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Kings Royal returns to Eldora Speedway

The pomp, the prize money and of course Steve Kinser all return to Eldora Speedway today and Saturday for the 30th running of the Kings Royal. It’s an event known as much for its pageantry as it is the high-powered performances from the best winged sprint car drivers on dirt.

“Fans flock to Eldora Speedway to see guys get up on the hill and try to get around there as fast as they can,” said two-time Kings Royal winner Donny Schatz of North Dakota. “They come to see the heat races where drivers have to throw caution to the wind and do whatever they can to get to the front fastest. And then, it’s about seeing who can last 40 laps and climb up on the big chair and get crowned king for the year. The facility continues to get better and better. Earl (Baltes) built an incredible track and, since Tony (Stewart) took over, he has just continued to modernize it so fans, sponsors and the teams can enjoy one of the most intense single nights of sprint car racing year after year.”

Action starts Friday with the $10,000-to-win Knight Before the Kings Royal. The $50,000-to-win, 40-lap Kings Royal follows Saturday.

And Indiana’s Kinser has been there for all of them. The inaugural winner in 1984, Kinser is the only driver to qualify for all 29 features. He’s won a record seven of them and amassed an impressive average finish of 7.69.

“Winning races like the Kings Royal is something that helps everyone around your team,” said Kinser, who last sat atop the victory throne donning the crown, cape and scepter in 2010. “From the driver to the crew to the owners to the sponsors, everyone feels the impact. If you can get that one, you can try to be greedy at the other big races like the Silver Cup, Summer Nationals and ultimately the Knoxville Nationals. We haven’t had the best of seasons, so I’d definitely say winning Saturday night would be a great way to start changing our season.”

Sammy Swindell, who is second to Kinser with 23 feature starts, returns as the defending champion.

Among other festivities, Eldora held its Ms. Eldora Pageant on Thursday night. The benefit auction for the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum is 2:30 p.m. Saturday and an WoO driver autograph session follows from 4-5 p.m.

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