Kinser follows in footsteps of inspirational family

AMERICAN Kody Kinser is just 24 years old but can see himself being immersed in sprintcar racing for decades to come.

“I just have a love for sprintcars. I think I’ll be involved in some shape or form for the rest of my life,” he declared yesterday.

“How that is I’m not sure. I want to keep driving as long as I can but at the same time there are other things I want to do.

“But I never want to leave racing. It means a lot to me and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. A lot of people use it as an ego thing.

“I just really love it, that’s me, that’s my passion. I want to see it grow and see the sport as a whole be successful.”

The words, from a man with the most famous surname in sprintcar racing, are refreshing. Kody is driving for himself, not because he’s a Kinser.

He is among the 118-strong field for the 42nd Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Allansford’s Premier Speedway this weekend.

The legendary Steve Kinser, a 20-time World of Outlaws champion who has no equal on the dirt tracks of America, is the reason his surname is famous.

But while Kody is in awe of second cousin Steve, it is his own father Kelly who has been the biggest influence on his emerging career.

“He was a really smart driver as compared to a really aggressive driver,” he said.

‘‘I wish I had some of that in me.

“He would outsmart someone rather than outdrive them. 

‘‘He was always patient and conservative. I seem to have a hard time with that.”

Kody is in the midst of his second Australian campaign, although will contest his first Classic driving the N98 for car owner Steve Lynch.

He was nominated last year — in the seat for Garry Rooke — but transport issues meant the team never made it to Warrnambool.

Second time around, his best results have been a third at Bunbury and third at Parramatta. 

“I like to go places, I get tired of the same place,’’ he said.

“I want to keep coming back (to Australia). It’s just got to work out. 

‘‘It’s like a second home.

“The first year I came out I felt I was real far from home. 

‘‘But this year doesn’t feel like I’m really far from home.

“Last year I learnt a lot. 

‘‘It was the first time I’d raced outside my family, the first time I’ve driven for someone else. 

‘‘It was a real experience.”

The experience, Kody believes, has made him a better driver, one who is forging his own reputation in the footsteps of his famous relatives.

But when the inevitable question about whether Steve will ever contest the Classic arrives, he is happy to answer.

Steve last month announced 2014 would be his last season with the Outlaws. But the door on a Classic debut apparently remains ajar.

“We’ve been knowing for years he was wanting to (ease back on Outlaws). To us it wasn’t a big surprise but it’s kind of sad too,” Kody said.

“You’re going to go to an Outlaws race and he won’t be there. It’s going to be weird. 

‘‘He’s pretty much the face of the sport. I’d say if the money was there (to race in the Classic) he’d do it. 

‘‘He’s not quitting, just not running the full Outlaws tour.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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