BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Steve Kinser may want to reconsider his retirement plans on the way home to Indiana from the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series DIRTcar Nationals finale at Volusia Speedway Park.
Kinser delighted Sunday night’s huge crowd by notching his eighth career Volusia victory, topping Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz. And he did it by throwing a classic slider on Pittman that drew a collective gasp from the crowd, which later rewarded him with a huge victory lane ovation marking both his stunning win and the end of his Florida racing, some 35 years after his first Volusia event.
Polesitter Pittman, who had seemed destined to start second until leader Cody Darrah lost his engine on the last lap of the Dash, fell to fast-timer Paul McMahon on the initial start, but Bronson Manschen flipped in turn four and they had to do it over again.
That time Pittman outdragged McMahan, with Kinser diving low from row two and wrestling second from McMahan. Kinser then trailed Pittman until lap five, when Darrah stalled on the frontstretch to draw another yellow. This time Kinser used the outside line to blow around Pittman in turns one and two and lead the defending WoO champion and Schatz, who had disposed of McMahan, through a lap-23 yellow for Rico Abreu’s spin at the back pit gate.
Kinser chose the outside for the restart and Pittman got the drop on him, with Kinser then throwing the slide job on him as they hit turn one to retake the lead. Pittman didn’t fold his tent, however, and got back in front off turn four momentarily before Kinser again powered past. Pittman then bobbled in turn four on lap 29, losing his momentum and Kinser was home free.
Brad Sweet was fourth with Tim Kaeding, Kerry Madsen, Nationals point champion McMahan, Joey Saldana, Kraig Kinser and Denny Holtgraver rounding out the top 10.
“That felt good,” declared Kinser with classic understatement. “I had a race car that would run high and I used it. I wanted to win this one and sliding him was what I had to do to get it. I didn’t know on that restart whether I wanted the bottom or the top and Daryn was ready for me, but we managed to get back by him.”
“If we could go back and do it again, I’d change my line,” said Pittman, disappointed that he’d given up the lead two nights in a row. “It’ll be hard to sleep tonight, but it was a hell of a race and I can tell myself I got beat by ‘The King.’”
Schatz tipped that he was, “Just OK. We were the same speed as both of those guys, so we couldn’t do anything with them. We were fast around the top but so were they.”