WEST LEBANON, N.Y. — The ‘King’ of the World of Outlaws, and arguably of sprint car racing anywhere in the United States, is officially hanging up his helmet.
Steve Kinser, a 20-time champion of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and winner of virtually every major sprint car race in North America, announced on the frontstretch following Monday night’s Arctic Cat All Stars Circuit of Champions main event at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York that it was “more than likely” his final sprint car race.
Kinser, 62, has won some of the most storied prizes in the history of the sport. He won the inaugural Outlaws crown in 1978 and followed that title up with 19 more between 1979 and 2005, including a stretch of 11 in 12 seasons between 1983 and 1994.
He also won the Knoxville Nationals (known as ‘The Granddaddy of Them All’ in sprint car circles) a record 12 times as part of a whopping 577 Outlaws A-Feature victories, a mark that stands alone as the most in series history, and also claimed 12 Gold Cup Race of Champions wins at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California and seven King’s Royal wins at Eldora Speedwayamong his many accolades.
Kinser also won the 2006 National Sprint Tour championship during a one-year hiatus from the Outlaws schedule.
In recent years, the veteran had cut back his racing efforts, competing in his last full-time Outlaws season in 2014 and only racing part-time last season. Kinser scored a pair of victories during his part-time tour and had raced in a handful of starts this year before his announcement on Monday night.
His last All Stars win at I-96 Speedway in Michigan came exactly one year prior to his retirement announcement, on Aug. 22, 2015.
Over more than 30 years in motorsports, Kinser also found success outside of sprint car racing. He was the first sprint car driver to ever be invited to compete with in the International Race of Champions (IROC) field, winning an IROC race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1994, and made five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts during the 1995 season driving for legendary drag racer Kenny Bernstein. His best Cup finish was 27th at Rockingham Speedway.
Kinser even competed in the 1997 Indianapolis 500, coming home 14th in his only Indy car start.
A quiet native of Bloomington, Indiana, Kinser leaves a legacy on all of motorsports that is unmatched and will likely never be equaled in the modern era.
His son Kraig will continue to compete on the All Stars Circuit of Champions in a Steve Kinser Racing/Arctic Cat No. 11K. Kraig won the Knoxville Nationals in his own right in 2005.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Race Chaser Online: email@example.com
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews