INDIANAPOLIS (March 29, 2012) – Versatility is a necessity if a team is to be successful racing with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series. One of the great challenges with dirt-track racing is that no two nights are the same. With so many variables being squeezed into the nightly equation, every race can feel like a final exam for the driver and crew.
The Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teams will look to score high marks in the latest challenge Friday and Saturday when TSR’s Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz tackle one of the smallest tracks on the tour, Merced (Calif.) Speedway, and the following night attempt to concur one of the biggest, Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway.
Schatz is the Outlaws’ most recent winner, driving the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevy J&J to victory last Friday in the Mini Gold Cup opener at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. The four-time WoO champion led from start to finish in the 35-lap A-Feature to increase his lead in the 2012 WoO championship standings. Rain Saturday forced WoO officials to cancel the second race of the weekend for the second consecutive weekend.
Kinser finished fifth in the main event at Silver Dollar aboard the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D.Byrider/Chevy Maxim and continues to climb in the standings, moving from seventh to sixth after seven of the scheduled 78 WoO races. The 20-time WoO champion has plenty of experience making his way through the ranks during his 33-year Outlaw career. “The King of Outlaws” also has plenty of experience in switching from small tracks to big tracks on consecutive nights.
Friday, Kinser and Schatz return to Merced Speedway in central California. Last April, Schatz started eighth and finished fifth on the tight, quarter-mile dirt oval while Kinser raced from 14th to finish 10th. The track has been reshaped and resized since then, and now measures closer to a one-third-mile track.
The trip into the fertile grounds of Napa Valley Saturday offers Kinser the chance to return to a half-mile for the first time since early March, when he came home third in Las Vegas at The Dirt Track. The Bloomington, Ind., native has scored five of 51 career A-Feature triumphs in California at the picturesque Calistoga Speedway. His first WoO A-Feature triumph at Calistoga came in August 1987 and, from 1991 to 1995, he reeled off four Harvest Classic wins. His most recent victory was a preliminary feature win to open the 2005 Harvest Classic.
The 2005 Harvest Classic finale, ironically, was a duel between Kinser and Schatz. Schatz would make a late pass of Kinser for the lead and go on to capture one of his four career wins at the track. Last spring, Schatz twice charged through the field en route to a seventh-place finish. The Fargo, N.D., racer started 17th and had reached sixth by lap 15, but a fire ignited on his STP machine when a broken nozzle line began spraying fuel out the right side of his Chevy powerplant. After he stopped on track, his crew extinguished the fire, replaced the nozzle and he returned to the track in 16th position. He would charge back up to seventh in the final 10 circuits.
For Friday’s event at Merced Speedway, the pit gates will open at 1 p.m. PDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more details, contact the speedway office at (209) 383-7799, or visit the track’s official Web site at www.racemerced.com.
Saturday at Calistoga Speedway, the pit gates will open at 1 p.m. PDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. For more details, visit CalistogaSpeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.