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National Sprint Tour Series Inaugural Race

at the Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, CA

February 24-25 2006

Photo Courtesy of Mark Sublett M&M Photos

NST Inaugural 4 Wide Tim Kaeding & Steve Kinser on the front row Friday night Feature Winner Steve Kinser with NST President Fred Brownfield in Victory Lane
Jonathan Allard Kevin Swindell Robert Ballou
Dennis Moore Jr. Joey Saldana Sammy Swindell
Brooke Tatnell Kevin Swindell & Chuck Gurney Jr. Sammy Swindell & Steve Kinser
Tim Shaffer & Jason Meyers Steve Osbourne & Sammy Swindell Tim Kaeding & Joey Saldana
Paul McMahan & Sammy Swindell Jonathan Allard Robert Ballou
Brent Kaeding Ronnie Day Chuck Gurney Jr.
Steve Kinser Danny Lasoski Paul McMahan
Dennis Moore Jr. Jason Meyers Brian Paulus
Joey Saldana Sammy Swindell Tim Shaffer
Jason Sides Jason Solwold Shane Stewart
Brooke Tatnell Tim Kaeding Lucas Wolfe
View of Turns 1 & 2 View of turns 3 & 4 View of front & back straight

National Sprint Tour Series Inaugural Race at the Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, CA

Friday 2-24-2006

By Fran Engelcke

Still recovering from a serious IROC wreck, Steve Kinser, showed his fans what winged sprint car racing is all about with an opening night National Sprint Tour win at the Tulare, California Thunderbowl Raceway on Friday night. Race fans packed the house for this event and there were no disappointments.

A strong main event finish for third place by Jason Meyer (14) was overshadowed by the developing showdown between Steve Kinser (11) and his new driver Tim Kaeding (11K). Both won their respective dashes, putting them on the front row of the 30 lap main event. Tim, the faster qualifier got to choose the starting lane over his boss. Tim commented in front of the crowd, “Why do we have to do this on the first night?” Steve was gracious in accepting the inside pole as Tim picked the fast starting outside. The lane choice paid off as Kaeding took the lead at the start only to be brought back by a first lap caution. “I kinda snookered him on the restart,” commented Steve after the main win. Kinser led wire to wire with Kaeding never letting up the pressure and at several points during the race was close to passing for the lead.

A “heavy” track made for challenging driving conditions. The main was marred by 5 cautions, the most dramatic when Ronnie Day (1D) and Brooke Tatnell (8) tangled ending an excellent run for both in 4th and 5th place at the time. Jason Solwold in the R19 car started in 15th and finished in 6th place showing speed and patience over the 30 lap main.

Jason Meyers commented after the race the event “was everything we (NST drivers) hoped for and more. We’re behind this thing 110%.” Tim Kaeding, when asked about the relationship with Kinser, commented “this is a dream come true for me”. About his race long challenge for the lead, “I didn’t know where third place was and I didn’t care. I was just racing that green car.”

The National Sprint Tour will return to the Thunderbowl on Saturday night. Race fans will get a chance to see Danny Lasoski and the NST regulars battle again with Sammy Swindell and his son, Kevin, Joey Saldana, Brooke Tatnell, Brent Kaeding and California’s best show they can challenge for the win. The Friday and Saturday races are scored as separate events so everyone gets a fresh chance Saturday night.


National Sprint Tour Series Inaugural Race at the Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, CA

STORY BY: Gaye Carmichael, (530)409-0646

(Tulare, CA, 2/24/06) Excitement reigned as the newly formed National Sprint Tour Series took the track in their inaugural race of the season. Indiana's, Steve Kinser and California's, Tim Kaeding, duked it out, throughout the thirty lap feature with Kinser, the "King" of sprint car racing, taking the victory of this first NST prestigious event at the Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, CA.

"I was running on empty! It was a heck of a race. He (T. Kaeding) made me run hard all night. I've seen him (T. Kaeding) race over the years and he has a lot of talent. Fred Brownfield has done a great job, since December, getting this NST schedule in." said Kinser. Kinser's parting words were, "Can't start the the season any better than, one and two." (referring to T. Kaeding, racing the Steve Kinser Racing #11K).

Thirty-seven multi-talented sprint drivers filled the pits, representing three countries and ten states in the USA. Tennessee's, Paul McMahan, racing for Tony Stewart Motor Sports, turned in a 13.107 second lap for fast time, while Missouri's, Danny Lasoski, raced the Roth Motor Sports, #83 sprint into second fast time, with a 13.147 second, to start off the event.

As the "A" feature raced out for the opening green flag, it was T. Kaeding hammering into the lead but a red flag flew out for Dennis Moore, Jr. and Kevin Swindell, who had made contact in the first turn with Moore landing on his side. Both drivers were okay and Moore's damage was minimal and he tagged the rear of the field. K. Swindell's sprint was on the hook and had to retire from the race.

The field crossed up for a second try to get the race under way and this time the drag race between T. Kaeding and Kinser, had the "King" winning the lead that he would protect to the checkered.

A second red flag fell on the second lap when Travis Rutz of BC, landed on his side in the back stretch. Rutz had earned a transfer to the "A" feature after taking second earlier in the "B"main, so disappointment was huge for this driver.

