The Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa, hosts the largest sprint car racing event in the world every August. Knoxville, Iowa, is to sprint car racing what Indianapolis is to Indy Car and Daytona is to NASCAR. Knoxville is the holy grail to these warriors on clay.
Knoxville Nationals has come a long way in 50 years.
The Knoxville Nationals, being held this August, will be the 50th since its inception. In 1961 the Knoxville Nationals first weekend in its history was actually a super modified race and remained a super mod event until 1968. The first purse for the Knoxville Nationals was a purse of $5,000 compared to this years purse which will exceed $1 million.
Once sprint car racing took over the Knoxville Nationals, the purses and the crowds began to grow. Marion Robinson began the Knoxville Nationals but Ralph Capitani is the man that took it to the next level and expanded the format to what it is today.
The Knoxville Nationals is now a four day event, which includes qualifying night on August 11 and then two days of preliminary events that lead into the Knoxville Nationals feature event night. Drivers from around the world will participate in the Knoxville Nationals. Every sprint car driver in the world knows that a win in the Knoxville Nationals main event feature is the penultimate accomplishment in a sprint car career.
Steve Kinser and the Knoxville Nationals will always be spoken in the same breath.
Knoxville Raceway is host to the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and some of the drivers that still compete in the Knoxville Nationals have long been enshrined in the Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Steve Kinser is one of the sports living legends. Kinser owns more feature wins, World of Outlaw titles and Knoxville National titles than anyone in the history of sprint car racing. Steve Kinser owns over 550 feature wins, 20 World of Outlaw titles and 12 Knoxville National titles.
Kenny Weld & Doug Wolfgang were dominant before Steve Kinser arrived on the scene.
Next to Steve Kinser there have been other drivers that have made their mark on the Knoxville Raceway in the month of August. Kenny Weld was the first driver to win back to back Knoxville Nationals in 1964 and 1965 and then was the next driver to turn the trick in 1972 and 1973, also becoming the first four time winner of the Knoxville Nationals.
Doug Wolfgang won his first Knoxville Nationals in 1978 and his last in 1989 scoring a total of five wins. Meanwhile in the middle of Wolfgang’s run, Steve Kinser reeled off his first six Knoxville Nationals titles, scoring three in a row twice. Weld and Wolfgang’s careers both ended prematurely for different reasons.
The new man to beat at Knoxville Nationals is now Steve Kinser’s teammate.
Donny Shatz has been tearing up the World of Outlaws for a few years now and now that he has teamed up with Tony Stewart Racing he has been even more dominant. 2010 has been a curious season for Shatz, heading into the Knoxville Nationals. Shatz new teammate is “The King” Steve Kinser and Shatz is trailing Kinser in the points.
Shatz has been the man to beat in the Knoxville Nationals since 2006. Shatz has a current streak of four wins in a row at Knoxville and heading into the 50th anniversary of the Knoxville Nationals, Shatz will again be the man to beat. This years favorites for the 2010 event will be Donny Shatz, Steve Kinser, Joey Saldana and Jason Meyers.
www.knoxvilleraceway.com History of Knoxville Nationals.
www.stevekinser.com Steve Kinser biography.