ALGER - There's a reason World of Outlaws driver Steve Kinser is called the "King of the Outlaws" and it extends beyond what he's done on the track in a sprint car.
That's not to say Kinser hasn't excelled in dirt racing. His 20 championships in the World of Outlaws may be untouchable.
But what Skagit Speedway recognized on Saturday night, Aug. 30, was what he meant to racing off the track. Kinser made his last trip to Skagit Speedway on Saturday as he continues his farewell tour that will see him retiring from the World of Outlaws at the end of this year.
After he stepped out of the world-famous green No. 11 car, he was presented with something unexpected - a note from the city of Burlington stating that Aug. 30 has been deemed "Steve Kinser Day."
"I've been blessed to be able to make money doing what I love," Kinser said. "It's going to be tough giving it up but you can't do stuff forever."
Kinser finished the night in 19th after spinning out on Lap 8, but the fans and track owner recognized Kinser's contribution to sprint car racing and the people who became interested in the sport because of the now 60-year-old driver.
It was Donny Schatz who took the main event again on Saturday night at Skagit Speedway. He navigated lapped traffic for the majority of the race to win his fifth consecutive World of Outlaws race, his 10th in 13 races and his 19th win of the season.
"I'm very fortunate to be around good people, it's just been fitting together," Schatz said. "I get to do a lot of fun things and got to do another tonight."
Schatz started on the front row beside quicktime qualifier Joey Saldana and had a tough time passing a very quick Saldana car that ran the high line well.
On Lap 13, Schatz had closed the gap and the two were neck and neck on the front straightaway. Schatz took the low line out of Turn 2 and took the lead. He would stay there the rest of the race but not without a challenge from Brad
Sweet, who for the second night in a row showed his prowess in lapped traffic. Sweet at one time was right on the heels of Schatz but after a caution on Lap 20,
Schatz hit the restart perfectly and gained a comfortable lead. Sweet finished second in a race that concluded with 23 of 24 drivers still on the track.
Behind Sweet was Saldana, Shane Stewart and Paul McMahan. Bellingham local Brock Lemley finished 17th after spinning out on Lap 7.
Jason Solwold took the victory in the B-main after he got a good jump at the start and beat front-row partner Trey Starks. But it was the battle for the final transfer spot to watch and it proved plenty exciting.
Skylar Gee and Jacob Allen competed the entire race for the sixth position. Allen looked good in Turns 1 and 2 but it was a bit bumpy in 3 and 4 for the Shark Racing team driver.
Gee was able to hold off the charging Allen to advance to the A-main. Heat race wins went to Kerry Madsen, David Gravel and Kraig Kinser. The top 18 qualifiers were also the 18 who went straight to the A-main from heat races. Only
Jonathan Allard had to do some extra work, as he got spun out of Turn 2 in Heat 3 and had to replace a flat right front tire. Allard was able to jump past Jesse Whitney and Skylar Gee on the restart to get into the A-main.
Reach Joshua Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2851.