With the field regrouped and racing under green, it was Kinser, T. Kaeding, Jason Meyers, Brooke Tatnell, Joey Saldana, Danny Lasoski, Jason Sides, Ronnie Day, Jason Solwold and Sammy Swindell, racing the front ten spots out of the twenty-four sprint cars in the field, at the seventh lap.

It was a raging fast pace as the sprints roared around this dirt oval, lapping slower traffic, keeping the fan filled stands afraid to even blink for fear of missing even a second of this really great 2006 season opener.

With nine laps to go, Craig Stidham brought out the caution when he spun in the third turn. He was okay.

Action returned to full speed for the regrouped field, giving Kinser and T. Kaeding a clear shot at the track. T. Kaeding tried a pass in the first turn, but Kinser was on the gas and held him at bay. Four laps later, disaster set in for Tatnell and Day. Racing in fourth and fifth spot, all of a sudden there was contact betweeen the two drivers and the caution flew again, with just five laps to go. No injuries were reported, except perhaps mentally, having lost so much ground so close to the end of the race. The final caution flag flew out for Ricci Faria when he suffered a right front tire going down.

it was a three lap shoot out to the checkered with the top five finishers including Kinser, T. Kaeding, Meyers of Elite Racing, running all laps in third, Saldana in the Kasey Kahne Racing team sprint in fourth and S. Swindell racing Forbrook's #5.

The hard charger award should go to Solwold, who raced from a fifteenth starting berth, after having earned a transfer from the "B" main, that he had won earlier, to finish sixth. Lasoski was seventh followed by Sides, McMahan, Day, Tim Shaffer, Tatnell, Faria, Brian Paulus, Robert Ballou, Garrett Ishii, Stidham, Jonathan Allard, Kyle Hirst, Lucas Wolfe, Shane Stewart, Moore, Rutz and K. Swindell.

Finishes from the two six car dashes set the line-up of the front twelve starting positions in the "A" feature and taking center stage for the victories, along with a front row start, were, Kinser and T. Kaeding.

"Steve Kinser gave me the opportunity of a life time. I'm happy to have an opportunity like this. We came to California to race and have a good time." said T. Kaeding.

In the "B" main, finishing behind Solwold and Rutz, were, Ishii, Stidham, Peter Murphy, Brian Coelho, Chuck Gurney, Jr., Johnny Gray, Tony Lutar, Steve Osborne, Brandon Johnson, Matt Shelton, Ben Gregg, Willy Hernandez, Mike Stallings and Brent Kaeding. (B.Kaeding's sprint broke on the third lap. He was racing in third at the time.) Mark Barroso, crashed during his qualifying attempt and had to retire his car for the night.

The four heat race wins were picked up by T.Kaeding, Tatnell, Wolfe and Ballou. (Ballou's victory was sweet, as he managed to hold off Kinser throughout the ten laps in the heat race to earn this win.)


         Steve Kinser “survives” to Sweep NST Inaugural Weekend at Thunderbowl

STORY BY: Fran Engelcke

Steve Kinser found a huge burst of speed going “up top” in the final laps of the Saturday night feature at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA. His momentum shot him by Paul McMahan (20) into second.

All history of the Swindell/Kinser rivalry could be felt as the King set his sights on the leader, Sammy Swindell (5). Prior to moving to the high side it seemed unimaginable that Sammy could be caught let alone passed. Wrong. Swindell looked low and slow as Kinser ripped by on the outside of turns 1 and 2. Despite a number of opportunities during restarts and lapping traffic Sammy was unable to match the speed of the high line. The white flag saw Sammy spinout in turn 4 ending his evening.

Winged sprint car fans love their drivers and they especially appreciate the rivalries that develop over time. Opening night at the Tulare Thunderbowl saw an unexpected rivalry develop between Steve Kinser and his hired gun California driver Tim Kaeding. It’s hard to imagine that the second night of the inaugural Tulare Thunderbowl event could top the first, but by scoring each race separately, the drivers had a clean slate Saturday night and they were ready. Track conditions were still “heavy” but lap times improved significantly faster for the whole field.

Ronnie Day, a California legend and a crowd favorite, in the 1D sprinter used his pole position start to prove that “they are not going to (beat me up) in my back yard.” After dominating his dash and the early laps of the main event, he spun out avoiding a Travis Rutz (8r) spinout, much to the disappointment of the fans. When asked at the end of the forty laps main, how he felt Steve replied, “I sorta feel like a survivor.” Very true as there were many challenges to surmount with the large field and very close racing. Steve mentioned that the team had prepared the car to run low but the handling allowed him to “come on strong at the end, and that’s what we wanted to do.” In post race interviews, Paul McMahan (20) was very pleased with his third place finish. When he tried the high line late in the race he said “I broke a shock mount trying to follow Steve.” He ran in the top three most of the race and was happy to survive.

Jason Meyers when asked about his second place finish said, “I was about the same all evening just not quite good enough.” The National Sprint Tour travels to New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, NM for a double-header March 10 and 11, 2006. Fred Brownfield, NST President has said, “We are committed to bringing the very best sprint car drivers to SNM, and we will. Our guys had better be strapped in tight, though, because I know Johnny Herrera and the other guys in the S.C.O.A. who run there regularly are gonna be laying in wait for us. It will be one heckuva two nights of racing.”


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