INDIANAPOLIS – Surviving a season on the road with the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series may rival competing in an IronMan event. The drivers of the 1300 lb. 900+ horsepower machines aren’t required to bike, swim and run to reach the finish line, but they may feel like after competing 92 nights at dirt tracks of varying sizes all across the United States and five times in Canada. Two of those nights are part of this weekend’s Ironman 55 event at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Missouri.
Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) will have two teams in the Ironman 55 field that not only have survived many seasons on the road with the Outlaws, but in most years have set the standard. TSR’s Steve Kinser, a 20-time WoO champion, is in the midst of his final full year chasing a WoO title behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. The season is being dubbed as the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” And TSR’s Donny Schatz leads the series into the Ironman 55 as the championship leader and winner of the last three WoO races aboard the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J.
This weekend’s event, which includes a complete program Friday highlighted by a 30-lap A-Feature and Saturday’s show that culminates with a 55-lap A-Feature, will be Kinser’s final appearance in the “Show Me State” as a full-time Outlaw. “The King of the Outlaws” is looking to pick up his first Ironman trophy. The winner of 577 career WoO A-Features has won five times at the high-banked 1/3-mile dirt oval during his career with his first win at the track came in 1987 and his most recent triumph coming in April 2003. Kinser has 29 top-10s in his 39 career starts there. In the last five Ironman 55 events, Kinser has had mixed results, finishing 11th in 2009, sixth in 2010, eighth in 2011, 11th in 2012 and ninth last season.
Schatz heads to St. Louis as the hottest driver on tour following his three-race sweep of the eastern Canada tour. He won for the first time at Autodromme Drummond in Drummondville, Quebec, and then made it two-in-row at both Cornwall (Ontario) Motor Speedway and Ohsweken (Ontario) Speedway Tuesday. The five-time champion leads the series with 12 A-Feature victories and now has 158 career WoO A-Feature triumphs. Only one of those wins came at I-55. That triumph was back in April 2006, but the Fargo, N.D. driver has been the model of consistency finishing inside the top-10 every race since that victory. He’s finished second in the previous two Ironman 55’s and came home third earlier this season.
With Tuesday’s event at Ohsweken in the books, 57 of the scheduled 92 nights of racing have been completed. Schatz leads the series championship with 8,065 points and has a 106-point advantage over Daryn Pittman. Schatz leads the series with 12 wins, 38 top-five finishes and 51 top-10s. Kinser currently ranks eighth and has posted one victory, eight top-five and 28 top-10 finishes.
Both nights at I-55, the pit gates and the grandstands will open at 3 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact I-55 Raceway by calling (636) 479-3219 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.I55raceway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s events can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO STP Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including live results from the track.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim:
The Ironman 55 is one of the longest races of the season. It’s the final weekend before your focus turns to the Knoxville Nationals and the annual western swing. What are your goals for the weekend and what would a win in the Ironman 55 do for your team?
“Any time you can win it’s good for the team. We came into this season wanting to be in contention for a lot of wins. We’ve had some good nights, but haven’t been battling for wins as often as we hoped. This is the time of the season when you want to be at your best. Like I said, we’ve had some good runs here and there, but not the consistency. We’re coming off three races in Canada where we qualified better, but weren’t able to move forward in the feature. The week before we had a couple of chances to start close to the front and couldn’t take advantage. We feel like we’re closer, but we’re still working at it. The Bad Boy Buggies team (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois and Mark Angerett, Jr.) has continued to dig deep and try to get me the best car they can each night. A good weekend at I-55 would be a great way to head into the Nationals. Momentum is such a big thing and if you can get it going on your side, you want to ride it as long as you can.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J
Heading into last week’s three-race run through eastern Canada you talked about how winning was the number one priority. You accomplished that mission by winning all races and now it’s onto I-55 where you’ve been close the last few years. How important is it for you to keep your streak going as you look ahead to August?
“We’re not worried about the streak. It’s the next race that is most important. We’re going to I-55 looking to win Friday night. The STP guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Eric Prutzman) have found something with this car, and we’re getting better every night. We learned a lot in Canada and we’re simply trying to build on that each night. We’ve been pretty good at I-55 the last few years, but just haven’t been good enough. Our qualifying program has been really good as of late and what’ve done at the end of the night has been pretty good as well. We’re focused on winning. We’ve got to go out Friday and do every right to end up on top. Saturday it starts all over.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, Conn., is primarily comprised of the Armor All®, STP® and Tuff Stuff® brands. The current Armor All product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and car washes are designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. The STP product line of fuel and oil additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products have a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and "Do-it-Yourselfers". Tuff Stuff cleaning products are formulated to tackle the toughest jobs.
Armored AutoGroup has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
About Bad Boy Buggies
Bad Boy Buggies is a leader in off-road utility vehicles for hunting and outdoor lifestyles. Bad Boy Buggies pioneered the category of electrically powered 4x4 vehicles, ideal for hunting and outdoor recreation due to their silent, odorless operation and environmentally friendly, emissions-free drivetrains.
Today, the Bad Boy Buggies product line ranges from four-wheel-drive electric hunting machines such as the Recoil, a fully electric, 4WD vehicle with an innovative, highly efficient 72-volt AC electric drivetrain, to the Work Series of diesel and gas-powered utility vehicles, including the Bad Boy Buggies XD, a versatile 4WD, diesel-powered utility vehicle with a total capacity of 1,600 pounds. In 2010, the Bad Boy Buggies brand and product line were acquired by E-Z-GO, a business unit of Textron Inc.
For more information, please visit www.badboybuggies.com.
- Krista K. Massey
Former Group Vice President, Director of Sponsorships and Event Marketing
SunTrust Banks, Inc.