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Foyt 35, Kinser 34


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#1 Michael Ferner

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 20:32

Few will have noticed, but it is a historical landmark and as such it needs to be marked and, perhaps, set into context.

Last Saturday, Sprint Car legend Steve Kinser failed to qualify for the main event of the most important and prestigious Sprint Car meeting in the world, the Knoxville Nationals, for the first time since his rookie year in 1977. Ironically, he placed 10th in the "B main" both years, missing the transfer to the feature race by several places - only difference is, that in 1977 only 22 started in the "A main", and this year 24, so that he missed out by 6 positions in 2012 against 8 in 1977.

Thus, Kinser only just failed to record a historical "tie" with another super star, A. J. Foyt, in most successive starts in their respective division's top event. Foyt had managed to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500 for 35 consecutive years, 1958 - '92 inclusive. The final tally, which is extremely unlikely to be ever improved upon in either event, reads Foyt 35, Kinser 34.

The Knoxville Nationals may not be quite on the same level as the Indy 500 in an international context, but in US motorsports history, both events are remarkably similar in importance and prestige, at least for the last forty years or so. If anything, the dirt track race in the small Iowa community of Knoxville is even more competitive than Indy, certainly in recent years, with traditionally more than 100 cars and drivers from all over the USofA vying for the "big one", and only 24 starting berths available in the feature event on the half-mile track. That makes Kinser's achievement perhaps even more remarkable than Foyt's, apart from the fact that he has won the great race an amazing twelve times, against Foyt's landmark of four victories at Indy, tied twice in the meantime.

In future years, 2012 may well be remembered as the year in which the torch was finally passed, as apart from Steve Kinser, the eternal Knoxville hard luck driver Sammy Swindell also failed to qualify, for the seventh time in his record 38 years at the Nationals. Swindell, who has won the event only once in those 38 tries, missed making the feature by only one position after finishing 5th in the "B main". Only last year, he had qualified for his third pole position start, after a record gap of 27 years since his second pole in 1984, the year after his solitary win. Like in '84, Swindell had finished 3rd from his pole position start, to record his 20th top ten finish, second only to Kinser. Together with Doug Wolfgang, who retired from driving after two devastating accidents in the nineties, Kinser and Swindell are generally regarded as the super star triumvirat of Sprint Car racing, the three most succesful dirt track drivers of all time. Until last Saturday, Wolfgang was still second to Kinser in all-time National wins, and all-time feature laps led.

Other 2012 non-qualifiers included Danny Lasoski, all-time third in starts and top ten finishes, and Jac Haudenschild in his 30th year at the Nationals, who both transfered from the "C main", only to be stranded in the B. The only other driver with more than 30 entries in the Nationals, Danny Smith, ended his 33rd try in the "D main". Lasoski has 23 starts in 29 years, with four wins to his credit, while Haudenschild and Smith have 17 and 13 starts, respectively, and a best finish of 2nd and 4th, respectively.

The premier torchbearer these days is Donny Schatz, winning the Knoxville Nationals for the sixth time in the last seven years, and moving into second in all-time feature laps led. And it was only his 15th start in 19 tries. His car owner has won for the seventh time now, and is a solid all-time second on the car owners winner list behind Karl Kinser with 14 wins. His name is Tony Stewart, and he has some Indy credentials, too. In fact, he's the only driver ever to have started on the pole position for the Indy 500, and won a World of Outlaws Sprint Car main event. That's an achievement on his CV that would certainly have appealed to A. J.!

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#2 LittleChris

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 21:04

In fact, he's the only driver ever to have started on the pole position for the Indy 500, and won a World of Outlaws Sprint Car main event. That's an achievement on his CV that would certainly have appealed to A. J.!


Tony Stewart may have started from pole for the 1996 Indy 500 ( which of course featured an entry list composed of every man & his dog who wasn't capable of racing in CART ) but Scott Brayton qualified there before his untimely death so I don't think it's fair to intimate that Stewart was the pole winner.

#3 Michael Ferner

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 21:07

Hence my wording...  ;)

#4 LittleChris

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 23:47

Hmm, I'm not sure Foyt would have found it very edifiying to put " Started from pole as 2nd fastest qualifier " on his CV

#5 arttidesco

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 00:06

I have a friend who has just moved to Ohio, making a visit to the Knoxville nationals more achievable, thanks for the stats Michael :up:

#6 Bob Riebe

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:32

Tony Stewart may have started from pole for the 1996 Indy 500 ( which of course featured an entry list composed of every man & his dog who wasn't capable of racing in CART ) but Scott Brayton qualified there before his untimely death so I don't think it's fair to intimate that Stewart was the pole winner.

