Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 15

The King tried proving last night that he's still got it. You've got to admit that Steve Kinser hasn't had a very good season this year so far by his standards. Up until last night, Kinser only had two World of Outlaws feature victories this season, at Williams Grove and Rolling Wheels. But, that all changed last night as the "Month of Money" is upon us in Sprint Car racing. This past Sunday night Daryn Pittman took his first win of the year with the Outlaws to win the Kings Royal, and last night, Steve Kinser broke through for a $40,000 victory in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville (the best track in the country). This win means a lot for Kinser because he was way off the pace in wins this season. Donny Schatz has 10 wins, and Jason Meyers and Craig Dollansky both have 6 wins. The King is definitely much older than what he was when he won all of his WoO championships, and he still may be washed up to a certain degree, but there is no denying that Kinser is the greatest Sprint Car driver to ever strap into a winged 410. He still has the talent to pick up big wins like this. He will be a threat at the Knoxville Nationals in a couple of weeks. There is no doubt that Donny Schatz is the favorite for that race though.

Speaking of Donny Schatz, he looked very human last night. If it was 2007 and Schatz was starting on the outside pole of the dash, you could mark up a dominating feature victory for the 2-time and defending Outlaws champion. That wasn't the case at all though, as Schatz fell back to 5th in the Dash, and then got a break when Craig Dollansky broke running in the top 5. He passed Jason Meyers and ended up finishing second, but it just wasn't his night. This night belonged to The King.

A couple of the Pennsylvania guys that went up didn't do too bad. Greg Hodnett and Jeff Shepard escaped with good runs at Lernerville. More PA guys than ususal showed up, and that is definitely not a bad thing. Hodnett, Shepard, Fred Rahmer, Chad Layton, and Lance Dewease, who I consider an All Star, but a lot of the PA fans still cling onto Dewease the same way they try to hang onto Lucas Wolfe, who is now running with the Outlaws, but is recovering from a back injury. The fact of the matter is, when you decide to run a series, or go out on the road full time, you are no longer a member of the Pennsylvania Posse. You are just a touring driver that cut his teeth in Pennsylvania. Dewease and Wolfe are not the first guys in the history of Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car racing to travel with either the Outlaws or the All Stars. Greg Hodnett came home in 8th, and Jeff Shepard took the checkers with a 10th place run last night at Lernerville. That's good runs for both of those guys, but it doesn't mean that Hodnett has turned around his season just yet. Three wins is not good enough for Hodnett at this point in time of the season. He knows he should be running much better. I will reserve judgment on Hodnett until a couple weeks after the Outlaws come through here. Why?, because just because you can run good in a time trial show, does not mean you will always run good in a handicapped show at Williams Grove, Lincoln, or Port Royal. He's got Port Royal figured out, he won there last Saturday night from 8th, but he has struggled at the Grove (NO WINS). If he runs good at Williams Grove this weekend for the Summer Nationals, don't think that he's out of the woods just yet. Fred Rahmer and Chad Layton did not run so hot last night. They both qualified, Fast Freddie charged to take the final transfer in the B-Main, and Layton passed Fritz to take the final transfer in their heat race. As good as Rahmer has been running in PA, you would have thought that he would have run better at Lernerville (he's won a WoO race there before, albeit, in better times). Rahmer came home in 11th. Dewease started 7th in his heat and was running 4th (the top 5 transfer), when he got together with Hodnett and was taken out of the race. It ruined the rest of his night, he didn't qualify.

In other action last night, Rambo Franklin defeated Chris Madden on the Southern Nationals tour at Cherokee. Rambo started 5th, and Madden was on the pole (set quick time again), which means every lap was not lead by one person this time. Madden fell back to 5th in the final feature rundown. Casey Roberts was second, Furman Parton ran third, and Tony Knowles ran 5th. Congrats to Rambo on taking the win from 5th, but the format starts 5th. When the top 10 guys in time trials don't have to run heat races, and get to start heads up in the feature, there are problems. D.J. Myers and Brian Booze struggled early on at least at Cherokee. They both ran 6th in B-Main #1 and B-Main #2 respectively. Myers turned it around though as he won the Hard Charger award running 12th after starting 21st. Not a great finish, but he did pass a lot of cars. Booze came home in 16th. For anyone who might say, well at least they qualified, there were 26 cars there, and everyone qualified. There were not many cars at Wythe either, but I think the Southern Nationals car counts will pick up once the weekend rolls around.

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