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Keeping Pace

A Familiar Place: Kraig Kinser Heads to DIRTcar Nationals aboard Family Owned Machine

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Ironically, Kraig Kinser will be driving for his father's team, while Steve will be driving for Tony Stewart Racing, the team that Kraig was a part of for the last two seasons.

Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Barberville, FL-January 30, 2010-Kraig Kinser first drove a sprint car for his father Steve back in 2000 when he made his debut in the machines that made his family famous. He won his first sprint car race driving for his dad in 2002. He took to the road full-time with the World of Outlaws for the first time in 2004 aboard the family owned machine and claimed the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award and then won sprint car racing's biggest event, the Knoxville Nationals for the team the following year.

This season the third generation driver will be back behind the wheel for Steve Kinser Racing in the No. 11K on the World of Outlaws tour, beginning with the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park, February 5-7. He will have rookie crew chief Mike Kuemper along with his sister Stevie helping turn the wrenches.

Kinser competed in the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park for the first time in 2001 and returned to the half-mile in 2004, winning for the first time at the track in an All Star Circuit of Champions event with his father finishing second in that race. He finished fourth and sixth in two of the three World of Outlaws events at the half-mile during last year's DIRTcar Nationals.

"I'm definitely excited for the season to start," said the younger Kinser. "It's been a long winter break and I'm ready to get back racing in Florida. To get back in the family owned car is going to be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to this, more than a lot of years in the past. It should be a fun season."

Kinser, who has won seven World of Outlaws A-Feature events aboard the No. 11K, does not see any pressure driving for his father, who is the winningest driver in World of Outlaws history, but rather feels right at home surrounded by the people that he has been around for most of his life at the shop and at the race track.

"I always like to please my dad," stated the third generation driver. "You always want to make your dad proud. He is a wonderful car owner and always has been and a wonderful dad and parent and always has been. I'm his son when I race against him and he always looks at me that way, rather than just someone driving his car and I look at it that way as well, that I am his son. So, no, there isn't any extra pressure."

Ironically, Kraig will be driving for his father's team, while Steve will be driving for Tony Stewart Racing, the team that Kraig was a part of for the last two seasons. Steve is excited to have Kraig driving for him and is looking forward to spending time with him at the track and on the road in 2010.

"We made a little bit of a swap on race cars," explained the elder Kinser. "It's something that Tony Stewart Racing and Steve Kinser Racing decided on. Kraig will drive my car and I'll drive the car that Kraig drove for Tony (Stewart) last year. We're trying to make it a win-win situation for Kraig, for myself and for Tony. I think we have a pretty good combination."

Kraig finished fifth and seventh in points in the two prior seasons that he competed full-time for Steve Kinser Racing on the World of Outlaws trail in 2004 ad 2005. After coming close to winning a couple of times last year, he looks to become just the 23rd driver in World of Outlaws history to record double digit wins with the series, as he begins 2010 with nine career A-Feature victories on the tour. Above all, the 25-year old is looking forward to being around his family and enjoying the sport he loves.

"It's already going to be a fun year I have a feeling, with it being a family owned deal," said Kraig. "I always travel close to my dad, but being back with him and having him around the car will be a lot of fun."

Steve echoes that sentiment as he will have the chance to work closely with two of his three kids in 2010 on the World of Outlaws circuit. With his Dana traveling the circuit and operating the Steve Kinser Racing merchandise trailer, and having numerous family members and relatives involved in the sport over the years, the Hall of Famer wouldn't want it any other way.

"I enjoy having Kraig around no matter where I am at, whether it's at the race track or anywhere," said Steve. "He's a special part of the family as all of my kids are. Kraig and Stevie both have done a lot for Steve Kinser Racing and are a big part of it now. My youngest boy (Kurt) has not followed in the racing part of it and it looks like he's smart enough to stay out of it, but we do enjoy having all three of our kids around."

A full week of Sprint Car racing during the DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH kicks off on Feb. 2 with a test session, followed by two nights under the All Star Circuit Champions banner (Feb. 3-4) before the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series takes center stage Friday through Sunday (Feb. 5-7).

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.