GRAND FORKS, N — D.— It’s often said getting that first victory of the season is the toughest and once a driver picks that one up, the wins come a little easier and much more frequently. That’s holding true for Kraig Kinser on the World of Outlaws circuit, as he scored his first win of the year last week and made another trip to Victory Lane on Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., to earn his second triumph of 2012 aboard the Hendrickcars.com Maxim.
"I was in the middle on one of those restarts, and it was really the only place to go. The car was rolling really good there and was nice and free."— Kraig Kinser
Kinser, who had been close to winning at River Cities Speedway a handful of times in the past, finishing among the Top-Five in each of his first four career starts at the high-banked three-tenths-mile bullring, including scoring a runner-up performance in 2001, came out on top on Friday night in a thrilling late-race duel with his father Steve, as he took the lead on lap-34 and would pace the final seven circuits to earn his second win in the last four races.
“This is a such a fun track to race at,” said the younger Kinser from Victory Lane. “I’m so happy to get a World of Outlaws win here. I’ve loved this track ever since I started coming up here with the Gumout Series. This is unbelievable, and I’m so happy. I would have never dreamed during that red flag that we would have charged up and gotten the win.”
Kinser lined up 10th for the 40-lap main event, which paid $10,000 to-win and methodically worked his way through the field, catching his dad, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, with seven laps to go, The victory for the native of Bloomington, Ind., from the 10th starting spot, marked the furthest back any winner has come from in a World of Outlaws main event this season.
“I was in the middle on one of those restarts, and it was really the only place to go,” explained Kinser. “The car was rolling really good there and was nice and free. I had a little help from lapped traffic or I probably wouldn’t have gotten around Lucas (Wolfe) or my dad.”
Kinser fell back to 11th on the opening lap, with the first red flag of the night flying on the second circuit. He was 10th on a lap-18 restart and quickly gained two positions, as he began his march to the front. Just two laps later, Kinser had moved into the Top-Five. He battled three-time series champion Sammy Swindell for the fourth position on the 21st circuit, taking that spot. Two laps later Kinser got around four-time series champion Donny Schatz for third. He traded the second spot with Lucas Wolfe a couple of times, before taking it on the 33rd go-around. The third-generation driver then moved around his dad and into the lead on lap-34.
“We were way too tight at the beginning of the race,” shared the 2005 winner of the Knoxville Nationals. “I couldn’t keep the car pinched down on the bottom. I just got going around the middle and it really came to me late in the race. We worked hard after the heat race and the dash and really found something that paid off late in the feature.”
Kinser opened the night as the fourth-fastest qualifier of the 37 drivers that were in attendance. He lined up third in the fourth 10-lap heat race and finished fifth in that contest to earn a spot in the dash. Kinser started the dash in fifth and finished 10th, which put him on the outside of the fifth row for the 40-lap main event.
Kinser, who is currently sixth in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 19 Top-10 finishes, is back in action tonight at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., as the series returns to the reconfigured three-eighths-mile for the first time since 2009.
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