Kraig Kinser is currently in his 16th season of sprint car racing.
The 34-year-old driver of the Steve Kinser owned No. 11K, won the Knoxville Nationals Championship back in 2005.
He led all 30 laps of the main event, which was postponed a day until eventually being held on a Sunday night.
“In looking back, we had a very good weekend back in 2005. We qualified for the front row of the A-Feature. It was a perfect storm. We had a good scramble and tremendous qualifying night for the Nationals,” Kraig said.
Finishing behind Kraig in the 2005 Knoxville Nationals were a few individuals who have made names for themselves at the track over the year.
Donny Schatz ran second in 2005, it marked his third runner-up finish out of the past five years.
Settling for third place in the 2005 Knoxville Nationals was Danny Lasoski, who had won the 2003 and 2004 Knoxville Nationals titles.
Kraig’s win at the Nationals made him and his father, Steve, the only father-son team to have won the prestigious event.
Kraig had some great teachers along the way. Helping his learning curve in the sport grow rather fast.
Steve Kinser owns the car. Steve is regarded as “The King,” when it comes to sprint car racing. He amassed 690 World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car feature wins. He won 20 WoO point championships and 12 Knoxville Nationals crowns along the way.
Also on Kraig’s crew are Mike Kuemper who serves as crew chief and Randy Kinser, the engine builder.
The roots of Kinser racing goes much deeper. Helping a young Kraig Kinser in his early days of racing was his grandpa, Bob Kinser.
Bob and Steve both raced sprint cars at the age of 60.
“My grandpa took me to races and helped me a lot. He taught me about the cars and got me up to speed, as my dad was off racing,” Kraig said.
“When I joined the Outlaws, my dad was able to watch me race and help me along the way,” he added.
The top sponsors for the 11K car are Mesilla Valley Transportation, Southern Pacific Farms, Profile and Border Tire.
Kraig said his goals are to be consistent and always aim to run in the top 10.
“You always want to win races and be as competitive as you can be,” Kraig commented.
When asked what makes the Knoxville Nationals so special?
Kraig answered, “It is one of the biggest races. The venue itself, the fans and it proves to be a fun weekend with a lot of prestige that has been built up over the years.”
This is one of many race stories in our special section devoted to the Nationals. The issue can be picked up for free at the Pella Chronicle.