Podium Finishes Highlight Busy Week of Short-Tracking for TSR

Podium Finishes Highlight Busy Week of Short-Tracking for TSR

May 11, 2014

 Sprint Car Racing
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Haubstadt, IN (May 11, 2014) - The action was fast and furious last week for Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teammates Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz as the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series barnstormed its way through the Midwest with three races in four nights. Kinser led the way with a runner-up finish as well as sixth- and seventh-place runs. Schatz equaled the three top-10s at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway, Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway and Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana.
The Outlaws made their debut at Jacksonville Wednesday, and Schatz topped the qualifying board around the quarter-mile, dirt oval. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J paced the field of 40 cars before finishing second in both heat one and the dash. The five-time WoO champion avoided disaster on the start of the 40-lap A-Feature when his machine veered right and then back left. He was able to recover and continued in fourth place during the opening laps. After taking third five laps into the race, Schatz tracked leaders Christopher Bell and Daryn Pittman for the bulk of the race. While Bell and Pittman worked the high side, Schatz tried to make the bottom groove work.

Ultimately, the track surface began taking rubber midway through the race and it became a parade around the bottom. The top-three were nose-to-tail on several occasions but making a pass for position was not possible. Schatz held his third-place position and earned his eighth podium finish of 2014.

Kinser continued the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” with the only Illinois stop in 2014. Kinser qualified the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim 10th and started third in heat five. The 20-time WoO champion thrilled the standing-room-only crowd in the 10-lap heat. After clipping the infield tire and nearly flipping on lap two, Kinser stormed back through the field and earned a transfer spot with a final-lap pass of Paul McMahan. He started 13th in the A-Feature and drove his way forward to finish seventh.

Friday marked the Outlaws’ return to Wilmot Raceway for their third-ever appearance at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval. Kinser and Schatz qualified fifth and sixth, respectively, and both transferred into the 30-lap A-Feature. The TSR teammates shared row five on the starting grid for the main event. Passing was again difficult with a low line around the semi-banked oval being the preferred lane. Front-row starters Joey Saldana and David Gravel split time leading the race with Gravel coming out on top, while Kinser was able to advance to sixth and Schatz came home ninth.

The three-race tour concluded with the Outlaws’ 33rd stop in southwestern Indiana at Tri-State Speedway. Kinser, who won 10 races in 10 starts at the track back in 1978, was looking for his ninth career WoO A-Feature triumph at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval. His night got off to a fast start as he turned the fourth-best lap in qualifying. He finished fourth in the opening heat and then won the six-lap dash to secure the pole position for the 40-lap A-Feature. Kinser shared the front row with fellow Outlaw legend Sammy Swindell and the two brought the field to green. Swindell got the early jump and Kinser held the second spot. Disaster struck Swindell on lap 10 when he made contact with a lapped car and spun to a stop. Kinser had the inside line during the lap-10 restart but McMahan was able to grab the lead. Kinser kept pace throughout the rest of the race but couldn’t overtake McMahan for the top spot. Kinser would earn his fourth runner-up finish of the season.

The night didn’t go quite as smoothly for Schatz. The Fargo, N.D., racer was off to a promising start after turning the second-fastest lap in warm-ups, but a fuel-line problem handicapped his qualifying efforts. He was credited with the 26th-best lap in the field of 26 cars, but the STP team remedied the problem and Schatz charged from ninth to sixth in heat two to gain a spot in the 40-lap main event. Schatz was relentless in the A-Feature, passing cars lap after lap. He climbed all the way to sixth late in the race and was closing on Saldana for fifth when the race ended.
Following the results of last week, Schatz remains third in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings with 3,362 points. He trails leader Saldana by 21 markers and is eight points behind McMahan. He is one of three drivers with three victories on the campaign and his stats include 14 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s in 24 starts. Kinser holds seventh with 3,207 points and Saturday’s runner-up finish was his sixth top-five of the season.   
This week, the TSR teams make their first of three trips to Pennsylvania for three nights of racing beginning Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway. Two nights of action at historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg start the weekend, and action concludes Sunday at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y.