Steve Kinser picked up his first main event victory of the 2013 season and 575th time of his World of Outlaw career.
By Dan Beaver
EL PASO, Texas April 16, 2013 Veteran experience dominated the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series debut on Tuesday night at El Paso Speedway Park as Steve Kinser charged to his first victory of the season in the series debut at the West Texas venue.
Tony Stewart Racing teammates Kinser and Donny Schatz owned the front row for the feature, and Kinser never looked back. Kinser, the only touring Outlaw with experience on the 3/8-mile oval, quickly charged to the lead and pulled away while a wild race for second took place behind him. Points-leader Daryn Pittman was able to hold off Craig Dollansky for his 11th top-five finish of the year.
Quick-timer David Gravel and Kraig Kinser rounded out the top five.
I was worried about everybody, said Kinser, relieved to finally be in the win column for the 575th time in his World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series career. The year hadnt been going that great. Its just good to get a win. Weve been struggling to get a win and the whole team needed it.
The general consensus among racers was that the track was solid and only getting better as the night progressed. Still, you have to cowboy up, said Gravel, and you have to hit very precise marks. That definitely benefitted Kinser, who has a knack for finding victory lane when the series debuts at a new venue.
To win, however, Kinser had to hold off a hard charge by Schatz who raced on Kinsers bumper for half of the feature. Just after the halfway mark, however, Schatz pushed high in turn two and gave up second to Pittman.
It was getting to be a pretty god race when Donny made that mistake down in one and two, Pittman said. The top four were pretty much all over each other.
From that point on, the battle shifted to second and third between Pittman and Craig Dollansky.
Hats off to my guys, we fought back, Pittman added. We thought we were having a motor goingit was just dying in the corner. This altitude were running at, its just not something weve done this year and it takes some getting used to ... This is the first time weve have a streak like this but we are really enjoying it. Were going to try to keep the top-five streak alive till November.
This was Pittmans eighth top-five in the past 12 races.
Dollansky finished third and Gravel held on for fourth.
You cant complain with top time and a new track recordand finishing in the top five. I just wish things had played our way a little different in the feature, Gravel said. I was just behind Daryn there, and I just didnt get a good start on the restarts. And the car was never quite the same after that. If things had played a little differently, I would have been on the podium, but all in all it was a good night.
Joey Saldana, Kerry Madsen, Schatz, Jason Sides, and Sammy Swindell finished sixth through 10th.
The biggest drama of the night was added by Cody Darrah, who took a huge tumble in turn two. I just got myself tight coming off four and then got crossed up going into one. It was my fault, but we have some strong cars and I dont have any lasting effects from the crash, Darrah said.
The real winners may well have been the fans, however. El Paso Speedway was packed. This is normally a Friday night track and weve never had this many people in the stands on a Friday, said track owner Royal Jones, who also raced and wound up finishing 14th. Just look at all the guys in the pits. They are excited.
El Paso Speedway Park Notebook
NOTES David Gravel set quick time in qualifying for the first time this season. ... Donny Schatz claimed his third heat race win, Tim Kaeding his series-leading seventh and Craig Dollansky his third of the season. ... The dash draw was a four for the first time this season. ... Steve Kinser won the dash for the second time in 2013. ... This was the first appearance in series history at El Paso Speedway Park.
TRACK RECORD David Gravel drew first blood and scored a track record at El Paso Speedway Park. While that is not impressive by itself since this was a brand new track and the fastest qualifier was guaranteed to record that mark, what was remarkable was the fact that Gravel was the last driver of 21 cars to take time and the track had already lost some of its grip when he circled it. He posted a time of 13.453 seconds.
WINNERS Daryn Pittman 3 (Perris Auto Speedway on April 13, Tucson International Raceway on March 9 and Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 15); Tim Kaeding 2 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 15 and The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 7); Donny Schatz 2 (Kings Speedway on April 12 and The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 6); Craig Dollansky 1 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 16); Shane Golobic 1 (Antioch Speedway on April 5); Kyle Larson 1 (Stockton 99 Dirt Track on March 22); Danny Lasoski 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 17); Paul McMahan 1 (Silver Dollar Speedway on March 23); Terry McCarl 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 16), Sammy Swindell 1 (Merced Speedway on March 29), and Steve Kinser 1 (El Paso Speedway Park on April 16).
TIME TRIALS Chad Kemenah was the fastest qualifier around the half-mile oval with a time of 14.232 seconds to earn five championship points. Also earning points were Joey Saldana (4 points), Daryn Pittman (3), Jason Meyers (2) and Cody Darrah (1).