Sprint car fans knew it was eventually coming, but the timing of it still likely surprised many when legendary driver Steve “The King” Kinser announced Monday night that he was retiring.
What will likely be the last race of Kinser’s storied career came at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, New York, where he finished sixth in the main event.
In the following video, Kinser not only shocked the fans in attendance, but also clearly caught track public address announcer John Stanley completely off-guard with his revelation.
“We thought we’d make it one more time and I’m pretty sure this will be the last race I ever run right here tonight, the last race period,” Kinser said. “I hadn’t been running many (races) this year and was planning on quitting anyway.
“I’m never going to say never but I’m pretty positive I’m going to watch Kraig (his son, also a racer), go to races and have some fun.”
The 62-year-old resident of Bloomington, Indiana is a 20-time World of Outlaws champion (won a record 577 races in the series), as well as more recently a stalwart on the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car series owned by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.
It was a ASCoC event at Lebanon Valley where Kinser delivered his bombshell news, according to a report by National SpeedSport News.
The 12-time Knoxville Nationals champ, whose last full-time season in the WoO was in 2014, has been racing a limited schedule both last season and in 2016.
While his career has been primarily in Sprint cars, Kinser also raced in other series including five times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, raced in the 1997 Indianapolis 500 (finished 14th) and in the IROC and USAC series.
Naturally, the social media world was all atwitter – no pun intended – about Kinser’s bombshell announcement: