Dec 11, 2013, 2:13 PM EDT
In 2014, “The King” of the World of Outlaws will be going after the throne, one last time.
Tony Stewart Racing has announced that Steve Kinser, a 20-time champion of the WoO STP Sprint Car Series, will make next year his final full season on the circuit. A year-long farewell tour – dubbed the “Salute to the King” – will begin in February with the DIRTcar Nationals in Florida.
Going into 2014, Kinser has collected a staggering 576 A-Feature victories in his 35-year WoO career. He won his first all the way back in 1978 at the famed Eldora Speedway en route to winning the series’ inaugural championship that season.
Since then, he’s become a legend in the world of sprint car racing and stands as its equivalent to the likes of Mario Andretti, Ayrton Senna, and Richard Petty. Now, he’s looking ahead to one final chance at making more history.
“Racing with the Outlaws has been my life for almost 40 years,” Kinser said in a statement. “It’s all I’ve known. My family has been around it. I’ve had the pleasure of running up and down the road racing all across this incredible country, and even in Canada, Mexico and Australia with this series. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever.
“I feel like we have a great team here capable of winning a lot of races and challenging for the championship this year.”
Kinser has also branched out into other forms of motorsport during his remarkable career. He appeared multiple times in the now-defunct International Race of Champions, with a career-best finish of sixth in the 1994 championship (a year that included a win at Talladega Superspeedway). Kinser also ran a handful of Sprint Cup events in 1995 and competed in the 1997 Indianapolis 500, where he finished 14th.
With Kinser set to embark on one last go-round, his team owner paid tribute.
“I never missed an Outlaw show in the area when I was growing up,” said Stewart. “We waited for those nights like they were holidays. It was incredible watching Steve race with Sammy [Swindell] and Doug [Wolfgang]. He was our guy, being from Indiana, and when he won, it gave us all something to brag about. And he won a lot.
“A few years ago, when we had the chance to get him to drive for TSR, it was like a dream come true. When we got him on board, my goal was for him to drive for us for the remainder of his career. I’m really excited for him to go out and have a great season. He’s the best ever and I couldn’t be more proud.”
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