Steve Kinser and his wife Dana celebrate an IROC victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 30, 1990. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

From The Archives: An IROC Win For Kinser

Editor’s Note: As part of SPEED SPORT’s 90th anniversary, we are looking back through the archives at some of the great moments in motorsports history. Today, we revisit Steve Kinser’s unlikely IROC victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 30, 1994. Here’s the story as published in National Speed Sport News.

TALLADEGA, Ala. — The International Race of Champions grabbed for the roots of racing Saturday. Steve Kinser, an open cockpit dirt tracker from the World of Outlaws circuit, beat the superspeedway specialists at NASCAR’s fastest track and won the third leg of the series, sending sprint car fans across the country into paroxysms of joy.

Kinser, the first sprint car driver to be invited to the series, led the final 25 laps of the 38-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway.

He finished ahead of Jack Baldwin, an ex-SCCA champ. Dale Jarrett came in third, Tom Kendall fourth, AI Unser, Jr., fifth, Danny Sullivan sixth, Kyle Petty seventh, Dale Earnhardt eighth, Rusty Wallace ninth, Scott Sharp l0th, Geoff Brabham 11th and Mark Martin 12th. Martin had a tire come off his car and finished a lap down.

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National Speed Sport News headlines declared Steve Kinser an IROC winner, as well as the unfortunate news of Formula 1 champion Ayrton Senna’s death. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

Earnhardt won the first race of the series at Daytona and Martin won the second at Darlington. The fourth and final race is scheduled July 30 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.

Martin leads the series standings with 46 points. Earnhardt is second with 42 points, Baldwin third with 39 and Kinser fourth with 38.

The purse of $735,000 wiil be paid on the basis of point totals at the conclusion of the series. The champion earns $200,000.

The dozen drivers race Dodge Avengers.

Kinser averaged 186.323 mph. There were six lead changes among five drivers.

Martin led seven laps, Earnhardt four and Unser and Sullivan one each. There was only one caution. It came on lap 11 for debris when Martin’s tire came off.

Baldwin ran on Kinser’s bumper the final lap, but couldn’t make a move.

“I thought when Jack didn’t make a move that I could hold on,” Kinser said. “Once I got into turn four I felt he didn’t have enough to get by me.

“I’m not saying I’ve learned everything I need to know about this type racing, but I’m getting more comfortable. At Daytona, I hadn’t learned how to get up right behind someone; up there

where you make them go faster and you don’t have to back off. I worked on that here in practice.”Kinser left Talladega after Thursday’s practice, ran a World of Outlaws sprint car event in Knoxville, Iowa on Friday night and returned here in time for the race. He was scheduled to race again in Knoxville Saturday night, but received word the event had been snowed out.

Kinser, a former Indiana high school state wrestling champion, said he and his wife Dana were headed home to watch one of their two sons compete in a USA Wrestling state meet Saturday night.

“From there we will go on to Knoxville. I think we will race Sunday,” he said.

Kinser has won the World of Outlaws point championship 13 times. The series runs nearly 100 races a year on 70 dirt tracks across the country.

“This is a big victory for me,” he said. “For several years I was hoping for an invitation to the IROC. I never got one. I sort of put it out of my mind. Then, one day last year I got a registered letter. It was an invitation. It’s funny how things work out.”

Baldwin said he couldn’t handle Kinser at the finish.

“Earnhardt was behind me and giving me signals,” Baldwin said. “He kept signaling for me to stay in line. I’d start to make a move and I could see Dale shake his head, telling me to stay in line. Then, he gave me the signa l, two to go. I knew it was time to go

and make my move. It was a beautiful move, but I looked in the mirror and there wasn’t anyone behind me to give me a push. It turns out, both Dale and AI had mechanical problems on the last lap.”

The finish:

Showing driver and laps completed: 1. Steve Kinser, 38 laps; 2. Jack Baldwin, 38; 3. Dale Jarrett, 38; 4. Tom Kendall, 38; 5. AI Unser Jr., 38; 6. Danny Sullivan, 38; 7. Kyle Petty, 38; 8. Dale Earnhardt, 38; 9. Rusty Wallace. 38; 10. Scott Sharp, 38; 11. Geoff Brabham, 38; 12. Mark Martin, 31.