The World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series made its annual trip to the Old West during the Fourth of July weekend and one of the original Outlaws, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Steve Kinser, left with more than prize money. After finishing 11th in Friday’s opener of the Boothill Showdown at Dodge City (Kan.) Raceway Park, Kinser was part of an opening ceremony presentation that included Kinser’s swearing in as an honorary Marshall of Dodge City. It was the latest special recognition Kinser has received during the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” The driver of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim wore his new badge with pride the rest of the evening, and then charged from 14th to fourth in Saturday’s 30-lap WoO A-Feature finale.
TSR’s Donny Schatz opened both races with solid qualifying runs aboard the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J, timing in third Friday and topping the qualifying field Saturday. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion finished sixth and 11th, respectively, in Friday and Saturday night’s A-Features and continues to lead the championship standings.
One of the biggest challenges the competitors face when competing at Dodge City is the weather. The temperatures remained in the low 90s both days, and strong winds took their toll on the racing surface. Track officials did their best to stay on top of the situation and provide the racers a competitive surface. After qualifying third in Friday’s field of 27 cars, Schatz transferred into the dash by finishing third in heat three. The track was reworked prior to the main event and passing was at a premium in the 30-lap A-Feature. Schatz started sixth and finished seventh while Kinser earned his first KSE Hard Charger Award after racing from 15th to 11th.
Daryn Pittman started on the pole after an opening-lap accident involving Sammy Swindell. Pittman would lead all 30 laps.
Similar conditions met the TSR teammates Saturday and Schatz again was strong in qualifying. He paced the 27-car field to earn his fifth fast qualifier award of 2014. Schatz raced from fourth to third in the opening heat and came home sixth in the dash. In the 30-lap A-Feature, he searched high and low for a groove to make smooth laps and eventually got in line with the rest of the field on the rubber-down surface during the final half of the race and finished 11th. Kinser started 14th and made a number of strong moves early to jump into the top-five. “The King of the Outlaws” was smooth during the final half of the race and finished fourth, picking up his second consecutive KSE Hard Charger Award.
Pittman made it two straight wins after using a restart midway through the race to get past early race leader Kerry Madsen.
Despite a pair of finishes outside the top-five, Schatz continues to control the top spot in the WoO championship standings. He holds a 73-point advantage over Pittman with 45 of the scheduled 92 races in 2014 complete. Schatz has eight wins, 29 top-fives and 39 top10s. Kinser has one victory in 2014 and ranks eighth with 5,806 markers, 596 behind Schatz.
This week kicks off Sprint car racing’s most lucrative month known as the “Month of Money” with Wednesday’s Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio. Schatz has won two of the last three Doty Classics and Kinser won the event in 1990 and 2009. The 31st annual Kings Royal weekend follows with a complete show Friday at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and Saturday’s 40-lap A-Feature that pays $50,000 to the winner. Kinser won the first Kings Royal in 1984 and won his seventh driving for TSR back in 2010. Schatz is a two-time winner of the Kings Royal (2007 and 2009). For the first time ever, both nights of the Kings Royal weekend will be streamed live on the internet through www.dirtvision.com.