The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 3, 2014

Shawn Wood's Inside Track: It's racing season again


Last December, the Performance Industry Racing trade show returned to Indianapolis after a stint in Florida and wouldn't you know it, a snowstorm hit the city during the weekend of the show.

The show floor was so crowded on Friday that it reminded me of walking through the pits on Carb Day at Indy.

It was at the show that Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, made the announcement that 2014 would be his last year to run for a points championship.

Kinser, 59, got a bit sentimental during the press conference while watching a video tribute to him.

His final points race in Pennsylvania is Oct., 25, at Port Royal, one week before the season ends with the World Finals in Charlotte.

At the annual kick-off breakfast on Thursday, Kenny Schrader and Richard Petty were interviewed by talk show host Dave Despain.

While Schrader can tell some really good stories, it was the King who brought the house down.

Petty, in his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses, reminded the overflow crowd that today's race car used by NASCAR is so much easier to drive than when he started, they even let a girl do it.

Spontaneous laughter and applause erupted as the crowd knew that Petty was speaking of Danica Patrick.

There was one part of the conversation that hit home on some columns we have written in the past.

Petty remarked that the fans were his sponsors back in the day and he owed it to them to sit and talk with them and sign autographs. For they were the ones who helped put food on the table for his family.

Sadly, three months after the show, his wife of 54 years, passed away on March 25 at 72, after a four-year battle with central nervous system lymphoma cancer.

The 2014 season has already seen a number of dates lost to weather. While April showers will bring May flowers, some nice weather would be a welcome sight for race fans after the long, cold winter they endured.

n Shawn Wood covers motorsports for The Daily Item.

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