Outlaw Sprints - Tony Stewart Racing Duo Set To Kick Off Outlaws Month Of Money In Royal Style
INDIANAPOLIS, Jul. 10, 2012: Performing in the clutch is a common characteristic of most champions. Despite the fact that this year’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion won’t be decided until the first week of November, the outcomes of the next 16 races may go a long way toward establishing a frontrunner. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz are locked in a battle on top of the WoO standings, and both have had tremendous success in the past during Sprint car racing’s “Month of Money.” This year’s edition kicks off with the Brad Doty Classic Wednesday and ends with the 29th annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway Saturday night.
The 2012 WoO season has been more competitive than ever with numerous winners of multiple events and changes at the top of the standings being a regular occurrence. Kinser leads the tour back into action Wednesday at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio, at the 24th annual Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic presented by Racing Optics. Kinser is one of only three drivers to win the Brad Doty Classic more than once, and he hopes to pilot the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim to his third Classic triumph and fifth career victory at Limaland.Schatz is the reigning Brad Doty Classic winner after winning a thrilling battle last July on the quarter-mile dirt oval. The four-time WoO champion is looking to become the first driver in the race’s 23-year history to win consecutive races. He’ll look to make it two straight in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. Last year’s triumph also catapulted Schatz into the championship lead and, since he is only eight points behind Kinser, there is a chance he could leave Lima again on top of the standings.
The weekend includes two nights of action at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. The annual Knight Before the Kings Royal program opens the festivities Friday, and Saturday’s 40-lap thriller will pay the winner $50,000. The winner’s share is five times the standard first prize money, but the title of being a Kings Royal champion is something every Sprint car racer covets.
Kinser, who won the first Kings Royal in 1984, is the only driver to compete in all 28 previous Kings Royals and leads the list of winners with seven $50,000 Royal victories. He has made 151 WoO starts at Eldora during his illustrious career, won 41 times and earned an amazing 126 top-10s. His most recent victory at Eldora was also his last Kings Royal win. In 2010, Kinser used a late-race restart during a second green-white-checkered finish to pass Kerry Madsen to take the popular victory. Earlier this year, “the King of the Outlaws” finished third and eighth on the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval.
Through 36 of 73 scheduled WoO races this season, Kinser has amassed 4,898 points, three victories, a series-high 17 top-fives and 26 top-10s. Schatz has tallied 4,890 points, three victories, 13 top-fives, and a series-best 29 top-10s.
Wednesday at Limaland Raceway Park, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. EDT, with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details and ticket information, call (419) 998-3199, or visit www.limaland.com.
On Friday at Eldora Speedway, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 3 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For Saturday’s Kings Royal program, the pit gates will open at noon EDT, with the grandstands opening at 2 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details are available by calling Eldora Speedway at (937) 338-3815, or by visiting www.eldoraspeedway.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:
This week, you have the Brad Doty Classic. How special is it for you to compete in the race being a previous winner?
“Any time you can win a race that’s named for a friend, it’s special. Brad was my teammate and friend and still is today. They do a great job putting on a race, and the last few years have been really great races. We won it a couple of years ago and have been in the mix just about every year. Lima has always been a place where we’ve done well. I first went there back in 1978 and was able to win races, and we’re still competitive there now. It’s really a fun event to be part of.”
You are the only driver to compete in every Kings Royal. That has to be an accomplishment you are proud of, right?
“It really is. When Earl Baltes came up with the idea, I remember everyone being pretty excited about it. To think that was 29 years ago is unbelievable. It was the first race to pay that kind of money for one night. Winning at Eldora is always special but, when you won that race, it really was something more than just a win. I know we’ve got photos of my kids when they were babies and I had the crown on. They’re all grown up, now, and we’re still chasing the crown. I hope we can keep our streak going and maybe get another one this weekend.”
The Kings Royal is 10 laps longer than most races. Does that change your plan of attack?
“As a driver, you know that a lot can change late in the race, so you do kind of pace yourself. The crew tries to give you the best car late in the race, but sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes you have a great car to start the race and have to get it as much as you can early in the race. It’s a strategy race and being there at the end is the only chance you have to win.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
Last year you were able to add the Brad Doty Classic to your list of race wins. What do you remember from last year’s victory?
“I remember it being a really good race. Brad Sweet was out front and Sam Haferetpe was having a pretty good race. Lima is one of those places where you have to be able to run all over the track. I got the bottom groove going and worked my way up to Sweet. I knew if I kept making good laps on the bottom that I’d have a chance. I finally got him late in the race and he kept coming at me. It was a lot fun. I hadn’t been very good in Brad’s race through the years, but the STP guys gave me a really good car and we got the job done.”
The Kings Royal kicks off the “Month of Money” for Sprint car racers. How important is it for a team to have success in the big money races?
“You race to win every night. When the big races roll around, you want to have a chance to win. It’s a long season and these races only come up once a year. If you can win one, it really gives you a boost for the next one. It builds up from the Kings Royal through the (Knoxville) Nationals. When you are having a season like we are, it would be a major deal for us to win a couple of races during this next month. We’re going to see if we can get things started on the right foot this week.”