The U.S. 500 proved CART was full of dogs who could not make it at Indy.

#7 E1pix

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:50

Very noteworthy, great job, Michael. :up:

#8 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:28

A J Foyt and Steve Kinser two truly great drivers, Foyt himself most likely the best sprint car racer in his time and Kinser in his .
I have always been a great admirer of them both

#9 D-Type

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:08

The U.S. 500 proved CART was full of dogs who could not make it at Indy.

And between them the two factions destroyed open-wheel racing in the USA ):

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:18

Isn't that what Buford said?

Or would have said, had he been allowed?

#11 ensign14

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:41

The U.S. 500 proved CART was full of dogs who could not make it at Indy.

The US 500 field scored, between them, 7 Indy 500 wins.

The Indy 500 field scored, between them, 6 CART individual race wins.

Woof.

#12 B Squared

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:51

The US 500 field scored, between them, 7 Indy 500 wins.

The Indy 500 field scored, between them, 6 CART individual race wins.

Woof.


Well-stated. :up:



#13 Lemnpiper

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 13:30

Well-stated. :up:



Cmon guys


That war is over , and i fear til everyone on both sides are DEAD the uneeded sniping that accomplishes nothin will go on.

THERE WERE NO WINNERS ONLY LOSERS



Paul


#14 B Squared

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 13:35

Cmon guys


That war is over , and i fear til everyone on both sides are DEAD the uneeded sniping that accomplishes nothin will go on.

THERE WERE NO WINNERS ONLY LOSERS


I know that as well as anyone having worked with CART during the glory years. Please admonish Mr. Riebe also. I believe he threw the first jab.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.

#15 Bob Riebe

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 19:46

I know that as well as anyone having worked with CART during the glory years. Please admonish Mr. Riebe also. I believe he threw the first jab.

Maybe you should read the post I replied to before you let bias get in the way of facts.

#16 LittleChris

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 21:47

Maybe you should read the post I replied to before you let bias get in the way of facts.


Mine I presume Bob , but I don't see anything in there that I wrote that isn't true. Ensign 14 summed it up very well I believe.

From a racing point of view which of the following drivers would you have preferred to see racing at Indy ( or anywhere else for that matter ) that day ?


Tony Stewart
Davy Jones
Eliseo Salazar
Eddie Cheever
Buddy Lazier
Roberto Guerrero
Alessandro Zampedri
Michel Jourdain, Jr.
Buzz Calkins
Davey Hamilton
Mike Groff
Michele Alboreto
Stephan Gregoire
Mark Dismore
Richie Hearn
Johnny Unser
John Paul, Jr
Lyn St. James
Jim Guthrie
Arie Luyendyk
Scott Sharp
Marco Greco
Robby Buhl
Paul Durant
Racin Gardner
Brad Murphey
Johnny Parsons
Fermín Velez
Johnny O'Connell
Hideshi Matsuda
Joe Gosek
Scott Harrington
Danny Ongais

or

Jimmy Vasser
Mauricio Gugelmin
Roberto Moreno
André Ribeiro
Mark Blundell
Eddie Lawson
Paul Tracy
Al Unser, Jr.
Gil de Ferran
Emerson Fittipaldi
Parker Johnstone
Christian Fittipaldi
Greg Moore
Hiro Matsushita
Bryan Herta
Stefan Johansson
Alex Zanardi
Jeff Krosnoff
Bobby Rahal
Robby Gordon
Gary Bettenhausen
Juan Fangio II
Michael Andretti
Raul Boesel
Fredrik Ekblom
Scott Pruett
Adrián Fernández
Teo Fabi
P.J. Jones

In my opinion, CART was the greatest racing series on earth ( possibly ever ) during the mid 90's and with the right guidance could've taken F1 to the cleaners at a global level. To this day I still think B Ecclestone had a hand in the idiocy fomented by Tony George that led to the destruction of open wheel racing in the US.




#17 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 02:55

Few will have noticed, but it is a historical landmark and as such it needs to be marked and, perhaps, set into context.

Last Saturday, Sprint Car legend Steve Kinser failed to qualify for the main event of the most important and prestigious Sprint Car meeting in the world, the Knoxville Nationals, for the first time since his rookie year in 1977. Ironically, he placed 10th in the "B main" both years, missing the transfer to the feature race by several places - only difference is, that in 1977 only 22 started in the "A main", and this year 24, so that he missed out by 6 positions in 2012 against 8 in 1977.

