The King Takes Hollywood Hills Preliminary

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SAN FELIPE PUEBLO, NM (November 2) – Steve Kinser moved ever closer to clinching his 17th Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship Saturday by winning his third straight feature race at Hollywood Hills Speedway.

“The King of the Outlaws,” who swept the features March 10th when the series christened the new facility, passed pole-sitter Donny Schatz late in the 14th lap and held off cousin Mark Kinser to win his fifth Preliminary Feature of the season.

“We’ve had a good year, and getting a win is a great way to finish up the season,” Kinser said. “We just want to avoid trouble and win a championship. My guys have just done a tremendous job all year long, and we look forward to wrapping things up next week (Friday and Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway).

Kinser, the eighth-fastest qualifier in the 48-car field, finished fifth in the First Heat Race and earned the right to start the 25-lap feature outside the front row by winning his 18th O’Reilly Auto Parts Dash of the year. Schatz, who won his series-leading 24th heat race of the season, started the feature on the pole after winning the First O’Reilly Auto Parts Dash.

Schatz drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J into the lead as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature. Brad Furr and Craig Dollansky exchanged fifth place during the first two laps before Tim Shaffer lost 13th place when he spun in turn four.

Fast qualifier Joey Saldana passed both Furr and Dollansky with an inside move between the third and fourth corners late in lap four. Danny Wood collided with several cars in turn four the next time around, bringing out the caution flag. Wood’s crew was unable to repair the damage to the front end of the #6 Casey’s General Stores Maxim in time for him to restart the race.

Furr and Second Heat Race winner Stevie Smith passed Saldana for fifth and sixth place during the eighth and 10th laps.

Schatz was .09 seconds ahead of Kinser when he entered lapped traffic late in lap 12. “The King of the Outlaws” gained on the 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year in lapped traffic for two laps before taking the lead deep in the fourth corner. Mark Kinser, Steve’s second cousin, passed Schatz for the runner-up spot in the same place late in lap 16.

Saldana regained sixth place with an inside move past Smith in turn four the next time around, but lost the position several seconds later when he collided with Jeremy Campbell on the back straightaway. Fuel pump trouble on TH Racing’s #1X K&C Drywall Eagle forced Randy Hannagan into the pits during the caution period.

Danny Lasoski, Furr and Smith passed Schatz during the 19th and 21st laps.

Kinser was 2.9 seconds ahead of cousin Mark when he caught the back-markers early in lap 24. Tim Shaffer lost 13th place again when he collided with Ricky Logan and spun on the back straightaway with 1½ laps remaining, setting up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag.

“The King of the Outlaws” controlled the final restart, and drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim under the checkered flag with two seconds to spare.

“I was looking for something up top in (turns) one and two in case we got into trouble with traffic on the low side,” Kinser said. “I just wanted to see if I could hold my own up there.”

Lasoski finished in third place, ahead of Furr, Smith, Schatz, Dollansky, Fourth Heat Race winner Tyler Walker, Shane Stewart and Jac Haudenschild.

Daryn Pittman, who suffered a back injury in a crash at Hollywood Hills Speedway in March, qualified second quick but collided with Johnny Herrera while battling for the lead in the Second Heat Race. The 2001 World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion won the “B” Feature and drove the #21 Hop & Sac J&J into 11th place from inside the ninth row in the evening’s main event. Pittman also moved into 11th place in the point standings, passing Danny Wood.

Saldana, who leads the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series with 21 fast times, paced the qualifying session with a 104.497 M.P.H. lap around Hollywood Hills’ semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval.

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