Perris, Calif. — March 11, 2012 — Kraig Kinser was one of the fastest drivers night in and night out when the 2012 season opened last month in Florida, and he carried that speed to the West Coast, as the World of Outlaws began an eight-race swing at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Perris Auto Speedway in California. The third generation driver qualified second at Las Vegas and was also second in time trials at Perris. He finished 10th in the main event at Las Vegas on Thursday, March 8 and turned in a fourth-place run at Perris on Saturday, March 10.
“It’s been a pretty good start to the season for us,” said Kinser. “We wanted to come out and run up front and be a contender each night and we have been able to do that so far. We’ll just keep building on these good finishes and working hard.”
While the World of Outlaws were making their first appearance at Perris since 2007 on Saturday, Kinser was making his first start at the high-banked half-mile since 2004. The driver of the Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim turned in the second-fastest lap in time trials at the half-mile, while finishing fourth in the second heat race. He started second in the dash and wound up fifth, which put him on the inside of the third row for the 30-lap A-Feature.
Kinser fell back a couple of spots in the early going, before working his way back into the Top-Five on the eighth-lap. The 2005 winner of the Knoxville Nationals would run fifth for a number of laps, before getting by Kerry Madsen for fourth with nine laps to go. With his fourth-place finish, Kinser is now one of just three drivers that has finished in the Top-10 in four of the first five races of the season for the World of Outlaws.
“We always want to win, but a fourth-place finish is nothing to complain about against these guys,” said Kinser. “We lost a few spots in the dash, which kind of hurt us, but we learned a few things as well in the dash, which helped us in the feature. If we keep running up front, the wins will come.”
In the main event at Las Vegas last Thursday night, Kinser started eighth and quickly worked his way into the Top-Five by just the second lap. After falling back to seventh on the sixth-lap, he charged back into the Top-Five on the 11th circuit. The third generation driver battled fast qualifier Chad Kemenah for the fourth position for four laps, before taking the spot on the 15th go-around. Kinser next set his sights on Joey Saldana, and got around him for third on lap-22.
Kinser was part of a thrilling three-car battle for the top spot with leader and eventual winner Tim Kaeding and Jason Sides, as the laps wound down. Kraig took second from Sides on the 24th-lap and battled wheel-to-wheel with Kaeding for a couple of laps before the yellow flag flew. The right rear tire on Kinser’s car began to go down with five laps left and went flat with two laps remaining, as he was running among the Top-Five, forcing him to the work area. With a new right rear on the No. 11K, Kraig restarted at the tail of the lead lap and powered his way from 19th to 10th during the final two laps to finish 10th. The 30-lap contest had a total of nine yellow and red flags.
“We had a great car and one that was certainly capable of winning,” said Kinser. “Racing takes not only speed and a good car, but also some luck and we didn’t have luck on our side that night. I’ve been on both sides of the coin over the years. We were able to pick off a few more spots after we changed the tire and salvaged a Top-10, so we’ll take it and move on. There is always another race, and you can’t dwell on the nights you have bad luck too much.”
The native of Bloomington, Ind. opened the night at Las Vegas as the second-fastest driver in time trials, earning four bonus points in the World of Outlaws championship standings. He lined up fourth in the second eight-lap heat race and finished third to earn a spot in the dash. He started the dash fifth and wound up eighth, which put him on the outside of the fourth row to start the 30-lap main event.
Kinser, who is currently fifth in points, just seven markers out of the Top-Three and 36 out of the lead, returns to action this coming weekend with a pair of races at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. as the eight-race West Coast swing continues for the World of Outlaws during the month of March.
“I can’t wait to get to Tulare next weekend,” said Kinser. “I wish we were racing again tomorrow. Everything seems to be clicking right now. Mikey (Kuemper) is doing a great job with the car and we are just having a lot of fun right now.”