Tony Stewart Racing Concord World Finals preview
STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ World Finals Offers Tony Stewart Racing Tandem a Final Chance at WoO Title INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 1, 2010) -- The 2010 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season began in February with Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) ...
STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ
World Finals Offers Tony Stewart Racing Tandem a Final Chance at WoO Title
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 1, 2010) -- The 2010 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season began in February with Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser winning the first two races. This weekend, the TSR tandem will try to close the campaign in similar fashion at the Fourth Annual Lowes Foods World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by Bimbo Bakeries and Tom's Snacks at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
With 66 of 68 races in the books, Schatz and Kinser enter the event ranking second and third, respectively, in the championship standings. Schatz, who is seeking a fifth consecutive WoO title, trails leader Jason Meyers by 96 points with the two final races remaining while Kinser, a 20-time WoO champion, is 100 points out of first. Both TSR drivers know they'll need some help from Meyers if either is going to have a shot.
Schatz won the most recent WoO event at the 4/10-mile dirt oval in May. The Fargo, N.D., resident led 29 of 30 laps to win the Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track driving the TSR No. 15 Armor All/STP/ParkerStore J&J. The victory was his fourth career triumph and 11th consecutive top-six finish at the track. It was his first visit to victory lane at the track since the 2008 World Finals finale, when he led all 30 laps en route to capturing his third WoO title. Schatz is one of only two drivers to make all 24 WoO starts at the track and has earned 16 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.
Kinser, a Bloomington, Ind., native, returns to Charlotte hoping to duplicate his 2007 season-ending victory. He'll pilot the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider Maxim and will be looking to earn his 10th WoO victory of the year. "The King of the Outlaws" has made 23 starts at the track and finished inside the top-10 22 times. He has two wins at the state-of-the-art facility, his first coming in October 2000. Ironically, it was the night after Schatz scored his inaugural win at The Dirt Track. Kinser led from start to finish to earn a 2007 triumph, holding off a spirited challenge from Danny Lasoski.
The TSR drivers will open the World Finals festivities on Thursday night with two rounds of qualifications. Those results will set the lineups for Friday and Saturday night's complete programs. Each event will include heat races, a dash, and conclude with a 30-lap feature. Schatz has been exceptionally good during the qualifying rounds in the past two World Finals. In 2008, he timed in second and first and, last season, he topped the charts for both programs. Kinser had top-five qualifying efforts three times in the last two years, timing in third for the opening-night program in 2008, and fourth and second for last year's events.
Kinser and Schatz have not raced since the WoO competed on Oct. 16 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. Schatz led the first 21 laps of the 40-lap A-Feature before finishing fourth. It was his 36th top-five and 52nd top-10 finish of the season. Kinser was working his way forward in the race after starting 12th but was caught up in an accident midway through the race. He was able to rejoin the field and finished 10th. Kinser leads the series with 38 top-fives and 56 top-10s, which includes a fourth-place run at The Dirt Track in May.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
This week's World Finals marks the end of your first season with Tony Stewart Racing. How would assess the year?
"Honestly, winning the championship was what we were hoping to do. It's going to be tough to do that with where we are at. I really appreciate the chance Tony and everyone at TSR gave us. Running the Bass Pro Shops colors was really an honor this year. We had some really good nights. Winning right away down in Florida gave all of us a lot of confidence. The Kings Royal win was probably one of the better nights. We won the Kings Royal, and then I watched Tony win the 360 race. That was fun. I'm just a little disappointed we had a few bad nights that really cost us in the championship chase. My guys (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois and Travis LoGrande) did a great job all season long, and I know we'll come back even stronger next year. We'll start with that same goal of winning a title. Mathematically, we still have a shot at winning that 21st title this year. Hopefully, we can finish out this season with a couple of strong runs."
The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted a number of big events over the years, and each year the Word Finals continues to grow. What are your thoughts on ending the year in Charlotte?
"We always look forward to the World Finals. Charlotte is a great place for both the racers and the fans. The track is one of the nicest places we race at all year and they just keep getting more cars. I wasn't so sure about it having all of those cars there (Late Models and Sprint cars), but it has turned into a great show. Now, we're going to have the (Super DIRTcar Series Big Block) Modifieds, too. You always look forward to the first race and the last race of the year. You want to start and end the year strong, that's for sure. We started the year strong in Florida, so maybe we can end it that way, too, by winning the last race this year like we did in 2007."
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
In February you started your 14th season on the World of Outlaws tour by winning the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. Throughout the season, you've experienced good, bad and a lot in-between. Is the goal for the Armor All team this weekend at the World Finals to end the season the way you started it?
"It's important for us to go to Charlotte and have some fun. Winning races certainly makes that easier, but it's good to have a race at the end of the year where you can go and have a good time. You always kind of look forward to the end of the year, but I wish it would keep going this year. We've been running fairly well here, recently. I'd like to see more races. It's kind of sad to see it end but, as they say, all good things must end. We've worked our way back from being fourth in the standings to having a puncher's chance at the title. We're going to come out swinging and see what happens."
Earlier this year, you won the World of Outlaws stop at The Dirt Track. It was your fourth win at the track. Is it simply a place where you like to race, or do you have a really good handle on how to get around the high-banked track?
"I'd say it's probably a combination of both. Racing in Charlotte always seems to be a big motivating factor. You look across the street and see the big track where the NASCAR guys run. Then you look in the other direction and see the new dragstrip, where (John) Force and those guys go over 300 mph. When they opened it back in 2000, we had a pretty good handle on it. It's a really fast track. I've been fortunate to win some races there that I'll always remember. Winning the finale in 2008 to close out my first title with TSR was pretty special. I'd say our win this May was a big one for us. We hadn't won in a while and were able to win a really good race with Joey (Saldana). Hopefully, we'll be in a position to be right up there again this weekend and make some more good memories."
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