Kinser not slowin' down

Steve Kinser runs around the top of the track during Friday night’s World of Outlaws event at...

Steve Kinser runs around the top of the track during Friday night’s World of Outlaws event at Castrol Raceway.

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:50 AM ET

There’s no doughnut marks on his lawn.

No, his lawnmower isn’t a mini sprint car.

“No, nothing quite like that,” Steve Kinser said earlier this week about how he was spending a precious day off in Indiana before heading to Edmonton for the fourth annual Oil City Cup. “But I have a couple different ones.

“I have some property down by the lake, so I was just getting some things done — fixing up, clearing up. I don’t get home very often to do this stuff.”

Kinser is talking years, not days. His career is already Hall of Fame in the world of sprint car racing. He is the mack-daddy of his sport.

Think Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR.

Think Jackie Stewart and Michael Schumacher in Formula One.

Think John Force in drag racing.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be with some really good race teams, including my own. So I’ve been around for a long time and had some success.”

Some?

How about being a 20-time champ?

How about the 1978 championship, which saw Kinser win 46 features, including 12 in a row. He matched the 46 wins in 1987.

How about 12 wins at the Knoxville Nationals, the mack-daddy of sprint car races?

Kinser has also raced in NASCAR. A crash ended his bid to race in his all-but-hometown Indianapolis 500 in 1981, but he finished 14th there at the age of 42, in 1997.

In 1994 at Talladega Superspeedway, he won the International Race of Champions (IROC) race — the defunct exhibition series that featured top drivers from different series racing identically equipped Trans Ams.

To top it off, how about the dude can kick your ass?

An accomplished wrestler (the traditional Olympics style) and kung fu practitioner, a younger version of himself would probably be the UFC’s next big thing.

At 56, Kinser is still travelling hard on the 70-race World of Outlaws series and still at the top of the pack, breathing hard down the neck of current leader Joey Saldana.

“We’re still in striking distance,” he said.

Ironically, Kinser is also a rookie, since this is his first season racing for NASCAR big-dog Tony Stewart’s sprint car team. He switched seats with his son, slotting into TSR’s No. 11 car while Kraig drives for SKR.

“I’ve known Tony for a long time. We grew up in the same part of the country, about 30 miles apart,” Kinser said.

“Kraig was driving for him last year and (after a successful stint) he started struggling a little bit there, so I thought maybe we’d move some of my guys into (TSR) and put Kraig in my car.

“We thought we could help each other that way, help all three of us.”

So how much methanol is left in the elder Kinser’s tank?

“Nobody’s going to do it forever,” he said. “But right now we’re still running really good, winning races and right in the hunt for the points championship.

“I still enjoy doing it. That’s a decision I’ll have to make some time, but the time’s not right to even worry about that. So we’ll see what happens.”

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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