Thus, Kinser only just failed to record a historical "tie" with another super star, A. J. Foyt, in most successive starts in their respective division's top event. Foyt had managed to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500 for 35 consecutive years, 1958 - '92 inclusive. The final tally, which is extremely unlikely to be ever improved upon in either event, reads Foyt 35, Kinser 34.

The Knoxville Nationals may not be quite on the same level as the Indy 500 in an international context, but in US motorsports history, both events are remarkably similar in importance and prestige, at least for the last forty years or so. If anything, the dirt track race in the small Iowa community of Knoxville is even more competitive than Indy, certainly in recent years, with traditionally more than 100 cars and drivers from all over the USofA vying for the "big one", and only 24 starting berths available in the feature event on the half-mile track. That makes Kinser's achievement perhaps even more remarkable than Foyt's, apart from the fact that he has won the great race an amazing twelve times, against Foyt's landmark of four victories at Indy, tied twice in the meantime.

In future years, 2012 may well be remembered as the year in which the torch was finally passed, as apart from Steve Kinser, the eternal Knoxville hard luck driver Sammy Swindell also failed to qualify, for the seventh time in his record 38 years at the Nationals. Swindell, who has won the event only once in those 38 tries, missed making the feature by only one position after finishing 5th in the "B main". Only last year, he had qualified for his third pole position start, after a record gap of 27 years since his second pole in 1984, the year after his solitary win. Like in '84, Swindell had finished 3rd from his pole position start, to record his 20th top ten finish, second only to Kinser. Together with Doug Wolfgang, who retired from driving after two devastating accidents in the nineties, Kinser and Swindell are generally regarded as the super star triumvirat of Sprint Car racing, the three most succesful dirt track drivers of all time. Until last Saturday, Wolfgang was still second to Kinser in all-time National wins, and all-time feature laps led.

Other 2012 non-qualifiers included Danny Lasoski, all-time third in starts and top ten finishes, and Jac Haudenschild in his 30th year at the Nationals, who both transfered from the "C main", only to be stranded in the B. The only other driver with more than 30 entries in the Nationals, Danny Smith, ended his 33rd try in the "D main". Lasoski has 23 starts in 29 years, with four wins to his credit, while Haudenschild and Smith have 17 and 13 starts, respectively, and a best finish of 2nd and 4th, respectively.

The premier torchbearer these days is Donny Schatz, winning the Knoxville Nationals for the sixth time in the last seven years, and moving into second in all-time feature laps led. And it was only his 15th start in 19 tries. His car owner has won for the seventh time now, and is a solid all-time second on the car owners winner list behind Karl Kinser with 14 wins. His name is Tony Stewart, and he has some Indy credentials, too. In fact, he's the only driver ever to have started on the pole position for the Indy 500, and won a World of Outlaws Sprint Car main event. That's an achievement on his CV that would certainly have appealed to A. J.!

A record of some note from Steve, the extra one would have been nice though.
And the field is made up of more than US drivers, many Aussies and Kiwis at least have run very competitivly at Knoxville, several are US based for a good part of the year.

#18 Bob Riebe

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 05:09

Mine I presume Bob , but I don't see anything in there that I wrote that isn't true. Ensign 14 summed it up very well I believe.

From a racing point of view which of the following drivers would you have preferred to see racing at Indy ( or anywhere else for that matter ) that


I have driven a few thousand miles in my day to see races and I never drove even one mile to see any driver ever - period.

If trashing some drivers floats your boat, que sera-sera.
------------------------

Michael than you for that most interesting bit of information.
Sadly sprint cars, and sprint car drivers, no longer get the attention they should.

Edited by Bob Riebe, 19 August 2012 - 05:14.


#19 B Squared

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 15:50

I have driven a few thousand miles in my day to see races and I never drove even one mile to see any driver ever - period.


And that is sad to hear. Having been blessed to know Peter DePaolo and Scott Brayton well enough to call them friends, or at least certainly close acquaintances, my family was always pleased to hear from them and would travel to meet them at the drop of a hat when they were still with us.

My company is having Bobby Unser as a guest at a upcoming function and it looked like I was going to meet him in Detroit to drive him to Ft. Wayne, but he made other arraingements. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. That would have been about a 360-mile roundtrip drive that I'd gladly do for free any day of the week. Period.

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#20 E1pix

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 18:51

(truly sorry about Scott, Brian, especially since our longtime friend won that year)

In my first years away from the parents, I drove 15,000 miles round-trip to see drivers competing at Road Atlanta five of six years running... plus drove 25,000 miles to witness other drivers.

