By Bill Klingbeil
INDIANAPOLIS (May 15, 2012) – Now, this is more like it. One week after the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series raced on three consecutive nights, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz, along with the rest of the traveling Winged Sprint car stars, will hit the track three more times this week. A slate that includes a pair of stops in New York, beginning with Wednesday’s race at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y., and concludes with their only 2012 appearance in Maryland. Saturday the Outlaws return to Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., for the first time since the fall of 2008 and, the following night, the series makes its first stop at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway since the summer of 2005.
Kinser can’t get to the next race fast enough after Saturday night’s performance in the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim. The 20-time WoO champion picked up his first victory of 2012 at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and followed that up with a triumph in the special 10-car match race, tabbed the Morgan Cup. He’ll look to continue the streak Wednesday at Rolling Wheels, where he is an 11-time winner.
Another shot at Rolling Wheels Raceway may be just the medicine Schatz needs following a disappointing weekend at Williams Grove. He is a two-time winner at the 5/8-mile dirt track, with wins in 2004 and 2006, and has earned top-five finishes in five of his last six starts there. Schatz is seeking his fourth victory of the season behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. The four-time WoO champion will look to breakthrough for his first win at both Orange County Fair Speedway and Hagerstown Speedway. The four-time WoO champion has been close to victory at each track. In June 1999, and again in September 2007, he finished second at Orange County. Schatz last competed at the 5/8-mile dirt oval in September 2008 and finished fifth. His best finish at Hagerstown was also a runner-up finish, which he earned in July 2001, and his most recent race at the half-mile clay oval was during the 2005 season.
Kinser was victorious at both Orange County and Hagerstown early in his career. The Bloomington, Ind., native won the Outlaws’ first race in Middletown in June 1983, and added triumphs in 1985, 1987, 1992 and 1993. He has finished fourth his previous two races at the facility. Like many tracks that have been on the WoO schedule for years, Kinser has both A-Feature and preliminary main wins at Hagerstown. He was first victorious in 1980, and earned both A-Feature and prelim wins in 1990, 1991, and 1994. Kinser last circled the Hagerstown half-mile in August 2006, when the National Sprint Tour competed there.
Kinser’s victory Saturday at Williams Grove was the 571st WoO A-Feature win of his illustrious career. It allowed him to close the gap on points leaders Sammy Swindell and Schatz, who had swapped the top spot in the standings following six consecutive races before struggling Saturday. “The King of the Outlaws” made up valuable points, erasing a 54-point advantage Swindell had over him entering the race. Kinser now ranks second, trailing Swindell by eight markers, and he leads Schatz by four.
Wednesday at Rolling Wheels, the grandstands open at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information on the event, call the World of Outlaws at (877) 395-8606, or visit www.RollingWheelsRaceway.com.
Saturday at Orange County, racing is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. For more details and ticket information, visit www.OrangeCountyFairSpeedway.net.
For the weekend finale on Sunday at Hagerstown, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. For more details and ticket information, call SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023 or visit the track’s website at www.HagerstownSpeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this week’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim:
There is nothing like winning races. Coming out victorious last Saturday night at Williams Grove had to be a big boost. Can you explain your emotions following the victory?
“Winning races does a lot of things. You get your confidence better. Your attitude is better when you get to the track and go through the gate. Confidence, or the lack thereof, can really mess things up for you. Even though I’ve won a lot of races, when you go through dry spells like that, you start questioning yourself and a lot of things. I know what we’ve got here. This is a team very capable of winning a lot of races. If we can get our cars like we had them the other night, I think we can be good the rest of the season.”
All three tracks on the schedule this week are of the larger variety. Do you have a preference in terms of competing on the bigger or smaller tracks?
“I’m excited about going to Rolling Wheels, Orange County and Hagerstown this week. We’ve lost a lot of the bigger tracks over the last eight to 10 years and it’s going to be nice getting back to both of them. If I had to choose, I’d say that I like the bigger tracks just a little better. They are still a lot of fun to make the speed and get the cars working the way they do on the big tracks.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
Last weekend, you found yourself deep in the field and not really able to drive forward like you have been able to in the past. How tough is that as a competitor?
“It’s really tough. This sport isn’t about follow-the-leader racing. A couple of the guys were able to get their cars working well enough to drive forward last weekend, so it can be done. We did it the weekend before at Eldora, but we can’t consistently do it, nor do we want to be doing it all the time. We seem to be at the mercy of how we qualify, and that hasn’t been good for most of the year. That’s probably the most frustrating part. We’ve tried just about everything to get our package working the way it needs to. Until we figure that out, we’re simply going to be spinning our wheels. This team won’t quit and we’ll figure it out.”
Does having three races this week give you and your team more opportunities to find the right combination?
“You have to race to get better. Sometimes you can overthink things when you have five days between races. We tried to learn some things this weekend and the STP guys have spent the past couple of days preparing for Rolling Wheels. The positive thing is that we have had success there in the past. At least, we have an idea of what to expect there. We have to take it one step at time. Make a good qualifying lap on Wednesday and start making progress. And then try to build on it at Orange County and Hagerstown.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, CT, is primarily comprised of the Armor All® and STP® brands. Armor All’s® current product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and washes is designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. STP’s® offering of oil and fuel additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products has a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and ‘‘Do-it-Yourselfers’’. The company has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
About Bass Pro Shops Group
Bass Pro Shops – 56 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 109 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.
Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide.
Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. Visit www.bigcedar.com for more information.