Mired in a slump since late July, Kinser braved the chilly and windy weather at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, where he capitalized in traffic to pass polesitter Chad Kemenah and pull away to his fourth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win of the season at the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI event.
It was Kinser’s 12th victory in 35 World of Outlaws events at the fast 5/8-mile and it snapped a 40-race winless streak in points events.
“We’ve been struggling up a storm,” Kinser said. “It just felt good to get out and win a race. We’ve been having some trouble. It’ll make it a lot better ride home, I can tell you that.”
Kinser’s last win was at Dodge City Raceway Park on June 22, when he was in the thick of the World of Outlaws championship race. Since then, Kinser has struggled to find consistency and he entered Saturday fifth in the title chase – 283 points out of the lead.
That mattered little on Saturday, when Kinser qualified seventh quickest and finished second in his heat race to advance to the dash. He then drove from fourth to second to start the 25-lap feature on the outside of Kemenah.
Kemenah rocketed to the lead at initial wave of the green flag and held a sizeable advantage prior to the first caution, when Bobby Breen spun to a stop in turn three on the fifth lap. Kemenah chose the outside lane on the double-file restart and again began to build on his lead before closing in on traffic on lap 11.
However, as Kemenah was about to lap his first car, Kraig Kinser stopped on the frontstretch while battling for a top 10 because a radius rod loosened. Once again, Kemenah chose the outside on the restart and it worked to his advantage.
But this time Steve Kinser stayed within striking distance and as Kemenah entered thick traffic on lap 17, Kinser took advantage. Kemenah slid up the track in turn two and Kinser stuck to the bottom, which provided enough grip to drive by Kemenah down the backstretch.
“I think the bottom down here in (turns) one and two was getting better,” Kemenah said. “When you’re leading sometimes maybe you’re just a sitting duck. It’s just hard to change your lane when you’re out front.”
Kinser distanced himself as World of Outlaws points leader and Tony Stewart Racing teammate Donny Schatz maneuvered around Kemenah for the runner-up position in the closing laps.
“Steve needed that,” Schatz said. “He hasn’t been running well lately, so to come and get a win is definitely a confidence builder for those guys. A 1-2 finish for TSR is great.”
Kerry Madsen finished fourth and David Gravel ended fifth. Joey Saldana was sixth, Craig Dollansky seventh and Sammy Swindell earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 21st to eighth. Paul McMahan, who claimed the only other World of Outlaws event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park this season, placed ninth and fast qualifier Daryn Pittman rounded out the top 10.