Kinser Excited for Return to Grandview Speedway this Thursday with the All Starsadmin
Story by: Justin Snyder/PA Sprint Car News
Standing in the pits at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, Steve Kinser eagerly watches as the 410 Sprint cars take to the track for warm-ups during the Knoxville Nationals.
Two years removed from his “Salute to the King” tour where Kinser retired from full-time racing, the 20-time World of Outlaw champion is there now as a spectator and car-owner for his son, Kraig Kinser. With 58 career wins at the historic speedway, 12 of them coming during the illustrious Knoxville Nationals, Kinser knows the track like the back of his hand.
“It’s always great to be out here at Knoxville, “ said Kinser, whose career is memorialized just a stone’s throw from his standing place at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. “The atmosphere is always buzzing, and I always look forward to this weekend.”
Now that Kinser has retired from racing full time, he’s found himself enjoying the less heralded moments that the sport provides. Whether it’s catching up with old friends, giving tips to his son, or spending time with family, the “King of the Outlaws” is truly enjoying retirement.
“After 40 years of traveling up and down the road and racing all the time, It’s certainly been a change, “ said Kinser of his life after racing. “All I ever wanted to do was race since the day I started this thing many years ago. Now that I’m older, there are a few things I’d still like to do, and I’m enjoying that part of life now.”
However, that competitiveness still burns deep inside of the Bloomington, Indiana native.
“I wish I was younger, lighter, and in a little better shape. Maybe I’d still be out there,” said Kinser, who turned 62 in June. “I just got tired of taking all the licks and bangs every night, and it was just time to hang it up. But don’t get me wrong, I still think I could go out and win a few races. I can still hold my own.”
Kinser will get the chance to add to his legendary career 876 Sprint Car victories when he joins Tony Stewart’s Artic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania on August 18th.
In his only Pennsylvania appearance this year, Kinser joins fellow racing legends Sammy Swindell and Kenny Jacobs as they attempt to capture the $5,000 purse for the winner against the Pennsylvania regulars.
This will be the All Stars first visit to Grandview in 16 years. For Kinser, it will be the first time he has raced all year and one of only two scheduled races for him on the 2016 season.
“It’s been quite a while since I’ve run a sprint car at Grandview and when this opportunity came up to run this race I thought that it would be the perfect place to knock a little rust off and have some fun,” said Kinser, who has four career NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill victories at the speedway, with his last coming in 2005. “It’s a fun little track, and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing some racing.”
While “The King” is looking forward to meeting with the faithful Pennsylvania fans and seeing old friends, he is not taking this event lightly and intends to challenge for the victory.
“I still want to get out and run hard every time I hit the race track, and I wouldn’t even unload the car if I didn’t think I had a chance to win,” said Kinser. “If everything aligns and we hit on something, I don’t see any reason why we won’t be sitting in victory lane at the end of the night.”
He is also looking forward to getting the chance to take to the track with his son again. While he’s spent time this year traveling to various events and helping out where he can, there is something special about running side by side with each other.
“This is just a really great opportunity to get back out to Pennsylvania, and it’ll be nice to be on the track racing against Kraig,” said the elder Kinser. “To get out and do some short track racing, especially at a place like Grandview, I’m really looking forward to being out there.”
After many years of visiting Pennsylvania with the World of Outlaws and other traveling series, this will likely be the final time the local fans get the chance to see one of the greatest legends ever to strap into a sprint car.
“I was pretty content not to race at all this year, to be honest,” said Kinser, who also has a race scheduled for Lebanon Valley Speedway. “But this opportunity came up, and I’ve always enjoyed running Grandview and the PA fans are some of the best. So, we are going to do these couple of shows, and I think that will be the end of things for me.”
“I’ll never completely discount it, but I just think it’s time to let some of these younger guys do it now. I’m always going to miss racing, and I’ll always be a part of it to some extent, but hopefully we can go out on top here and put on a great show.”