The races were good, too.

#21 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 22:53

I have driven a few thousand miles in my day to see races and I never drove even one mile to see any driver ever - period.

If trashing some drivers floats your boat, que sera-sera.
------------------------

Michael than you for that most interesting bit of information.
Sadly sprint cars, and sprint car drivers, no longer get the attention they should.

I have watched US sprintcar racing on TV and find it boring. Black slick tracks that are really half throttle only, and just drive around and around keping momentum.And hope the tyres dont blow out.And the constant restarts are so frustrating.
Aussie racing is tending to go that way too, a reason I seldom bother these days.
Sprinters should run on hooky clay tracks, then they are spectacular. If you want to run on black tracks go play on bitumen

#22 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 22:59

I have watched US sprintcar racing on TV and find it boring. Black slick tracks that are really half throttle only, and just drive around and around keping momentum.And hope the tyres dont blow out.And the constant restarts are so frustrating.
Aussie racing is tending to go that way too, a reason I seldom bother these days.
Sprinters should run on hooky clay tracks, then they are spectacular. If you want to run on black tracks go play on bitumen

That's particularly true of World of Outlaws, where back to the Ted Johnson days, he wanted a dry-slick track.

Now, on the heavy, damp clay California tracks :up:

#23 Jim Thurman

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 23:03

Wouldn't be much of a race without any drivers, would it?;)

Thanks Michael for reminding us of those stats :up: (I had noticed, but hadn't posted, let alone do so eloquently)

#24 Bob Riebe

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:04

Wouldn't be much of a race without any drivers, would it?;)

w
If there were no vehicles to drive than the gents would have been as LittleChris said "every man and his dog" and nothing else, with nothing to do.
It is/was easier to get a different driver than it was a different car.


If some of you were/are friends with a driver/s - good for you - God has treated you well as far as social circles go.

I have or had a very strong automotive interest inherited from my Father, and Grandfather who was trained Dort mechnic.
The vehicle and all that is consisted of interested me probably exceedingly strongly.
Drivers- there were a few who if they were there, I was pleased. If they were not no big deal, how many different makes are there in this race? That was my main concern.



#25 E1pix

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:44

Now, on the heavy, damp clay California tracks :up:

Yep. :up: :)

If some of you were/are friends with a driver/s - good for you - God has treated you well as far as social circles go.

Whoa Buddy, nobody said we don't like race cars. :eek: I even own tools.

1990s CART was awesome IMHO, even with the 'dogs.' I'm all ears in learning of a better field over a single decade, our biases for the Old Days aside.

Edited by E1pix, 20 August 2012 - 05:46.


#26 Henri Greuter

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:28

In my opinion, CART was the greatest racing series on earth ( possibly ever ) during the mid 90's and with the right guidance could've taken F1 to the cleaners at a global level. To this day I still think B Ecclestone had a hand in the idiocy fomented by Tony George that led to the destruction of open wheel racing in the US.



Add the France family to that shortlist of involved beneficiaries.
Like you suggest: Killing off CART was to the benefit of F1 for the rest of the world but for NASCAR in the USA.



Henri


#27 DogEarred

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 08:58

Surprised to hear about Kinser & Swindell. - "The times, they are a-changin'"?....

Yes, 2 great forms of racing - WOO and mid nineties CART. I was lucky enough to be around to be able to see some of those events. But not being from the USA, I just took the chance to travel to see events live, I would not normally be able to. For CART, it was a combination of the racing AND the drivers, as I'd seen many of the non-US drivers come up through the lower formulas in the UK. Certainly a great formula that would have had some good years to come.
If not at the tracks, I would waste away many weekends watching CART, F1 & even NASCAR (if I couldn't get hold of any LSD) - in that order.
One thing strikes me though, is that WOO has probably benefitted from not being interferred with too much over the years. Like NASCAR, it has its niche & need not be concerned with the outside world too much. But CART suffered from what F1 did & still does - too many people with too much money & too many bad ideas manipulating rules, sponsors, manufacturers & teams in order milk dollars from the public for there own benefit.
It's sad to see, (& I've witnessed it) the real bitterness in the CART/IRL split is still around. Certainly rivals anything Wyatt Earp had to deal with..

#28 B Squared

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:33

If some of you were/are friends with a driver/s - good for you - God has treated you well as far as social circles go.


