Knoxville Tribute Fit for a King

Steve Kinser

Yesterday in front of the FVP "Winged Nation" stage behind the main grandstands, Kinser unveiled a special spectrachrome paint scheme he will race this weekend. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa - Steve Kinser's "Salute to the King" tour rolls into Knoxville where the 20-time World of Outlaws champion has captured 12 checkered flags in sprint car's most prestigious race, the Knoxville Nationals.

Kinser is being honored in different ways this week as he gets set to make his final start in the Nationals as a full-time competitor on the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series circuit. Yesterday in front of the FVP "Winged Nation" stage behind the main grandstands, Kinser unveiled a special spectrachrome paint scheme he will race this weekend along with receiving the keys to a custom Bad Boy Buggies vehicle. Also, Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch announced that he's proclaimed Saturday as "Steve Kinser Day."

"It's always fun to come to the Nationals," Kinser said. "It's the biggest payday. The atmosphere is always pretty big here so it's always a lot of enjoyment to come here."

Steve KinserThe National Sprint Car Hall of Fame located just outside Turn 2 at Knoxville Raceway is paying tribute to Kinser this season with a featured exhibition with seven of Kinser's sprint cars including his "Superman" car and his 2002 championship green Quaker State car. A number of Kinser's uniforms are also on display along with the helmet he wore when he won his 500th career race on March 27, 2004 at Houston Raceway Park.

Kinser, who won five straight Nationals from 1991-95, says its hard to pick from the 12 which one stands out the most. 

"You enjoy every National you win," said Kinser, who last won the Nationals in 2002. "I don't know if any one stands out. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a last lap pass or whatever it is. When you stand on the podium with checkered flag they are all special."

But one of Kinser's highlights in the Nationals came when he personally didn't take the checkered flag. Steve's son, Kraig, won the race in 2005 behind the wheel of one his cars over now seven-time Nationals winner Donny Schatz. Steve Kinser

"That was actually one of the big thrills for me to watch him win in my racecar," Kinser said. "Even though he was a straightaway or a little more ahead of me I sat there and watched quite a bit of it. And anytime you've got Donny right behind you for him to win that race it's something that is always going to be with him. A lot of people try to win this race."

Along with Knoxville, Kinser has been overwhelmed with the support from the fans this year at every stop on the schedule during his "Salute to the King" tour.

"We have had a lot of things with the fans and the media and everybody else," Kinser said. "A lot of towns and cities that recognize it. The people have been really great. I have enjoyed it."

All of Kinser’s fellow competitors know what he’s meant to the sport of sprint car racing, including Joey Saldana, who drives the No. 71m for Motter Motorsports.

“I think we wouldn’t race for the money we are racing for if it wasn’t for Steve Kinser,” Saldana said. “We all couldn’t be professional sprint car drivers if it wasn’t for Steve Kinser - he's definitely paved the road for us. I don’t think it’s the end of Steve Kinser. I think there is a lot of Steve Kinser yet to come. I think this is just a stepping stone for Steve.

“He's a legend...he's just a huge talent to sprint car racing. He's our Michael Jordan. It's just an honor to be on the race track with him.”

As for if this will be Kinser's last Nationals...

"I can't answer that right now," Kinser said. "I won’t make any of those decisions until the end of the year. But if I do race this would be a race I would have to come to I would think.

"This whole season has felt good. For me I've got a passion for racing and with growing up around a racing family, I just wish I could do it forever. Sometimes your eyes and other things tell you it's maybe time to not do it. I still feel like I can get the job done. I'm sure I need to probably spend the winter knocking off some weight and stuff."

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, Steve Kinser

Race Center

Photos

  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • 54th Knoxville Nationals
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular
  • Weld Racing Go-Kart Spectacular

Advertisement

  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites