ROSSBURG, Ohio – In only two simple words, the King, the legend that is Steve Kinser can be fully defined.
After seven appearances on the Eldora Speedway stage as the event champion, King Kinser will add another chapter to his Eldora career on Saturday night, as he crowns the winner of the 34th annual Kings Royal in the role of Royal Sovereign.
“I’m really looking forward to being this year’s Royal Sovereign,” Kinser said. “Eldora Speedway has always been one of my favorites and the Kings Royal is the biggest race of the season at the track. It’s also one of two races every driver wants to win every year.
“When Tony (Stewart) called and asked if I would want to crown this year’s Kings Royal winner, I was pretty surprised – it’s really an honor. When you’re on the stage as a winner, you don’t always have time to process what’s going on but you know it’s a big deal. It’s going to be cool to crown this year’s king and to take it all in.”
Kinser, from Bloomington, Ind., won the inaugurual Kings Royal title in 1984.
The brainchild of Eldora Speedway’s late founder and visionary Earl Baltes, the $50,000-to-win crown jewel event solidified its place on the half-mile dirt oval’s permanent calendar with its history-rich tradition and fanfare.
“The night I won the first Kings Royal, Earl (Baltes) paid me $50,000 in cash and handed it to me in a shoebox,” Kinser said. “That was something, getting the payout in cash. Earl was really the first to pay that kind of money for a sprint car race. He and Eldora set the bar when it came to big events.”
Kinser’s career total of seven Kings Royal titles (1984, 1988, 1991, 1997, 2003, 2005 and 2010) makes him the event’s winningest driver.
While the 1984 race was a single-day event, the Kings Royal has grown into a three-day extravaganza that serves as the official kick-off for winged sprint car racing’s iconic “Month of Money.”
This year, Kinser will reign over the iconic Kings Royal victory lane as the Royal Sovereign. Following the checkered flag, the victor will be greeted by a Ms. Eldora Speedway representative who will place a cape around their neck. A second Ms. Eldora Speedway will present a scepter to the winner who will then kneel before Kinser, who will officially proclaim them the new Kings Royal monarch.
“After all of my Kings Royal wins, I was so caught up in the moment I don’t know that I really remember what the sovereign says,” Kinser said. “I’m definitely going to practice before victory lane on Saturday night – I’m not going to be the one who messes up the Kings Royal tradition.”
CREDIT: Eldora Speedway