Long before any friendships were established or we had drivers licenses, my brother and I were known to ride our bikes more than a few miles each way to go see a race driver making a personal appearance in our community. Sometimes when you reach out to people, good things happen when it comes to establishing social circles.

edit: I too share your fascination with the race cars, but in my opinion, the drivers are an intricate component to the sport.

Edited by B Squared, 20 August 2012 - 11:41.


#29 RStock

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 18:54

That's particularly true of World of Outlaws, where back to the Ted Johnson days, he wanted a dry-slick track.

Now, on the heavy, damp clay California tracks :up:


But I bet they weren't heavy and damp when Ted brought his show to town. Dirt tracks will tend (especially in the hot summer) to dry slick over anyway. They don't really need help by parking the water truck early.

I don't like a heavy track. They hook up better on a tacky track. One of the best Sprint car races I ever saw was at Devil's Bowl with a very light, fine mist falling all night. It kept the track alive (Devil's Bowl is very good at preparing a track and it doesn't dry slick as bad as some others anyway) Kinser started from pole and was running away. Stevie Smith (when he was in the Al Hamilton car) finally cleared traffic and ran Kinser down from 1/2 a track and passed him for the win. Man, was he flying. That wouldn't have happened on a dry slick track.

#30 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 22:19

But I bet they weren't heavy and damp when Ted brought his show to town. Dirt tracks will tend (especially in the hot summer) to dry slick over anyway. They don't really need help by parking the water truck early.

I don't like a heavy track. They hook up better on a tacky track. One of the best Sprint car races I ever saw was at Devil's Bowl with a very light, fine mist falling all night. It kept the track alive (Devil's Bowl is very good at preparing a track and it doesn't dry slick as bad as some others anyway) Kinser started from pole and was running away. Stevie Smith (when he was in the Al Hamilton car) finally cleared traffic and ran Kinser down from 1/2 a track and passed him for the win. Man, was he flying. That wouldn't have happened on a dry slick track.

I should have clarified, the California tracks usually start out heavy, then get tacky as all get out later, as the clay stays moist. They only stayed heavy if the fog came in earlier or heavier than expected (like it did some nights at Ascot or Speedway 117/South Bay Speedway).

Well, there was one memorable occasion where the track at Baylands was heavy when Ted brought his show to town. After a lengthy argument with the track prep man, Ted went out on the grader himself and kept going until he'd turned over all the dirt and worked the moisture in. They ran the A-Main on a dry-slick track, even though it was about 1AM.

#31 dbltop

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:52

Watching sprint cars on television just doesn't do them justice. If you get a chance to see these guys live ( WOO especially ) on a quarter mile dirt track, it is phenominal. They don't lift the throttle at all!

#32 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 18:19

I quite agree. Rather like drag racing - an incredible spectacle to which TV can't do justice.

#33 E1pix

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 18:59

Watching sprint cars on television just doesn't do them justice. If you get a chance to see these guys live ( WOO especially ) on a quarter mile dirt track, it is phenominal. They don't lift the throttle at all!

You got that right. I haven't seen them run for 20 years now, but they are awesome.

I can't think of a better throwback to the Glory Days of our nation's oval lineage. I was raised at both road courses and oval tracks, so for me it's a step back to better times in our sport.

#34 Bob Riebe

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 19:56

I got to my first sprint car race last year in near a decade. It was on the "big" (Viking Speedway is often refered to in such a manner) half-mile track in Alexandria, Minn.
I still, and alway will miss the half-mile track at the old fairgrounds in my home town. The finish line and grandstands were off-set closer to turn one than turn four and the track was several feet wider coming off of turn four as the track wall theren was the County Fair poop house.
If one was using the pooper while cars were setting up the track before hot laps, one could hear and feel them going by.

The main straight was tapered but the drag race coming off of turn four that often happened to win a heat or race was fantastic, especially as the cars came by the grandstand close enough that if one stuck out a yard-stick it would be quite a bit shorter after the car went by.
For years there was nothing but two cable strands held over the front of the grandstand that stopped anyone from falling onto the track. You could literally, it you were tall enough. or short enough to put your head under them, look down the track at turn four and watch them come at you till some one pulled you back, or if Shep was on duty, use a square yard stick to whack you on the side of the head and tell you to get back.

Hot damn, this used to be a great country.

#35 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:54

Sprint cars are great to watch but driving one is even better............

#36 Bob Riebe

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 04:02

Sprint cars are great to watch but driving one is even better............

Show-off :clap:

#37 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 22:57

A record of some note from Steve, the extra one would have been nice though.
And the field is made up of more than US drivers, many Aussies and Kiwis at least have run very competitivly at Knoxville, several are US based for a good part of the year.


