A Solid Season for Kraig Kinser in 2012 with Four World of Outlaws WinsBy Official Release
“We made a lot of strides this year as a team and had a really good year,” said Kinser. “You always want to win a few more races, especially when you have high expectations like we do, but we had four wins against a great caliber of drivers, so you can’t complain about that. We ran well in most of the big races and found a few areas we still need to work on and like everything in racing, it’s a work in progress. All in all, it was a good year in the No. 11K and we have a lot to build on for next season.”
Kinser opened the 2012 campaign with a runner-up finish with the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida during the DIRTcar Nationals. He would finish eighth and then fourth on the second and third nights of the World of Outlaws season, which began a stretch of seven straight top-10 finishes for the third-generation driver. Kinser qualified fifth in the finale at Volusia, which marked the first of nine consecutive races where he was among the top-10 in time trials.
“It’s always important to start the season on a good note in Florida and we were able to do that this year,” he noted. “We were really good the first night at Volusia with the All Stars and then the last two nights with the Outlaws. That gave us some good momentum heading west in the early part of the season.”
The 2005 winner of the Knoxville Nationals had a strong early season West Coast Swing, picking up top-10 finishes in all five races, highlighted by a third-place finish at Merced Speedway in California. He earned his first fast time honor of the season during the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico and followed that up with another quick time at Merced. Kinser would head back to the Midwest fifth in points. Around this time, Hendrickcars.com came on-board as the primary sponsor of Kinser’s No. 11K.
A podium finish at Farmer City Speedway in Illinois, vaulted the native of Bloomington, Ind., to third in points. After some bad luck during the first East Coast swing of the season, including suffering a flat tire while running second at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York, Kinser wrapped that part of the schedule up with a fifth-place finish at Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland.
This would be the start of Kinser’s strongest stretch of the season, scoring four wins within a four week period, while finishing among the top-10 in 14 of 16 races. The 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner finished fourth at the Dirt Track at Charlotte with the cameras from SPEED rolling, and carried that momentum into an event on Memorial Day in his home state of Indiana at Lawrenceburg Speedway, where he would lead a couple of laps and finish second, following a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel with eventual winner Chad Kemenah.
Two races later Kinser picked up his first win of the season at the historic Kokomo Speedway in Indiana, taking the lead on the second lap and leading the final 39 circuits. Three races later he would return to Victory Lane, this time at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, taking the top spot from his father Steve on lap-34 at the high-banked bullring.
“The win at Kokomo really set things in motion for the next month,” he shared. “We were up front just about every race for a few weeks after that and were timing in fast as well and were putting ourselves in a position to contend each night. With how tough the competition is, putting yourself in a good position is a big part of the battle. That was an amazing month for sure.”
A fifth-place showing in the World of Outlaws first race at the re-vamped Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, N.D., would give Kinser plenty of momentum heading into the Boothill Showdown at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas. He would set fast time in the opener of the two-night event and would win the dash and lead all 30 laps of the finale to score his third win of the season.
Kinser would pace the field for the first six laps at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas a couple of races later en route to a runner-up finish. He would earn seventh and sixth-place finishes respectively at Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota and Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin, on the way to his fourth win of the season at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin. Kraig would again take the lead from his dad on his way to earning his fourth win of the year.
“That was a great stretch of races we had during that month,” he noted. “We really hit on a few things and it seemed like no matter what track we went to, we were up front and contending for the win each and every night.”
Kinser would open the “Month of Money” at Eldora Speedway with a ninth-place finish in the Knight Before the Kings Royal. In the Kings Royal the following night, he would power his way from the 23rd starting spot to finish fifth, earning the KSE Hard Charger Award, after racing his way into the main event via the B-main.
Continuing the “Month of Money” with the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway, an event that was shortened to a single day due to rain, Kinser finished fourth, which marked his best-career finish at the historic half-mile in Central Pennsylvania. A trip to Canada concluded the second East Coast Swing of the season, with the 28-year-old finishing fifth at Autodrome Drummond, seventh at Cornwall Motor Speedway and fifth at Ohsweken Speedway, where he set fast time.
Up next was an event at Bloomington Speedway, Kinser’s home track, where he would finish seventh. After the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Park Raceway in Pevely, Mo., was rained out, just as the feature was being pushed off, Kinser headed to Knoxville Raceway for the 52nd Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals. The 2005 winner of sprint car racing’s biggest event would take to the track on the second qualifying night, finishing fourth, which put him in a good position for the finale on Saturday night. He would line up ninth for the 50-lap event and come home fourth.
“We didn’t quite have the ‘Month of Money’ we were hoping for, but we had a great Nationals,” noted Kinser. “We had a good car all week and were able to make gains each time we hit the track and really had a good set-up for Saturday night. With all the cars that were there, we were thrilled with a fourth-place finish.”
After picking up a trio of top-10 finishes during the second West Coast swing of the season, including a ninth-place finish on the second night of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., Kinser headed back to the Heartland for the stretch run of the 2012 season. He would sixth at both Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota and Eagle Raceway in Nebraska.
The final East Coast swing of the season was up next, with Kinser coming home ninth in the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania. The following weekend, he would garner a seventh-place showing on the opening night of the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway, while also racing his way into the main event the following night.
Kinser would wrap up the 2012 World of Outlaws campaign with four straight top-five finishes, including a pair on Oct. 13 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, as the Ironman 55 and Spring Classic were both completed on the same day. The season would come to an end for Kinser in the backyard of his primary sponsor Hendrickcars.com at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in the PEAK Motor Oil World Finals Presented by NAPA Auto Parts. He finished third on the opening night of the marquee event and was fourth in the finale with all the action being carried live on SPEED.
“We seemed to hit our stride again at the end of the season,” Kinser said. “We had a tough stretch in the summer and worked really hard to get back to where we were earlier in the season. With how well we ran the last handful of races this year, I really didn’t want to see the season end. We have plenty to work on in the off-season and learned quite a bit that should help us next year.”
On the final stat sheet, Kinser was victorious four times in the Hendrickcars.com Maxim, while earning 46 top-10 finishes, of which 22 were top-five performances. He was tied for the fifth-most wins in the series, was fourth in fast time honors, earned the fourth-most bonus points in qualifying for being among the top-five in time trials and was seventh in laps led in the final tally. For Kinser, the sixth-place finish in points was his third straight among the top-10 and the sixth time in his career he has been in the top-10.
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