Kraig Kinser heads into the event at Tri-State Speedway a very solid seventh in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of six Top-10 finishes, with a season-best finish of third at Tri-State Speedway in Oklahoma on April 10.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations
Haubstadt, IN-April 23, 2010- While he has been living in North Carolina for the last few years, Indiana will always be home for Kraig Kinser. When the World of Outlaws visit the Hoosier State, those are events that are always circled on his calendar. He'll have one chance to race in his home state this season and that will be this weekend as the World of Outlaws make their annual stop at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana on Saturday, April 24.
Kinser raced at the track a number of times early in his career with a couple of different series before taking to the road full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2004. He finished third at the track in 2003, which to date is his best career run at the high-banked ¼-mile, which has seen members of his family compete at since the 1960's.
"I got to race there a lot when I was younger," said the third generation driver. "I always feel right at home when we get back to Indiana for some racing."
Kinser has made four starts at Tri-State Speedway with the World of Outlaws dating back to 2004. He finished 11th in that event and matched that last season as he looks to contend for his first win of 2010 this weekend as well as his first victory at Haubstadt aboard the Quaker State Maxim.
"I'm still trying to figure that out," said Kinser when asked what it takes to do well at Haubstadt. "I had some success there early in my career with the All Stars. We've kind of struggled there in the Outlaws shows, so hopefully we can get it figured out. We'll go back with some good notes and see where we sit on our tires this year and try to get a good set up there. Hopefully we'll unload pretty quick."
Kinser is back driving the familiar No. 11K this season for his father Steve's team, for whom he has won a number of races over the years, including the 2005 Knoxville Nationals and claiming the 2004 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. He has rookie crew chief Mike Kuemper turning the wrenches along with his sister Stevie. The team recently added another crew member for the stretch run of the season.
"It's pretty much a family team, from my future brother-in-law to my sister," Kraig noted. "We have an even younger kid Joe (McCarthy) who just started working on the car last week. We're definitely a young team and hopefully we can continue to learn and it makes us all into better racers down the road."
The younger Kinser spent the last two season's driving for Tony Stewart Racing, the team his father now drivers for. He won a couple of racing driving for the team in 2007 and was eighth in points last year. Driving for his father, Kraig has won seven times with the World of Outlaws, including a career-high six victories in 2005, a season that saw him finish a career-best fifth in points.
"I felt at ease the last couple of years, but definitely getting back in the family owned car where I have had a lot of success does take some of the pressure off," explained the 25-year old. "I'm able to be around my dad's house more and his race shop and the people I grew up around racing with. I get to see a lot of people I hadn't seen for quite a while and that's makes the whole atmosphere a lot more fun."
Even when he was driving cars that were not owned by his father, Kraig was still able to share ideas with Steve and get advice from the winningest driver in World of Outlaws and sprint car racing history. For Kraig, who is continually learning the sport, that is a priceless resource.
"I've always been able to bounce ideas off my dad no matter where I was at," he shared. "It's not any different than what it normally is. It's not as much that as just being happy where you're at and I was happy where I was the last couple years as well. I've been really fortunate in my young career to work with a lot of talented crew chiefs and talented people. I just wish I would have taken more advantage of it over the years. We just have to put our nose down and get our cars figured out."
Kraig is the third generation in the Kinser family to compete at Tri-State Speedway, with his father Steve, the 20-time series champion, who has 22 overall wins at the ¼-mile, with eight of those coming in World of Outlaws events, as well as his grandfather Bob, who raced at the track periodically from the late 60's all the way through 1992, winning three times on the high banks. Kraig is looking to add his name to the win list at the venerable track in Southwestern Indiana, as it is one track that he has yet to win at in his home state.
"Any win out here is a big win and those wins in Indiana are pretty close to my heart," he stated.
Kinser heads into the event at Tri-State Speedway a very solid seventh in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of six Top-10 finishes, with a season-best finish of third at Tri-State Speedway in Oklahoma on April 10. He has qualified among the Top-Five in six of the first 12 events this season and also has raced his way into the dash on four occasions.