Yes! Aussie drivers like Garry Rush, Max Dumesny, Brooke Tatnell, Garry Brazier, Jaymie Moyle, Skip Jackson or Kerry Madsen have done very well at Knoxville and elsewhere. Wouldn't it be nice for an Aussie to win the Nationals one day? :clap: :clap: One record, I believe, is already held by Australia: Melinda Dumesny, Max's wife, was the first woman driver to ever compete at Knoxville, if I'm not very mistaken, and she didn't disgrace herself, either!

Sadly, apart from a couple of Canadians here and there, that's about as international as it gets, since dirt track racing is confined to motor bikes elsewhere on this planet. :(

#38 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 22:58

But I bet they weren't heavy and damp when Ted brought his show to town. Dirt tracks will tend (especially in the hot summer) to dry slick over anyway. They don't really need help by parking the water truck early.

I don't like a heavy track. They hook up better on a tacky track. One of the best Sprint car races I ever saw was at Devil's Bowl with a very light, fine mist falling all night. It kept the track alive (Devil's Bowl is very good at preparing a track and it doesn't dry slick as bad as some others anyway) Kinser started from pole and was running away. Stevie Smith (when he was in the Al Hamilton car) finally cleared traffic and ran Kinser down from 1/2 a track and passed him for the win. Man, was he flying. That wouldn't have happened on a dry slick track.


Spring Nationals, March 21 in 1992?  ;)

#39 Chris Frizell

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:35

I have watched US sprintcar racing on TV and find it boring. Black slick tracks that are really half throttle only, and just drive around and around keping momentum.And hope the tyres dont blow out.And the constant restarts are so frustrating.
Aussie racing is tending to go that way too, a reason I seldom bother these days.
Sprinters should run on hooky clay tracks, then they are spectacular. If you want to run on black tracks go play on bitumen


Lee, IMHO they should give the clay away and go back to the dolomite tracks of old, there is nothing on the planet more exciting than seeing a Sprintcar completely sideways at full tilt, leaning in to the turn, the big wing pushing her over till she is on the bump stops...clay is good for crashes and wheel stands, but for close bare knuckle wheel to wheel racing nothing compares to a dirt track with little clay on it...you would remember seeing Ol No 88 "Suddenly" flat strap sideways at Rowley Park, hiking the inside wheel, with no wing either, with the "Wizard" passing everyone from the back of the field and beating them all...now that was racing...and they would go the full distance too without a stoppage...

I remember going to the Easter Sprintcar Trail years ago, Speedway Park, Mt Gambier, Warnambool and Bendigo...now that Bendigo half mile track was unreal, on a cold Easter night they were going that fast they were leaving contrails off the wings, close and fast racing that had your heart in your mouth as a spectator, they were inches from disaster...I reckon Kinser and Danny Smith were there, I saw them all race many times in Oz....and Kinser was the best by a country mile, even the great Garry Rush was no match for him...

Bring back the good old days...and speaking of that, is their a classic speedway movement in Oz yet?

Chris

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#40 RStock

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:47

Sadly, apart from a couple of Canadians here and there, that's about as international as it gets, since dirt track racing is confined to motor bikes elsewhere on this planet. :(


If you are talking strictly Knoxville Nationals, that might be correct, but there is some Sprint car racing in South Africa, and I believe a few drivers from there have competed here. I know quite a few Americans have competed there. There was once a team headed by Roger Rager than went to SA to compete.

#41 RStock

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:49

Spring Nationals, March 21 in 1992? ;)


Ummm...Maybe, as I'm sure I was there, but I seem to recall this was a one night WOO point race, which wouldn't have been the Spring Nationals.

It's been awhile though, and I've slept since then, so....

Edited by RStock, 28 August 2012 - 03:49.


#42 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:58

Yes! Aussie drivers like Garry Rush, Max Dumesny, Brooke Tatnell, Garry Brazier, Jaymie Moyle, Skip Jackson or Kerry Madsen have done very well at Knoxville and elsewhere. Wouldn't it be nice for an Aussie to win the Nationals one day? :clap: :clap: One record, I believe, is already held by Australia: Melinda Dumesny, Max's wife, was the first woman driver to ever compete at Knoxville, if I'm not very mistaken, and she didn't disgrace herself, either!

