Winter Heat: Steve Kinser, ‘King of the Outlaws,’ reigns in Night 3

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20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser may no longer be competing full-time, but he’s not about to slow down just yet.

The “King of the Outlaws” led the final 16 laps en route to A-Main victory Tuesday at Cocopah (Ariz.) Speedway in Night 3 of the five-night Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown.

Kinser and NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year Kyle Larson, making his final Winter Heat 2015 appearance, started the A-Main on the front row and battled for the lead in the opening laps before Larson took control at Lap 3.

But at the halfway point of the 30-lap feature, Larson suffered a right-rear tire failure and had to go to the work area for a replacement.

That gave the lead to Kinser, who held off Night 1 winner Paul McMahan in second, Brian Brown in third, Logan Schuchart in fourth, and son Kraig Kinser in fifth.

Larson came back to finish seventh, marking the end of a hit-and-miss stay in the desert that saw him finish 15th in Night 1 and then win in Night 2.

He won’t stick around for this Friday and Saturday’s events. Instead, he’ll be taking part in Rolex 24 testing for Chip Ganassi Racing at Daytona International Speedway.

Fellow NASCAR pilot Kasey Kahne had a rough outing on Tuesday, finishing 18th. He later tweeted that he was “slow as ___ tonight,”  leaving part of the post blank.

Steve Kinser’s appearance at Winter Heat is the opener for what’s expected to be a 2015 season filled with roughly 40 races according to his Tony Stewart Racing team:

Tuesday’s win was his first at Cocopah since 1991, when the 3/8-mile oval hosted its lone Outlaws event.

“I’d still like to be a little younger, I can tell you that, but I’m not,” Kinser said jokingly afterwards. “But I’m not going to complain about my career. It’s nice to get a win here.”

McMahan’s second Winter Heat podium finish gives him a 16-point edge in the championship over Joey Saldana, with Stevie Smith an additional three points behind in third.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.