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Sprint car drivers

The real heroes of sprint car racing are the drivers. It takes a special kind of person to rein in 800 horses on a dirt track. It was once thought that you had to have big cojones to drive one of these beasts, but as Shawna Wilskey proved at Chico in early 1995 and continues to prove at Skagit and on the Northern Sprint Tour, women can win sprint car races too!

Here's a look at the people who hang it on the edge every weekend, at both the local and national levels. If you have a favorite you don't see here, wish to correct an error, or just don't like what I wrote, write me and I'll add your comments to this page.

The Outlaws

These are the drivers who are regulars on the World of Outlaws tour, or who are closely associated with WoO.

Steve Kinser mug shot Steve Kinser action shot
Who better to start with than Steve Kinser? They don't call Steve the King of the Outlaws for nothing -- his record speaks for itself, with over 400 feature wins and 15 WoO championships and counting, and Steve is still the man to beat wherever the Outlaws run. Killer car preparation by uncle Karl Kinser for most of those years certainly didn't hurt his record, but on those rare occasions when he starts from the back, Steve's driving is awesome to watch! Some would say he's lost a step in recent years, but I prefer to think it's the new crop of young speedsters giving Kinser a run for his money. Now with his own team after his Winston Cup dreams failed to materialize, it didn't take long for Steve and the Quaker State #11 to return to the winner's circle -- and the 1998 WoO title!

Mark Kinser action shot Mark Kinser mug shot
Steve's cousin, Mark Kinser, took over his father Karl's car when Steve left for the stock car circuit after the 1994 season. Driving talent runs in this family, as demonstrated by Mark's victories on the WoO tour, and Karl Kinser's car preparation sure doesn't hurt either! With Mopar power for the '99 season, the #5M is a threat to win anywhere it unloads.

Sammy Swindell mug shot Sammy Swindell action shot
The Channellock #1 of Memphis, TN driver Sammy Swindell is a sight to excite drivers and fans alike. Sammy's speed, skill, and courage are undeniable, and resulted in a dominating performance and the World of Outlaws championship in 1997. Some say his nickname, "Slammin' Sammy", came from bouncing off the walls at Eldora, but others point instead to his controversial wheel-thumping racing tactics. Whichever explanation you prefer, you know the racing won't be dull when Sammy's around!

Jeff Swindell action shot Jeff Swindell mug shot
Sammy's brother Jeff Swindell is also a graduate of the tacky river-bottom tracks of the Memphis scene. Shown here in 1997 colors, for 1998 the car received new sponsorship and a new number: it's now the #104+ Octane Boost sprinter. The Two Winners race team provides the equipment and turns the wrenches, with Ford power obtained with help from former WoO champion owner Casey Luna. When not running with the Outlaws, Jeff hones his considerable wingless dirt racing skills in a Silver Crown car.

Dave Blaney mug shot Dave Blaney action shot
Ohio's Dave Blaney has long been a competitive WoO runner, but when he teamed up with car owner Casey Luna's #10 Ford-powered sprinter, he started to win anything that wasn't nailed down, including the 1995 World of Outlaws championship. Luna retired at the end of the 1996 season, but Blaney continued on (with a change of engines) as one of the top 4 drivers on the Outlaw tour. In 1998 Dave is trying his luck in the NASCAR Busch Grand National series, and owns the #94 Amoco WoO car for brother Dale, but who knows? We may see Dave in a sprint car again. Good luck, Dave!

Jac Haudenschild action shot Jac Haudenschild mug shot
The "Wild Child", Jac Haudenschild, is no longer young, but he still drives with youthful enthusiasm. Another graduate of the Ohio sprint car circuit, Jac can be seen driving the Pennzoil #22 on the WoO tour again this year.

Stevie Smith Jr. mug
shot Stevie Smith Jr. action
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A graduate of the Pennsylvania Posse, Stevie Smith Jr. now makes his home on the road with the Outlaws. The 1990 WoO Rookie of the Year, and winner of the 1989 and 1991 Williams Grove National Open, can be found piloting the Ingersoll-Rand #19 crewed by his father, Pennsylvania legend Steve Smith, whenever the Outlaws are in town.

Tyler Walker action shot Tyler Walker mug shot
Up-and-coming youngster Tyler Walker entered the California sprint car scene with a bang -- or two! In his early days as an occasional runner with NARC, Tyler was fast but wild. But he learned quickly, earning the 1996 National Sprint Car Racing Poll Rookie of the Year title, the 1997 All-Star rookie title, and 7 All-Star features in 1997. This year, at the tender age of 19, Walker is running for the WoO rookie title in father Bob's Walker Airsep #35. And frankly, I wouldn't bet against him!

Roving racers

Here are drivers who don't run the full WoO tour, but are frequently sighted when there's money and prestige on the line.

Jack Hewitt mug shot Jack Hewitt action shot
Jack Hewitt is a fan favorite. Whether driving a sprint, midget, or Silver Crown car, "Do-it Hewitt" has a hard-charging style that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. And from personal experience, I can tell you Jack's a delight to chat with in the pits after a race. Now fully recovered from a 1996 crash, Jack's back with a vengeance!

California racers

California's drivers now have their own page. Look for the Golden State's wheeled warriors there!

The Pennsylvania Posse

The many tracks up and down the Susquehanna Valley of east-central Pennsylvania -- including legendary tracks like Williams Grove, Selinsgrove, Port Royal, Susquehanna, and Lincoln -- have provided the training grounds for any number of sprint car heroes over the years. When the Outlaws come to town, the Pennsylvania Posse rises to the challenge, and can often best the invaders! Here are some of the Posse's best known members.

Bobby Allen has been racing sprint cars since dirt was new, and still manages to win a few races now and then. It's hard to imagine a race at Williams Grove without the #1a tooling around the bottom.

Cris Eash made a stab at the WoO tour for a couple of years, but returned with the family-owned #17E sprinter to his old stomping grounds at Williams Grove. Cris can be seen storming around the Grove most any Friday night.

Lance DeWease in the Dyer Masonry #461 "brickmobile" (so named for the colorful paint job on its top wing endplates) has been winning everything in sight at Williams Grove this year.

Donny Kreitz is another frequent visitor to the Grove's winner's circle in the #69K.

Despite a successful career in dirt modified racing, Billy Pauch wasn't satisfied with winning in one division, and now runs a sprint car as well! The Frenchtown, New Jersey driver, winner of the King of the Hill sprint car series in 1990, '92 and '93, and current sprint car lap record holder at the Syracuse mile (at a blistering 145 MPH!), can be seen weekly behind the wheel of the Zemco #Z1 at Williams Grove.

Fred Rahmer

Todd Shaffer

Credits

Page layout and text copyright © 1994-1998 Chuck Fry. Unless otherwise stated, all photos this page are by Steve Lafond, and are copyright © 1993-1998 Tear-Off Heaven Fotos.

See the full copyright notice for details.


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