Sadly, apart from a couple of Canadians here and there, that's about as international as it gets, since dirt track racing is confined to motor bikes elsewhere on this planet. :(

Melinda Dumesny nee Moore has had Sprintcars around her all her life. Her father, Sid Moore was a decent competitor and owner too. I think he owned the car that she ran in Australia at least. And yes she was an honest operator. Both their son and daughter are racing now, Mitchell has won some big races and the daughter [whose name escapes me ATM] has been running Wingless Sprints seemingly competitivly.
Though there is quite a few girls doing well in lower categories at the moment.

#43 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 21:57

Ummm...Maybe, as I'm sure I was there, but I seem to recall this was a one night WOO point race, which wouldn't have been the Spring Nationals.

It's been awhile though, and I've slept since then, so....


You may be right here, as I was merely guessing that Devil's Bowl in March had to be the Spring Nationals (this was the only win I had for the Smith/Hamilton combo at the track). The WoO sometimes ran a week before or after the Spring Nationals. Not sure what was the deal there, but it happened at least once - guess I was adding two and two to get five... :blush:

And yes, you're right about South Africa - I simply forgot.

Melinda Dumesny nee Moore has had Sprintcars around her all her life. Her father, Sid Moore was a decent competitor and owner too. I think he owned the car that she ran in Australia at least. And yes she was an honest operator. Both their son and daughter are racing now, Mitchell has won some big races and the daughter [whose name escapes me ATM] has been running Wingless Sprints seemingly competitivly.
Though there is quite a few girls doing well in lower categories at the moment.


Michaela :)

Edited by Michael Ferner, 28 August 2012 - 21:58.


#44 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 22:44

You may be right here, as I was merely guessing that Devil's Bowl in March had to be the Spring Nationals (this was the only win I had for the Smith/Hamilton combo at the track). The WoO sometimes ran a week before or after the Spring Nationals. Not sure what was the deal there, but it happened at least once - guess I was adding two and two to get five... :blush:

And yes, you're right about South Africa - I simply forgot.



Michaela :)

Thats it. A seniors moment!!

#45 RStock

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 02:12

You may be right here, as I was merely guessing that Devil's Bowl in March had to be the Spring Nationals (this was the only win I had for the Smith/Hamilton combo at the track). The WoO sometimes ran a week before or after the Spring Nationals. Not sure what was the deal there, but it happened at least once - guess I was adding two and two to get five... :blush:

And yes, you're right about South Africa - I simply forgot.



Michaela :)


Thinking about it, I remember it being pretty cool that night. Around that time, other than The Spring and Winter nationals, the Outlaws only came through in August, and cool and rainy sure as hell isn't Texas weather in August.

And 92 was the year Stevie would have won the championship if it weren't for that pesky Kinser guy.


#46 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 16:22

Thinking about it, I remember it being pretty cool that night. Around that time, other than The Spring and Winter nationals, the Outlaws only came through in August, and cool and rainy sure as hell isn't Texas weather in August.

And 92 was the year Stevie would have won the championship if it weren't for that pesky Kinser guy.


That got me thinking. As we all (should) know, the WoO saw only five different drivers and four teams win the championship in its first twenty years. Actually, I think the current figures for 35 years aren't that much different - add three drivers and what, four teams? Anyway, the "number two men" club was a little bit more diverse, with all five champions finishing runner-up at least once, and drivers like Rick Ferkel, Doug Wolfgang, Brad Doty, Jeff Swindell and Jac Haudenschild joining the fray. And Wolfie's presence alone makes sure that the number of teams skyrockets out of sight, as he drove for at least eight different ones in the four years he was the best of the rest. More diversity, still, when looking at number three: Bobby Allen, Lee James (I'd forgotten all about him!), Shane Carson, Ron Shuman, Cris Eash, Joe Gaerte and Andy Hillenburg. It was not always a one-man show!

#47 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 21:28

Also in the mix was Sammy Swindell who raced down here last season and went home with the New Zealand Sprint Car Championship
I was lucky to be able to attend the 1981 Knoxville Nationals [ the last non wing Nationals ]

#48 RStock

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 21:33

That got me thinking. As we all (should) know, the WoO saw only five different drivers and four teams win the championship in its first twenty years. Actually, I think the current figures for 35 years aren't that much different - add three drivers and what, four teams? Anyway, the "number two men" club was a little bit more diverse, with all five champions finishing runner-up at least once, and drivers like Rick Ferkel, Doug Wolfgang, Brad Doty, Jeff Swindell and Jac Haudenschild joining the fray. And Wolfie's presence alone makes sure that the number of teams skyrockets out of sight, as he drove for at least eight different ones in the four years he was the best of the rest. More diversity, still, when looking at number three: Bobby Allen, Lee James (I'd forgotten all about him!), Shane Carson, Ron Shuman, Cris Eash, Joe Gaerte and Andy Hillenburg. It was not always a one-man show!


