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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Steve Kinser #26 Quaker State Ford

    Steve Kinser may be the king of Sprint cars, winning 20 championships, but in the NASCAR world, he was one of the biggest duds in the history of the sport~ Before the start of the 1995 season, it was announced that Brett Bodine would be leaving King racing, the team he had driven for the previous 5 seasons for, and would be replaced by Kinser~

    The news of Kinser moving up to the Cup series was big news in the Sprint car world, and everyone seemed to believe that Kinser would do well in the series~ He signed a 3 year contract with the team, and declared that during that time, he'd be 100% devoted to racing in the Cup series, and wouldn't compete in Sprint cars at all~

    Car owner Kenny Bernstein's decision to pick Kinser to drive the car was partly due to the success of Jeff Gordon coming up from USAC's and becoming a star in the NASCAR ranks~ Kinser had ran well during 4 IROC starts during 1994, picking up a win @ Talladega, further feeding into the idea that he'd be a good fit for the Cup series~ At the age of 41, he was finally about to compete for Rookie of the Year honors~

    Bernstein spent a lot of time with Kinser before the start of the season, reviewing race footage from each track they'd be running, and filling Steve with all the knowledge he could pass along~ Kinser had tried to break into the Cup series 2 years earlier, driving the #31 Carrier Chevrolet for Clint Folsom, but failed to qualify for both races he attempted to make (Daytona 500, Winston 500)~
                                                        Steve Kinser's 1995 promo card~
Steve Kinser #26 NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog

    The start of the 1995 season was underway, and Kinser quickly found out that the Cup series was much more difficult than he had anticipated~ Starting dead last in the Daytona 500, he lasted only 27 laps until he was involved in a crash, finishing 40th~ The next race was the Goodwrench 500 @ Rockingham, where again Kinser looked like a fish out of water, qualifying 39th, and finishing 27th, 56 laps behind race winner  Jeff Gordon~ The 3rd race of the year was the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond~ Kinser started 36th, and finished 28th, 9 laps down~

    Sadly, this race would be the closest he ever came to finishing on the lead lap~ Next up was the Purolator 500 @ Atlanta, where Kinser qualified a career best 23rd, but was involved in a crash on lap 9, ending his day~ He would finish 41st~ The next stop on the circuit was the TranSouth Financial 400 @ Darlington, where he qualified 32nd, and finished 40th, due to engine failure~

    Up until this point, Bernstein was willing to stick it out with Kinser, despite his lackluster results~ But following back to back DNQ's @ Bristol (Food City 500) and North Wilksboro (First Union 400), the team's sponsor Quaker State had seen enough, and demanded Bernstein to release him or risk losing their sponsorship~ Kinser was let go, despite having signed a 3 year contract before the start of the season, and was replaced by Hut Stricklin~ Bernstein would shut the team down following the end of the season~

                                                  Steve Kinser #26 Quaker State Ford~
Steve Kinser #26 Quaker State Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog
                                                            Click pics to enlarge~
Steve Kinser #26 Quaker State Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    As for this RC car, I personally prefer the older version that was mostly all green~ I'm not a fan of the stripes they added to the car~ Sometimes simple is better~ I'm not saying it's an ugly car by any means, I just preferred the look of the car back in the earlier days~ I'm also not a fan of the rubber tires, as I think they look too big compared to the older RC cars~ I also don't like the see through windows and the window netting~ The reason being, it just looks odd displayed beside the older RC cars~ All in all though, I'd give the car a solid B+ rating~

    Steve's NASCAR career was one of the biggest failures that I've ever witnessed~ Some people have said that he wasn't ready for NASCAR, which makes me laugh~ At 41 years old at the time, when was he ever going to be "ready"?~ In my opinion, he waited too long to move up to Cup~ I don't know if he ever would have developed into a top notch driver in NASCAR, but I'm sure he's not too concerned about it, as I said earlier, he is a 20 time World of Outlaw champion~

    No one can say that he's a horrible driver with a record like that, he just wasn't cut out for Cup series racing~ I would have liked to see what he could have done if given the chance to fulfill his 3 year contract that he signed with Bernstein, but I seriously doubt he would have had many decent finishes~ It would have given me a little more to write about though~  As you'd imagine, there aren't any videos of Kinser's NASCAR career on the internet, however I have added a few videos below, most of them full races which I will tell you where to skip to see some of his crashes, along with a song written about him~

                                               1995 Daytona 500 crash~ (skip to 40:21)

                                                         Song written about Kinser~

                                                1995 Purolator 500 crash (skip to 5:00)

                                                       Highlights from WoO career~

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