Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Kraig Kinser Sets Sights on the 52nd Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals
Kraig Kinser Racing
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The date August 15, 2005 will forever be etched in Kraig Kinser’s mind. That’s the day he won the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals for the first time. In the process of claiming sprint car racing’s biggest event, he joined his father Steve, as the pair became the first father/son duo to accomplish that feat. The younger Kinser’s victory that season came aboard the family-owned No. 11K, which he is piloting again this year.
“That’s definitely a race I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Kinser. “It was pretty unbelievable to win it and very special. We are rolling pretty good right now and it would be great to get a second one to go along with that first one.”
Kinser returns to Knoxville this week, and takes to the track in the Hendrickcars.com Maxim on Thursday, August 9, for the second of two qualifying nights as part of the 52nd Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals, which is sanctioned by the World of Outlaws. Each entrant will receive two laps of time trials, followed by heavily inverted heat races, which will set the lineups for the corresponding main events that night. Drivers will earn event points each time they take to the track on the preliminary nights, which will ultimately determine the starting grids for feature events on Saturday, August 11.
“You want to be as quick as you can every time you hit the track at Knoxville, during the Nationals,” he stated. “Getting quick time is important, as is passing cars in the heat races and any races you are in for that matter. If you finish good on your qualifying night that puts you in a good position in points for the rest of the week.”
Kinser made his debut with the World of Outlaws at Knoxville in 2001. He competed in the Knoxville Nationals for the first time in 2003, qualifying for the main event in that contest. After a 17th-place showing in the preliminary feature on his qualifying night, he was 21st in the main event, which was 30 laps at that time.
In 2004, Kinser finished 21st on the final night of the Knoxville Nationals, after opening the event with a 23rd-place performance on his qualifying night. In 2005, he finished ninth on his qualifying night. The third-generation driver would start on the pole for the main event, and would lead all 30 laps of, to score the win over now five-time Knoxville Nationals winner Donny Schatz.
Kinser finished 11th on his qualifying night in 2008 and just missed qualifying for the finale on Saturday night. In 2009, he finished second on his qualifying night and was sixth in the main event on Saturday. The 2010 season marked the 50th Anniversary of the Knoxville Nationals, with Kinser having trouble in his heat on a qualifying night, which put him behind the eight-ball for the rest of the event. He would miss qualifying for the 50-lap finale. Last season Kinser finished eighth on his qualifying night at Knoxville, and was 19th in the 50-lap finale.
“Having 50 laps kind of changes the complexion of the race,” explained Kinser. “It’s been around a few years now and we are getting used to it. You have a chance to make some changes on the car at that point and really have a good set-up for the final half of the race.”
Kinser has raced twice at Knoxville this season with the World of Outlaws, finishing 18th in April and 19th in June. In his career with the World of Outlaws at the Marion County Fairgrounds, the native of Bloomington, Ind., has made 26 main event starts, including preliminary features, winning twice, while picking up nine Top-10 and four Top-Five finishes.
“Hopefully we have all of our bad luck at Knoxville out of the way for the year,” he shared. “I know we have a car that is quick, and I know that I can get around the track there. The main thing is just putting all of that together, and having some luck go our way as well. Hopefully it will be a good week at Knoxville and we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Kinser enters the 52nd Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals sixth in the World of Outlaws championship standings, on the strength of four A-Feature wins, 33 Top-10 Finishes and 17 Top-Five performances.
Kraig Kinser By the Numbers: 52nd Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals
0.5- Miles around Knoxville Raceway
2- Career wins at the half-mile
4- Wins in 2012; Top-Five finishes with the World of Outlaws at Knoxville Raceway
6- Total nights of racing for the World of Outlaws this season at Knoxville
9- Top-10 finishes with the series at the track
13.7- Average finish in 26 career main event starts at Knoxville
14.407- Track record at Knoxville Raceway
17- Top-Five finishes this season
20- Feature events thus far in 2012 on half-mile tracks for the World of Outlaws
26-Career main event starts in World of Outlaws events at Knoxville, including preliminary features
33- Top-10 finishes this year
1961- Year of the first Knoxville Nationals
2001- First World of Outlaws start at Knoxville Raceway
2003- Year of first start in the Knoxville Nationals
2005- Win in the Knoxville Nationals to join his father Steve as a champion of the event
Kinser to Kick-It at Knoxville
Kinser will take part in the inaugural GoDaddy Knoxville Kick-It kickball game on Friday, August 10, to help raise money for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which helps in the fight against childhood cancer. Kinser will be a member of the “Bottom Feeders” team, who will take on the “Rim Riders.” The Kick-It kickball game will take place at Young’s Park in Knoxville, Iowa, beginning at 11 a.m. Central on Friday. For more information on the game or to make a donation, visit https://www.kick-it.org/events/godaddy-knoxville-kick-it-.
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