Very true. Kinser's championship and race win numbers are skewed since many of those guys, including the top two challengers Swindell and Wolfgang were not as dedicated to WOO as Kinser was and often pulled off the trail to cherry pick. But Kinser was always there. Wolfgang once said about the WOO championship, "You could win 100 of them and it ain't going to do much for you."

And it really hasn't done a lot for Kinser, other than a ride at Indy (in which I thought he acquitted himself quite well, despite what Elisio Salazar thought.) plus some seat time in NASCAR and IROC.

Still, I'm no Kinser fan but you have to give the devil his due. There were other guys running full time with WOO that had lots of talent and money but they couldn't beat him. And Sammy and Doug did run full years at times, and Kinser still beat them.


#49 Michael Ferner

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 16:23

Yes, Kinser was VERY dedicated to the WoO, to the tune that he hardly ever missed a race in 35 years, except for 1989 and '95 when he had other business to attend to. And that's saying something, considering that there are about seventy WoO races each and every year!! The way the WoO scores races, that was always an essential part of Kinser's domination. I recall doing some sort of an "audit" of different scoring methods in the mid to late nineties, comparing the value of 5th place finishes to wins.

Starting with FIA F1, where five 5th place finishes equalled one win, which I always found a rather "correct" ratio.

In CART, it took ten 5th place finishes to equal five wins, somewhat less competition encouraging, I felt.

But in IRL, the ratio was about seven 5th place finishes to six wins, the ultimate "plodder formula", I thought.

Yet, in WoO, only fifteen 5th place finshes will equal fourteen wins! Better still, if you retire on the first lap to "finish" last three times, you will score more points than by winning twice!! And the ultimate idiosyncrasy, if you merely show up "ready to qualify" twice, that will pay the same amount of points as one outright win!!!

There are, of course, somewhat valid reasons for this peculiar scoring system, what with the immense competition amongst US Sprint Car sanctioning bodies and race promoters, but it illustrates the point very well: if you do not follow the WoO circus almost religiously, there's no way in the world you are going to win that championship. That's what Kinser did, year in, year out, and what Sammy and especially Wolfie were rather reluctant to comply with.

Having said all that, Kinser's statistics are still EXTREMELY impressive! For one thing, he had an almost unbelievable finishing record. True, Sprint Car races are just that, "sprints", so there shouldn't be much reason to not finish a race that is over in less than ten minutes (except for the almost inevitable yellow and red flags, that is!). Yet, in reality, Sprints are extremly high-strung machinery in these days, running in the most difficult conditions imaginable, and they do break down every once in a while, especially if the driver "leans on it". And, more to the point, trying to navigate a racing car (with the power and weight comparable to a Grand Prix car) around a rutted dirt track of mostly 400 to 800 metres in length, with twenty-three almost identical machines in close company, is no kindergarten business - crashes are an almost inevitable byproduct of this type of racing, even for the very best.

Then you look at Kinser's results, and see that he has almost as many seconds, thirds and fourths as wins! Every now and then, he would have an "off day", and finish only 6th, 7th or 8th, but very rarely did he not finish an event, either by accident or mechanical failure. And, he did "cherry pick", too! Apart from his 500+ WoO wins, he has about fifty or more All-Star wins, and won in USAC, CRA and many open competition events. And, most of all, no other driver even remotely approaches the number of "big ones" that Kinser has won, those events where every name driver is present because of the prestige and the money: he holds individual record number of wins not only for the Knoxville Nationals, but also for the Williams Grove National Open, the Gold Cup Race of Champions, the Western World Championships, the King's Royal, the Historical Big One, etc., etc., etc. East, West, North, South, Quartermile, Halfmile, even the Syracuse Nationals on the full mile at the New York State Fairgrounds - Kinser has won them all, and more often than any other driver. About the only Sprint Car feat that is missing in his portfolio is the unique double that his predecessor as driver of Karl Kinser's fast cars, Dick Gaines, managed: Knoxville, and the "Little 500". But pavement, that's another story for Steve...

Edited by Michael Ferner, 30 August 2012 - 16:29.


#50 jjordan

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:44

As talented as Steve is as a driver, I am surprised that it took 49 posts before anyone mentioned the "secret"of many of those wins: Karl Kinser. No one that I have ever seen more gifted as a sprint car tuner than Karl.