Kinser, Krisiloff & Crocker Sweep Top Three-of-Four Spots  by Bob Dillner
In 1994, Steve Kinser shocked the stock car world by winning the IROC (International Race of Champions) event at the famed Talladega Superspeedway.  The WoO Winged Warrior had gone to battle against the best stock car drivers and the “wine & cheese” open-wheel crowd and came out victorious in equally prepared cars.
Now, more than a decade later, another Kinser has graced the victory platform at the largest oval track in America.  This time, it’s the 19-time World of Outlaws champion’s son, Kraig.  This year’s Knoxville Nationals winner dusted the field the Food World 300 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Talladega.  The only difference between what his father accomplished and what he did on Saturday is that Kraig’s car was far superior to that of anyone else in the ARCA field.

“That is probably the most impressive car I’ve ever seen here (at Talladega),” said now 7-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, who finished fourth.  “When you can come from the back to the front by yourself, that’s something.”

Kinser grabbed the pole for the ARCA finale in a car prepared by the MB team, which is home to Nextel Cup drivers Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs and Boris Said.  He led early, and then
Kinser celebrates the win. (ARCA photos)
was penalized by ARCA officials for violating the blend line rule during the first pitstop of the race and drove back to the front of the field with ease to cruise to his first victory in a stock car in only his second start.  (He finished eighth at the ARCA race in Michigan earlier this year.)

“This series is kinda like the Busch Series to a degree; you’re going to get Cup teams come in here and beat up on ya,” admitted ARCA rookie Ken Weaver, who finished 14th.  “When the 10 (car) can be five-seconds back and pull around on his own, I mean, that’s a Jeff Gordon kind of car.  We just can’t spend that kind of money to keep up with that.”
mistake coming off the pits.  We didn't use the blend line so I had to go back to the tail end of the longest line.  We had a dominant car.  We could pull out and pass people pretty easy.  Once we got to the top 10, it made it real tough.  We had to really get a good run on them to get beside them and once we got beside them we would just get a good run from side drafting."

He doesn’t sound like a rookie either.  That’s because with a name like Kinser, you can pull advice from all sorts of people and that’s a big advantage as well.

"Yesterday, I talked to Tony Stewart,” said Kinser.  “I know him from my sprint car connection.  I had Red Farmer here for testing and qualifying.  He gave me all of his tidbits.  Kasey (Kahne) came up before the race and told me what he has learned over his short career.  I had a good knowledge of what to do.  I only got about eight to 10 laps in practice drafting.  I was kind of worried when I went to the back and I gave everybody a lot of room.  I definitely didn't want to tear the car up."

Krisiloff, who was driving his final race in for the Hendrick Development program for Bobby Gerhart Racing, stayed on Kinser’s tail the in closing laps, but could not get anyone to go with him to make a move.

"What can you say?  He (Kinser) got that penalty and went to the back and came right back up in 10-laps or something, so he definitely had a good car today,” explained the grandson of Mary Hulman-George, who owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  “The last 15-laps or so, we were trying to get something going and nothing materialized.  I think if we could’ve led coming out of the last caution we might have been able to hold him off, but maybe Kraig could have gotten around us; he was really strong all day.  He passed anybody anytime he wanted.  Today we had a second-place car I guess.”
Kinser (#10) leads Bobby Gerhart (#5) & Kyle Krisiloff (#5).
And while his car was far superior to even that of Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Krisiloff or Evernham protégé Erin Crocker, Kinser did show the poise and maturity that is not usually suited to a newcomer to restrictor-plate racing.

"We were definitely strong,” said Kinser, who flew out right after the race to compete in a WoO event in Williams Grove, PA, where he finished 19th  “We proved that when we made a
Kimmel, who clinched the ARCA championship just by showing up in Alabama, had a sub-par car that he turned into a fifth place car.

“That’s about as good of a car as we had.  I was happy to finish fifth because there were a lot of things going on out there,” said Kimmel, who won his sixth straight ARCA title.  “I think I over-achieved a little bit because I think pretty easily we could’ve been a 10th place car.  We sowed up the championship and Bill (brother, crew chief) won the SK Hand Tools year-long crew chief award so that’s good.

“It’s just frustrating though.  We had a little miscue in the pit area.  I don’t blame anybody; that’s just all part of the game.  It just happened at the bad time of the race. 
I told them as we were coming in that we needed to have a good clean stop because if I get behind them (the competition), I can’t catch ‘em.  But we’re a team, we made a mistake and we go on from there.”

But for Kinser, winning the Knoxville Nationals (the biggest sprint car race of the year) and the ARCA race at Talladega is something he’ll not soon forget.

"What a year,” he said.  “Winning at Talladega is pretty big though.  I knew that years ago when I started sprint car racing across the street over there (at the Talladega Short Track).  I knew it was a big race.  It's one of the most fun races of the year. Just to get a win at this great track feels pretty good.”

And now father and son are in the history books as winners, not only on the dirt of Knoxville, but the high-banks of Talladega as well.


Frank Kimmel (#46) leads Erin Crocker (#98) at Talladega.  (51 Photos)