, 17. 5h-Mason Moore, 18. 57w-Lucas Wolfe, 19. 3s-John Carney II, 20. 22j-John Gaston, 21. 2L-Logan Forler, 22. 21-Brian Brown, 23. 95-Matt Covington.
Lap Leaders: Gary Wright 1-2, Steve Kinser 3-11, Jason Johnson 12-23, Kinser 24-30.
Note: Matt Covington utilized his mid-season bonus full-point provisional to start the main event. Covington has one partial-point provisional remaining.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Points (Top 20): 1. Jason Johnson 3,249, 2. Brady Bacon 3,169, 3. Shane Stewart 3,097, 4. Jack Dover 3,007, 5. Tim Crawley 2,974, 6. Tony Bruce, Jr. 2,803, 7. Zach Chappell 2,779, 8. Kyle Hirst 2,716, 9. Danny Wood 2,702, 10. Ricky Logan 2,659, 11. Matt Covington 2,574, 12. Darren Long 2,409, 13. Dustin Morgan 2,352, 14. Channin Tankersley 2,306, 15. Gary Wright 1,980, 16. Brian Brown 1,543, 17. Justyn Cox 1,513, 18. Austen Wheatley 1,344, 19. Travis Rilat 1,152, 20. Johnny Herrera 1,125.
ASCS Southwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Rick Ziehl 1,847, 2. Calvin Landis 1,775, 3. John Gaston 1,699, 4. Joshua Hodges 1,600, 5. Joshua Williams 1,549, 6. Steve Stone 1,512, 7. Koty McGullam 1,410, 8. Lance Norick 1,184, 9. J.T. Imperial 1,071, 10. Johnny Herrera 1,008.