INDIANAPOLIS – For a sports fan, there is nothing like witnessing greatness. When a competitor reaches the pinnacle and dominates the action, it’s a spectacle that can be appreciated by everyone. Legends have been made for generations in all sports and, since the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series began back in 1978, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser has put on some of the greatest performances in series history. And, over the last decade, his TSR teammate Donny Schatz also has built a highlight reel jammed full of spectacular runs with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” This weekend, the TSR duo headlines the traveling Sprint car stars into western Canada aiming to continue the legacy in the eighth annual Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta.
Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J, leads the Outlaws into Canada for the second time in 2014 on a major tear, winning six of the previous eight WoO A-Features. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion swept the Outlaws’ three-race swing through eastern Canadian in late July and won the series’ most recent event Sunday at Nodak Speedway in his hometown of Minot, North Dakota. The victory was his 15th A-Feature triumph of the season and came on the heels of his eighth victory Aug. 9 in the sport’s showcase event – the 54th annual FVP Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals. Schatz also is the reigning Oil City Cup champion.
Kinser, pilot of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim, is in his final year as a WoO championship contender in a season being called the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” The 20-time WoO champion started the season by picking up his 577th career A-Feature triumph at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
Kinser is looking to end a winless streak at Castrol Raceway that dates back to 2007. The Bloomington, Indiana racer was the first-ever WoO winner at the 3/8-mile dirt oval in August 2007 and has been one of the most consistent runners at the facility over the last seven years. In 14 starts, he has seven podium finishes, eight top-fives and nine top-10s. Last season, “The King of the Outlaws” had some back luck and finished 16th and 21st in the finale.
Last August, Schatz added to his stats with a pair of impressive nights in Edmonton. In the opener, he started 11th and charged his way up to second. The following night began with a scary crash for Schatz during hot laps. The STP team pulled down a second car that Schatz raced to victory in the 30-lap finale. Schatz is a two-time winner at Castrol and has earned nine podium finishes, 11 top-fives and has finished inside the top-10 in all 14 races. His victory last August was part of late-summer surge of six consecutive podium finishes. He enters this weekend’s races on a similar streak. He’s finished on the podium in 12 consecutive A-Feature programs.
The run of consistency has enabled Schatz to build a 154-point lead in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 8,893 points and leads the series with 15 victories, 44 top-fives, and is tied for most top-10s with 57. Kinser remains eighth in the standings with one victory, eight top-fives and 31 top-10s.
Friday and Saturday at Castrol Raceway, the grandstands open at 4 p.m. MDT. Racing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.castrolraceway.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:
This weekend’s Oil City Cup continues the post-Knoxville western swing. Is this the time of the season when you feel like you are heading into the final stretch that leads you toward Charlotte?
“I’ve been doing this for so long and we’ve had a similar schedule for so many years. You start looking forward to different parts of the schedule. Everybody knows that the focus in August is Knoxville, but we have a lot of races after that. We haven’t always gone to the same places, but we’ve always headed west. For years, it was Colorado. Then we started heading to Montana from Knoxville and, for about the last 10 years, we’ve made our way to North Dakota and then up to Edmonton. At every stop, we’ve met some great fans and became friends with a lot of people. This year has been special in so many ways, but the biggest thing has been all the fans who have come up to me and thanked me for all the years of racing. Some of them haven’t even been fans of mine, but they talk about all the memories they have. I’m looking forward to catching up with the fans in Edmonton and then in Washington, Oregon and down in California.”
Last week, you put a couple of top-10s on the board before a mechanical failure cost you a shot at a third Sunday. What’s been the key to your consistency of late?
“We have been more consistent and that starts with qualifying. There for a while we struggled to qualify in the top-10, but recently we’ve been able to cut a good lap. That has put us in a better position for the rest of the night. The Bad Boy Buggies crew (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois, Mark Angerett Jr.) has kept trying to find ways to get a good car under me. We’ve been able to maintain our position but haven’t been able to find a way to move forward. That’s what we are working on now. Castrol has been a good track for us in the past and, hopefully, we’ll get off to a good start Friday and build on that.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
For the second consecutive season, you and the STP team head to Edmonton on a major roll. What’s been the key to winning the number of races you have the past two seasons?
“The biggest key is hard work by everyone at Tony Stewart Racing and especially these STP guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman). Our goal every year is to win the most races. Last year, we won 23 races and that was quite a feat but we came up short in the championship race. We came back with the same plan to try and win as many as we could but also qualify better and finish inside the top-three more often. Despite not winning as much as we were hoping to early in the season, we were able to keep working on our car combination and fine-tune every night. Once we got to June, things have really picked up and, since mid-July, we’ve really been in the hunt just about every race. That’s what you strive for. Knowing when you unload the car that you are close. We’ve been having a lot of fun and we know there is still quite a bit of work to be done.”
Last year’s Oil City Cup was quite memorable for you. After finishing second in the opener, you crashed in hot laps and destroyed your primary car. Was that one of the most challenging nights of the season?
“It’s never a good thing to destroy a car. That particular car had been very good for us. We had won a lot races with it and it had a great feel in it. A torsion stop broke and it put me right into the wall. The first thing is that I’m thankful for attention to detail that the people at J&J Auto Racing have because I could have been hurt bad. It happened in hot laps, so we didn’t have much time to get the second car down. Basically, we got it down and I went out and qualified. We were fortunate to make the inversion and then get into the dash. We started second and passed Brad Sweet with seven laps left and won the race. That was rewarding and I knew I was going to be sore the next day. Winning helped take some of the pain away, but it did take me a few days to recover. Hopefully, we don’t have to deal with all of that this year. I’m looking forward to getting back up there. We’ve had some great races in Edmonton.”
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.
- Jonathan Paluga
Director of Marketing & Sales
Armor All & STP Brands