NASCAR & Auto Racing

World of Outlaws’ Kinser not quite ready to hang up the helmet

Steve Kinser is quite ready to get away from all the travel that’s involved with driving full-time on the World of Outlaws sprint car series.

However, Kinser isn’t ready to give up racing altogether.

While this weekend’s World of Outlaws World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the 60-year-old Kinser’s last as a full-time driver, don’t expect him to hang up the fire suit and helmet completely.

“I might run a limited schedule – we haven’t decided all of that yet,” said Kinser, who announced in December 2013 that he was racing one more season full time. “I don’t know how many (races) I’ll run yet. I really haven’t made a decision yet. It’s still going through my head.”

Kinser’s name has become synonymous with the World of Outlaws. Since the series began in 1978, Kinser has won 20 series championships and 578 feature races, including a record 12 wins in the Knoxville Nationals and seven in the Kings Royal at Eldora.

“Back when I first started, I had only driven sprint cars for a year-and-a-half,” Kinser said. “My thoughts on racing were to just race local tracks on the weekends, and have a job I could work through the week.

“I never dreamed I could make a living doing it, and do all the things I’ve been able to do. It’s given me a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things. On top of that, I’ve made a pretty good living with something I enjoy doing.”

While winning a 21st title is out of the question now – he’s eighth in points, more than 1,500 points behind Tony Stewart Racing teammate and five-time series champ Donny Schatz – Kinser wouldn’t mind ending this season with a win.

“As a race driver, you never want it to be over,” Kinser said. “You’ve been in that competition and enjoyed the sport so much, it’s hard for a race driver to give up the sport and retire. But nobody can do it forever. That’s just part of life.”

SPECIAL HONOR FOR KINSER: In honor of Kinser’s upcoming retirement as a full-time driver, officials at Charlotte Motor Speedway have planned a special presentation Friday.

The presentation by CMS president and general manager Marcus Smith will be held at 2:45 p.m. at the Dirt Track’s vendor midway area. It is open to the public.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: While the points titles have pretty much been settled in the World of Outlaws’ sprint car and late model divisions, that’s not the case in the Super DIRTcar big-block modifieds series.

Entering this weekend’s races, three-time series champion Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., holds a one-point lead over two-time champ Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y. (1,516-1,515), with seven-time and defending series champ Brett Hearn 52 points back (1,464).

With points awarded for qualifying and heat-race finishes, as well as in the feature races, the Super DIRTcar title could come down to the final lap of Saturday’s 40-lap A-Feature race.