Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz scored a one-two finish Saturday when the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returned to New York for the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y. Kinser continued his mastery of the 5/8-mile dirt oval by racing the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim to victory in the 25-lap A-Feature, while Schatz extended his torrid late-season surge behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J by following Kinser across the finish line in the runner-up spot.
“It feels really good to be back up racing in the front,” said Kinser following his 12th victory in 35 career starts at Rolling Wheels. “We’ve been struggling for quite some time, but winning sure feels good. We had this car back at the shop and figured let’s give it try. I always like running at Rolling Wheels, so it all just kind of came together tonight. The longer we ran, the better this Bass Pro Shops car got. I can’t thank everyone who’s behind this team enough for sticking with us. My crew guys have continued to work really hard. It’s been tough, but we hung in there and got it done tonight.”
Everything came together Saturday night for the 20-time WoO champion and his Bass Pro Shops team despite the cool temperatures. Kinser qualified seventh in the field of 28 cars before finishing second in the opening heat race. He raced from fourth to second in the six-lap dash to earn a front-row starting spot for the 25-lap A-Feature. Polesitter Chad Kemenah paced the field early in the race while Kinser chased him into lapped traffic. One caution stoppage took the leaders out of traffic, but it was only a matter of time until Kemenah reached the back of the field again. Kinser took advantage when they returned to lapped traffic and took the lead coming out of turn two on lap 16. He would lead the final eight laps to score his fourth victory of 2012 and 574th WoO A-Feature victory of his illustrious career.
Schatz led the Outlaws to New York following his record-setting fifth Morgan Hughes National Open victory last weekend at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. That win was his ninth triumph in his last 27 starts, a surge that has allowed him to take command of the 2012 WoO championship chase. He didn’t slow down Saturday at Rolling Wheels, where he qualified third, finished third in heat three and charged from sixth to third in the dash. The four-time WoO champion battled Joey Saldana early in the A-Feature for fourth, and later dueled with Kerry Madsen for third. He was third by lap 15 and was able to get by Kemenah in traffic with four laps remaining to score his 13th second-place finish of 2012.
“I’d say that was a pretty good night for Tony Stewart Racing,” said Schatz, who holds a 167-point lead in the championship standings with four races remaining. “I’m happy for Steve and his guys. They needed that. We tried a few things tonight and our STP car was pretty good, but we didn’t have anything for Steve tonight. When you can’t win, finishing second is the next-best thing, so we’ll take it. There aren’t many races left in the season, so we have to keep after it and try to win whatever we can.”
The TSR teams will return to action Saturday at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., where they hope the third time will be the charm. April’s Spring Classic there was washed out, and the Federated Auto Parts Ironman 55 presented by Summit Distributing/Coors Light in August fell victim to rain just as the cars were lining up for the 55-lap feature. This weekend’s unique doubleheader will begin with the 55-lap Ironman race and then a complete program will be held at the exciting one-third-mile, high-banked dirt oval located just south of St. Louis. The two feature events at I-55 will be the last two A-Features before the series closes the campaign with the Peak Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway Nov. 2-3.