By Larry Boos
ROSSBURG, OH (May 4) – Time passes by quickly, yet some things just haven’t changed – so it seems. Such is the case with the World of Outlaw (WoO) Sprint Series as it heads into Eldora Speedway this weekend for the Outlaw Thunder by Goodyear doubleheader.
Founded in 1978 by the late Ted Johnson, the inaugural season focused upon a developing rivalry between two young upstart drivers – Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell. The Kinser/Swindell battles made headlines as the tenacious duo had one or another’s name upon the WoO championship title over the first 11 years, with Kinser taking home 9 titles and Swindell a pair.
Thirty-four years later, Kinser and Swindell remain as rivals and are in the heat of the WoO battle; not only winning, but also chasing the title. Between the two, they have combined to win seven of the thirteen completed WoO events thus far into 2011, for an amazing 54% win ratio. Kinser, after leading the early season cumulative points chase, currently sits in second place, 9 markers behind Joey Saldana, while Swindell ranks fourth, 66 points from the top.
Additionally, Kinser (56 years old) and Swindell (55 years old) head up the all-time WoO win list at Eldora, combining for 40% of the 133 races completed to date. Kinser has an amazing 35 triumphs over the 34 year span, with his most recent conquest being the 201 Kings Royal. Swindell, meanwhile, has 18 Eldora wins under his belt, with 2006 being his freshest win.
Those numbers always add a comfort zone for Kinser and Swindell when they enter the often intimidating high banks of Eldora Speedway.
Yet, they can never let their guard down, as the younger generation drivers become incensed to collect an Eldora win, which becomes even sweeter by knocking off the super duo of Kinser/Swindell.
Saldana, who has an axe to bear, is one of those. Sitting fourth atop the Eldora WoO win list with 8 wins, Saldana was in prime position to capture his first-ever WoO championship last season when a hard crash in Eldora’s September Four Crown Nationals race hospitalized the second generation driver overnight and forced an absence at the next scheduled WoO event and an eventual drop to fourth in the final rundown. This season he has accumulated a pair of victories going into the Eldora chase, as he seeks that elusive championship.
With two full events on tap at Eldora this weekend (Friday and Saturday), the WoO cumulative points chase could see a dramatic shake up. Joining the winged WoO Sprints on Friday will be the Stock Cars, while the Modifieds join the Saturday doubleheader.
Track officials have announced an open pit party on Saturday afternoon; where general admission ticket holders will be admitted into the pit are from 4:00-5:00 to get driver autographs and take pictures of their favorite drivers and cars.
Complete event information may be found on the track’s website www.eldoraspeedway.com; where advance event tickets may also be purchased.