Kraig Kinser Conquers Orange County
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Kraig Kinser stole the show at Orange County Fair Speedway en route to his first World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series feature win of the season.
Kinser started alongside Chad Kemenah on the front row with both drivers seeking a breakthrough victory. Kinser jumped ahead on the outside and powered to the lead while Kemenah was forced to hold off third-place finishing Tony Stewart along with Paul McMahan and Donny Schatz.
The victory gives Kinser, the son of legendary King of the Outlaws Steve Kinser, four top-five runs and 10 top-10 finishes this season. It also was the first time he’s won at Orange County Fair Speedway.
“Hopefully we got out of the slump we’ve been having,” said Kinser. “I started getting loose around the top and just started searching. I saw some lapped cars on the bottom when I got into traffic down there. I made a couple of turns through there and I knew that’s probably where I had to be, try to make them pass me around the top. It would be harder than leaving the bottom wide open.”
Kinser weaved through traffic in the Casey’s General Story/Messilla Valley Transportation Maxim as the event ran its full 25 laps caution free. While Kinser maintained his solid lead up front, there was a heated battle for the second through sixth positions. Kemenah started on the pole in his Hampshire Engines Maxim and finished second, but he first had to fight off Donny Schatz and his STP/Armor All J&J then later Schatz’s boss, Tony Stewart and his Chevrolet Performance/Mobil 1 J&J. Kemenah was able to maintain his track position in the lead pack of cars as points leader Daryn Pittman charged to a sixth-place run, finishing just 2.075 seconds behind Kemenah. Pittman’s sixth-place finish netted him his 21st top-10 finish of the year in the Kasey Kahne Racing Great Clips GF1.
“The season we’ve had so far with the wrecking and whatever else we’ve been doing, we’re happy,” said runner-up Kemenah, from Elvada, Ohio. “You know we’ve just got to keep running in the top five and we’ll starting winning. I killed the right rear tire so bad I was having a hard time hanging on there in the last few laps.”
Leading qualifier, Stewart, made a very hard run at Kemenah exiting turn four in the waning laps, but Stewart came up short and finished in the third spot. McMahan finished fourth after starting fifth. Mid-race he battled with Schatz and Stewart and attempted to work his way up to a podium finish. Towards the end, McMahan got around Schatz to earn a hard fought fourth-place finish. Schatz crossed the line in fifth, less than a second-and-a-half behind Kemanah.
“Nobody in the top four could run the top except for Donny, then it got to where it finally cleaned off enough on the bottom to where it got a little more grip,” said Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. “That’s kind of the advantage of being behind two guys one on top and bottom, you can gauge which line is getting quicker.”