July 1, 2013 - Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser earned three top-10 finishes in World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series action over the weekend while his teammate Donny Schatz picked up a pair of top-fives as the duo raced its way through Illinois and Wisconsin. A second-place finish Friday night at LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway highlighted the weekend for Schatz, who also charged from 13th to fourth Saturday at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway while Kinser saved his best for Sunday when he stormed from 14th to third at Cedar Lake Speedway in Somerset, Wis.
The TSR tandem returned to LaSalle Speedway for the first time since 2010 Friday, and Schatz was fast from hot laps on in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J. He paced the field in hot laps and was one of two cars under the previous track record in qualifying. The five-time and reigning WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion finished third in heat two and fifth in the six-lap dash. While most of the competitors were using the high line during the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz was able to use both the top and bottom grooves. He worked his way up to second by lap 15 and pressured leader Tim Kaeding throughout the remaining laps. Schatz got beside Kaeding several times, but wasn’t able to get close enough to make a bid for the lead as the two sliced their way through traffic, and he followed Kaeding to the finish.
Kinser, a two-time winner at LaSalle, qualified 10th and won heat two behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. The 20-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion got crossed up in the dash and fell from fourth to ninth and ultimately finished 10th. Kinser had a good start to the A-Feature, working his way up to sixth, but that was his high-water mark. Traffic would become a problem later in the race and he finished 10th.
The Outlaws’ stop at Beaver Dam Saturday was their 20th appearance at the Central Wisconsin facility. Both drivers went late in the qualifying order, but each was able to crack the top-10. Schatz ended up ninth and started the opening heat on the outside of row one. Contact with polesitter David Gravel before the start of the race damaged the front axle on the STP No. 15, and Schatz had his hands full during the 10-lap heat. He would finish third, which was one spot out of transferring to the dash. In the 40-lap A-Feature, he started 13th and was on a charge again, finding a line that most of the other drivers were not using. The Fargo, N.D., racer drove his to way to fourth to earn his series-leading sixth KSE Hard Charger Award. Kinser timed in seventh and finished third in heat three. He started 12th in the A-Feature and finished 10th.
Craig Dollansky led 26 of the 40 laps en route to winning the main event.
The weekend concluded Sunday night with the Outlaws’ annual stop at Cedar Lake Speedway, a 3/8-mile dirt oval where each TSR driver has had success. For the second consecutive night, both drivers drew late numbers in the qualifying draw. Schatz ended up qualifying 11th and led the early portion of heat two before finishing second to Sammy Swindell. He raced from ninth to fifth in the dash and was on the move again in the 35-lap A-Feature. Schatz climbed up to second and pressured leader Joey Saldana by the race’s midpoint. Just as he was making his bid for the lead, a trio of lapped cars was involved in an accident right in front of the leaders. When Schatz stopped for the red flag, he was contacted by another car. WoO officials claimed he was part of the accident and was forced to the rear after his STP crew made repairs. Schatz rejoined the field in 18th with 11 laps remaining and resumed his charge back to the front. During the next three laps, he moved back up to 13th before he clipped the inside berm and flipped. His crew would again make repairs, and he finished 18th.
Kinser qualified 15th and transferred into the A-Feature by finishing fifth in heat three. The Bloomington, Ind., native was on a charge from the drop of the green flag. He was quickly into the top-10 and reached the top-five by lap 15. He took advantage of a pair of restarts to grab third and actually made a move around Swindell for second on a lap-27 restart, but the pass was negated when the caution flag flew before a lap could be completed. Swindell used the line Kinser showed him to take the lead from Saldana on the ensuing restart, and Kinser would follow the two to the finish to earn his second podium finish in the last five races and his sixth KSE Hard Charger Award of the campaign.
Sunday’s finished knocked Schatz back to third in WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 5,213 points and trails leader Daryn Pittman by 141 points and is 11 behind Paul McMahan for second. Schatz continues to lead the series with seven A-Feature wins in 2013. Kinser, who has earned five consecutive top-10s, ranks ninth in the standings with 4,759 points.
The WoO STP Sprint Car Series will open July with three races this week. Wednesday, the series returns to Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D., before heading to Dodge City (Kan.) Raceway Park for the two-night Boothill Showdown Friday and Saturday.
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