Schatz, Saldana Pick Up Honors
With the 2010 World of Outlaws season opening at the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in three weeks, Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana are still being lauded for their strong 2009 campaigns, as both were honored this week by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll.
Schatz, who claimed his fourth consecutive World of Outlaws title last year, was voted the “Driver of the Year” by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll for the fourth straight year. Saldana, who finished second in the “Driver of the Year” voting, received the “Wild Car Award” for his exciting performance in 2009 that saw him win a series-best 21 times overall with the World of Outlaws.
Schatz won 12 times on the World of Outlaws trail in 2009, collecting a series-best 39 Top-Five finishes along the way en route to claiming the title. Among his wins, were his second Kings Royal and also the 100th A-Feature victory of his career with the World of Outlaws, which came at Dacotah Speedway in his home state of North Dakota, making him just the fifth driver in the series 30-plus year history to cross the century mark. Schatz also claimed his fourth consecutive Knoxville Nationals, making him the only driver other than 20-time series champion Steve Kinser to accomplish that feat.
Saldana added his name to an illustrious list of drivers that have claimed 20 or more A-Feature wins in a single season with the World of Outlaws, joining Kinser, along with three-time series champion Sammy Swindell, two-time titlist Mark Kinser and Hall of Famer Doug Wolfgang. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana finished third in points on the strength of 48 Top-10 finishes in what was the closest three-way race in series history, coming up just 70 markers shy of his first title. Saldana’s team, Kasey Kahne Racing, was voted the 2009 “Team of the Year” as well by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll for their performance over the course of the always grueling World of Outlaws season.
The North American 410 Sprint Car Poll is an annual awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum. Voting is conducted among a panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers. All awards will be distributed in the spring of 2010 at tracks throughout North America.
Schatz and Saldana will also be honored this Saturday night during the annual American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association All-America Team Banquet in Brownsburg, Indiana. Schatz was named to the First Team for the fourth consecutive year, while Saldana garnered Second Team honors for the second time in his career.No Comment