INDIANAPOLIS – It was four decades ago when the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series stars made their debut at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway in August 1978. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser was the hometown driver leading this upstart band of drivers that was barnstorming the country in the series’ inaugural season and became the track’s first WoO winner.
Friday, the 20-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion continues the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” in the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim by making his final Indiana start in his hometown. Kinser leads the Outlaws with eight career WoO wins at the quarter-mile, dirt oval.
The weekend also includes Saturday’s WoO debut at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, where TSR’s Donny Schatz will look to sweep the state of Michigan in 2014 after winning at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa in late May. Schatz, the WoO points leader, will look to add to his series-leading victory total of 22 behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J.
With a schedule that takes the Outlaw drivers to all corners of the United States and twice into Canada, it’s rare to have a race 5 miles from home. Kinser will have that luxury Friday. The 20-time WoO champion made his second-ever Sprint car start at the bullring and won the Outlaws’ first stop at the track just a couple of seasons after winning six Sprint car races at the track. His most recent win at Bloomington came late in the 1998 season. He has won 36 of his staggering 577 career WoO A-Features in his home state and the former Indiana high school wrestling state champion would love to win his final start in the Hoosier State.
Schatz, who calls Fargo, North Dakota home, might consider relocating to Indiana with the results he has had in the state during 2014. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion has won three consecutive Indiana WoO races – Lawrenceburg Speedway in May, and Kokomo Speedway and Terre Haute’s Action Track last week. Schatz added Bloomington to his growing list of tracks where he’s won a WoO A-Feature. In August 2011, Schatz raced to victory in his fifth start at the facility and returned the following summer and finished third.
Both TSR drivers have been successful when racing at new facilities. Kinser has more than 40 wins at tracks during the Outlaws’ first stops at those tracks. Saturday’s stop at Berlin will be the first on the 7/16-mile oval. Kinser has won at 142 different tracks and Schatz has come out victorious at 68 tracks.
With 80 races compete, Schatz leads the Outlaws into action this weekend with a 271-point lead in the championship standings and is in the midst of a streak of 28 consecutive top-10 finishes. He leads the series in wins with 22, top-fives with 56, top-10s with 73, and KSE Hard Charger Awards with 13. Kinser holds the eighth position and is looking to pick up his second win of the season.
For Friday’s event at Bloomington Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more details, contact Bloomington Speedway at (812) 824-7400 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.bloomingtonspeedway.com.
Saturday at Berlin, the pit gates and the grandstands will open at 4 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details, contact Berlin Raceway by calling (616) 677-5000 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.berlinraceway.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:
How special is it for you to race at Bloomington Speedway, a place where you first drove a Sprint car?
“I have some great memories from there and I’m sure it’ll be pretty emotional Friday. This year has been so special with all the fans everywhere treating us so well. To be able to have one last run at Bloomington is really a big deal. It’s a chance for so many of the people who have been part of my career to be there. I just want to go out there and have a good run. Winning would be the ultimate way to end my last night there as a full-time racer with the Outlaws.”
Winning with the World of Outlaws is as tough as it ever has been. After picking up a victory in Florida early in the campaign, you and the Bad Boy Buggies team have been looking to score another. What’s the biggest key in putting yourself in position to challenge for a victory?
“It all starts with qualifying and we’re battling some issues, like weight, that put us behind. We’ve been racing decently but, if you want to have a chance to win, you have to be able to drive forward. We’ve been able to maintain when we are in the top-10, but haven’t been able to get up and mix it up with the guys up front. Right now, it is awfully tough to make up some of those spots.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J:
This week, you’ll compete at two distinctly different tracks. How much different is your driving style when competing on smaller tracks versus the bigger tracks?
“It’s mostly about experience. Things happen much quicker on the short tracks and you have to be able to anticipate what the cars in front of you are going to do much faster. On the bigger tracks, you carry so much more speed and you need to take advantage of that. In the end, it’s still about making the right decisions at the right time. I’m looking forward to both tracks this week. Last week, we had good runs at both a smaller track (Kokomo) and the bigger tracks (Terre Haute and Eldora). The STP guys do a great job putting a good car under me. It’s been a pleasure to drive.”
This has been another incredible season for you and the STP team. With only nine races remaining, are there still things you are looking to accomplish?
“We still have the opportunity to win races. Every year we try to set our goals pretty high. After winning 23 races last year, we knew eclipsing that would be tough, but here we are with a chance to at least tie it. Everyone on this team is really motivated to finish out our year as best we can. It’s been fun coming to the track every night and we’re going to enjoy these final races and do the best we can each night.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup (“AAG” or the “Company”) is the leading global manufacturer and marketer of automotive appearance, performance, and do-it-yourself A/C recharge products sold under iconic brands that include Armor All® , STP®, A/C Pro®, and Tuff Stuff®. Headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, with key operations in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, the Company has annual revenues approaching $500 million. The global AAG team consists of approximately 350 associates in locations throughout the world.
Armored AutoGroup was formed by Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity investment firm, through the acquisition of the auto care division of Clorox in November, 2010. In March, 2014, the Company expanded the business with the purchase of IDQ Acquisition Corp (“IDQ”), the leading manufacturer of do-it-yourself air condition recharge products.
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