The 2009 campaign started off for Kraig Kinser with a bang for him as he finished fourth on the opening night of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Media Relations
Concord, NC—After returning to full-time sprint car racing in 2008 after spending a couple of seasons racing stock cars, Kraig Kinser was back for the second consecutive season on the World of Outlaws trail. The 2009 campaign started off for him with a bang for him as he finished fourth on the opening night of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. He followed that up with a sixth-place run in the finale of the three-day event and carried that momentum to Las Vegas where he scored another Top-10.
The strong start to the season continued in the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in California where Kinser came home third and he wrapped up the first West Coast swing of the season with a fourth-place showing at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Arizona. A strong streak at the end of the spring solidified his spot among the Top-10 in the series standings, including another podium finish at I-96 Speedway in Michigan and a Top-Five at Lawrenceburg Speedway in his home state of Indiana.
Kinser wrapped up the season eighth in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 30 Top-10 finishes with 10 of those being Top-Five performances aboard the Bass Pro Shops Maxim for Tony Stewart Racing. For the third generation driver, it was the third time in his career that he has finished in the Top-10 in the finals standings.
“It was a decent year,” stated Kinser. “I wouldn’t say it was a great year by any means. We just have to work hard during the wintertime and try whatever we can to get going in the right direction for next year. We’ll see what the winter brings for next year and react and hopefully have a good package for next year.”
Kinser finished on the podium five times this past season as he looked to add to his nine career World of Outlaws A-Feature triumphs entering the season. Returning to tracks for the second and third times since returning to a sprint car in 2008, the 24-year old was able to get up to speed pretty quick on most nights and raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash 36 times, including a stretch of nine consecutive races at the end of May and into June which would earn him Top-10 starting spots in feature events.
“I felt comfortable when I got back in last year and it wasn’t that big of a transition because I have been racing my whole life,” noted Kinser. “I felt good in the car and we just have to do that little bit extra to get us ahead of the game.”
Kinser came close to winning a couple of times in 2009, including at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota, where he took the lead at the start of the main event from Donny Schatz who started on the pole. Kinser was leading when he suffered a flat tire that sent him to the work area and eventually relegated him to a 14th-place finish. Having competed in sprint cars since he was 16-years old, the third generation driver is able to shake off the bad luck and focus on the next race and the task at hand.
“You get used to it and the longer you do it, you become accustomed to that type of thing,” explained the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year of the bad luck that plagues ever driver over the course of the nearly 70-race season. “It’s obviously never easy to give a race away or have something happen while leading, that never bodes well, but you get used to it after a while. That doesn’t mean you like it or anything, you just get used to it.”
Kinser was one of 11 drivers that followed the entire World of Outlaws circuit this year and is used to having to be on his game each and every night to run up front and be in contention for wins. Visiting nearly 50 tracks over the course of the nine-plus month season, a driver’s versatility is tested each time they roll into the pit area.
“The competition is always there,” he said. “It’s the best in the world. You know it’s not going to be easy when you race the Outlaws deal. You have the same guys you have to beat and the same guys winning championships all the time. You definitely have to beat the best wherever we travel across the country. It never gets easier, it’s racing.”
Kinser visited a couple of tracks for the first time in his career this season as he continues to add to the list of speedways he has competed at, dating back to 2000, which was his first year behind the wheel of a sprint car. He competed a total of 72 times in 2009, including a three-race stint in Australia prior to the Florida DIRTcar Nationals which kicked off the season at Volusia Speedway Park last February.
“I enjoy going to tracks I have never seen before and I enjoy going to the tracks with all the history as well,” noted Kinser. “I love racing and wish we would be at every dirt track in the country, that’s how I feel. I love to race and wish we could do it every day of the week.”
After picking up Top-10 finishes in two of the last three events of the season, including on the opener of the third annual World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Kinser did not really want to see the season come to an end.
“I will get a little time to rest in the off-season, though we ended the year racing every other weekend and that’s about enough relaxation for me honestly,” he shared.
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off on February 5-7 with the 39th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, where Kinser finished fourth on the opening night of the 2009 season and was sixth in the finale of the three-day event.
By the Numbers Kraig Kinser 2009:
2- Canadian Provinces that Kinser competed in during the 2009 season
3- Countries that he raced in during 2009- United States, Canada & Australia
5- Penske Power Position Awards earned by Kinser this season for third-place finishes in feature events
8th- Position in the final driver standings that Kinser finished
10- Top-Five finishes for Kraig Kinser this past season
24- States that Kinser competed in during the 2009 season
30- Top-10 finishes for Kraig Kinser in 2009
36- Times that he raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash this past season
42- Tracks that Kinser competed at with the World of Outlaws in 2009
8075- Points earned by the third generation drive to finish eighth in points
102,075- Dollars earned by Kraig Kinser this past season