There was a time many years ago when Kraig Kinser visited the Ransomville Speedway as a young boy. He was brought to the Niagara County dirt oval that day by a legend, none other then his own father, "The King of the Outlaws," Steve Kinser.
The elder Kinser came to Ransomville many years ago with the popular traveling World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series while he was in the process of continuing to build his legendary status in the sport as arguably the greatest winged Sprint Car racer of all time.
Steve Kinser retired following the 2015 season as the all-time WOO winner and champion with 577 checkered flags and an astounding 20 WOO championships.
For the last several years, since the age of 16, Kraig has been developing a Sprint Car driving career of his own and currently is traveling full time with the WOO. The WOO will invade Ransomville Friday for their annual visit.
Kraig, of Bloomington, Ind., races the No. 11 Steve Kinser Racing/Kessington Aerospace/MVT Sprint Car and comes from an impressive family heritage.
Kraig's late grandfathers, Bob Kinser and Owen Snyder Jr. were both accomplished racers in Sprint Cars and Midgets respectively. Snyder also raced under the name Todd Barton.
Kraig drove for the first time last year at Ransomville when the WOO series visited there for the first time in 20 years. He had a very respectable outing, finishing second in his heat race and sixth in the qualifying dash and eventually sixth in the A-Main feature.
"I never drove there before last year but I had been to Ransomville before," Kinser said. "I remember the last time the Outlaws were there (1997), I was just a little kid. I was there with my dad Steve. I was quite fortunate when I was younger.
"I got to see a lot of Sprint Car racing and a lot of really neat race tracks. I also got to see a lot of unbelievable drivers growing up. My dad was not there when I drove at Ransomville last year and I don't really remember much conversation with him about the Ransomville track. It was so long since he had drove there.
"I made it into the feature at Ransomville from a transfer spot in the heat," Kinser said. "You have to do well enough in your heat to get into those dashes because it helps you to start up front in the A-Main. I held on for a sixth place finish. It was pretty good."
Kinser recalled the characteristics of Ransomville's track from his maiden voyage in the cockpit there last season.
"It was definitely real quick," Kinser said. "It was heavy. It started to widen out a little bit in the feature but it was still pretty heavy. It's a narrow track. Every track on the circuit has its own little quirks. It definitely races a little different than a lot of other tracks we go to. I'm just looking forward to getting back out there.
"Everyone will have a better knowledge of the track this year. We will know if something worked there or not last year but the cars haven't really changed that much from last year to this year. The tires are the same and the wings the same. I have some pretty good notes to work from. Of course your have to concern yourself with track conditions when you get there.
"Just because we all race on the dirt, it could be the same track surface. Also it could change 10 different ways in the 10 times that you go to a track. It could be really slick the next time we go there. We just have to adjust for it."
Kraig has raced with the WOO off and on since 2004 as well as other Sprint Car series. He has 16 career WOO A-Main wins. He knows it's tough living up to the family name.
"There has always been pressure because of my last name," Kinser said. "To be honest with you when I first started racing the pressure, because of my name, was much stronger than now because I've gotten used to it as I've raced a lot longer. So I don't feel it as much now. I'm just so fortunate to have a family with such a racing heritage that they've passed on to me. I've enjoyed every moment of it. "