Bloomington, Ind.— Last weekend, Kraig Kinser visited a track he had been to before, but this time it had been reconfigured a little bit. This weekend, that same situation will present itself as the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series West Coast swing continues at a track that is relatively new to the series, Antioch Speedway, and one that has been around since the early days of the Outlaws, Calistoga Speedway, which recently received a major makeover.
The pair of races this weekend begins for Kinser in the Casey’s General Store/Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim on Friday, April 5 at Antioch Speedway in Antioch, Calif., and is followed by a trip to Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif., on Saturday, April 6.
“We are definitely looking forward to getting back to the track after the tough go we had at Merced (Speedway) last weekend,” said Kinser. “We’ve been consistent in both races at Antioch the last two years and have always been pretty good at Calistoga. It will be good to get a couple of races in this weekend.”
Kinser finished 10th at Antioch Speedway last fall in the World of Outlaws second-ever appearance at the high-banked, three-eighths-mile. The third-generation driver was eighth-fastest in time trials of the 27 drivers that hit the track. He lined up on the outside of the front row in the second eight-lap heat race and won that contest to earn a spot in the dash, where he finished eighth. Kinser made his debut at Antioch Speedway in 2011, finishing 10th in the 30-lap A-Feature.
“Antioch can be a pretty fast track and you can get some momentum going around the top there,” he noted. “Qualifying and track position have been pretty important this season, especially in feature events, so our first goal for the weekend is to qualify well at Antioch and put ourselves in a good position in the heat race and then we can go from there.”
The native of Bloomington, Ind., finished ninth at Calistoga Speedway last season to earn his fourth career top-10 finish at the historic half-mile located in the scenic wine country of the Napa Valley in Northern California. Kinser was sixth-fastest in time trials at the high-speed oval and finished fourth in the third eight-lap heat race. He started 12th in the 25-lap main event and steadily worked his way forward to finish ninth.
Kinser has made seven career starts at Calistoga Speedway with the World of Outlaws dating back to 2004, when he finished a career-best seventh at the half-mile. He set fast time during the opener of the Harvest Classic in 2005. Kinser has qualified among the top-10 in six of his seven World of Outlaws starts at Calistoga.
“It’s going to be interesting to see the changes to the track at Calistoga,” he noted. “That’s always been a big, flat and wide open track. Hot laps will certainly be important to get a baseline and get a feel for it, especially with the banking they have added. Traditionally, we’ve been fast early in the night at Calistoga, so hopefully that’s the case this time around.”
With 11 races complete thus far in 2013, Kinser is currently 11th in points, just one market out of the top-10. He has five top-10 finishes this year, including a season-best third-place performance on the second night of the season at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.