Kraig Kinser Puts One On Dad
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Steve Kinser isn’t surprised very often.
A 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, the winningest driver in the series history and the current championship point leader, “The King” has seen it all and has done it all in a sprint car.
But on Friday he was admittedly surprised when his son, Kraig Kinser, drove around him with seven laps remaining to claim round one of The Duel at the Dakotas in front of a packed crowd at River Cities Speedway.
“I thought I had them covered the whole race,” Steve Kinser said. “He caught me by surprise.”
For Kraig, who is driving a car owned by his father, it doesn’t get much better than to pick up his second World of Outlaws victory in the last 10 days by passing his car owner and mentor.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said with a big smile. “It’s tough to pass any of these guys, especially when they’re looking a win down the barrel. That it’s my dad makes it even better.”
The veteran Kinser, who started third in the 40-lap feature, passed Kerry Madsen for second place on lap nine and cruised by Mark Dobmeier for the lead as the duo exited turn two on lap 13.
On a night when consistency was an issue with nearly every driver on the changing track, Kinser led the next 21 laps amid flashes of strength from Dobmeier, Madsen and Lucas Wolfe.
Once Kinser found the top spot, Dobmeier and Madsen battled closely for the runner-up spot for a couple of laps. Madsen squeezed by Dobmeier for second place as the duo crossed the finish line on lap 16, but the third red flag of the race appeared before another lap was completed as contact between the two sent Madsen flipping off the track in turn four and Dobmeier to the pits with a broken top wing.
“He’s a hard racer just like I am,” said Dobmeier, a hometown driver who set his first career quick time with the World of Outlaws at 10.516 seconds on Friday.
“We were both going for the same spot, nobody was going to lift. We got a little tangled up.”
Wolfe capitalized and was a close second to Kinser. As the preferred line began to shift toward the bottom near the middle of the feature, traffic began to play a role. When Wolfe would close to the rear bumper of Kinser, he’d be slowed by a lapped car and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Kraig Kinser began working his way toward the front in the second half of the race. He restarted eighth on the fourth-and-final caution of the race for a spin by Wade Nygaard on lap 18. However, Kinser worked his way into the top five by the halfway point. He then drove into third place with 16 laps remaining and powered around Wolfe for the runner-up spot with 12 laps to go.
“I just got a line that my car was working at really and lapped traffic helped me,” Kinser said. “I think dad was a little better than me in open track. I just got fortunate enough to catch him in lapped traffic and our car was just working through the middle a lot better than it was on the bottom.”
As the two Kinsers and Wolfe fought their way through traffic — at one point nearly being three wide for the race lead — Kraig Kinser found grip in the middle of the track. He maneuvered around his father as they exited turn four on lap 34 and pulled away in the final half-dozen laps.
“If I’ve got to get outrun, I’m much rather it be him than anybody else,” said Steve Kinser, who maintains the championship points lead. “On these short tracks he’s just been as tough as he can be.”
Craig Dollansky snagged third place with four laps remaining and Donny Schatz snuck by Wolfe fourth in the closing laps. Dobmeier, who restarted 14th after his crash on lap 16, drove back to sixth.
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