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Saldana Gets Perfect Win

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 7 2011

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Not only did Joey Saldana put the Kasey Kahne Racing Red Bull Maxim in victory lane at Eldora Speedway Friday night, he also increased his lead in the 2011 championship battle to 51 points.

It was a complete turnaround from last fall, when Saldana was leading the title hunt before he wrecked hard at Eldora and wound up suffering a concussion that prevented him from racing the next night, thereby costing him any chance of contending for the title.

“I’ve got a huge smile on my face because last year I didn’t know where I was for a few days, that last show I left in a helicopter,” said Saldana, a native of Brownsburg, Ind., who won his ninth World of Outlaws event at Tony Stewart’s Eldora. “This is a lot more fun and gratifying. Definitely coming back from that and winning here, because this is such a tough track, it’s a huge accomplishment for me so I’m very happy.”

It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, though. Saldana’s car clearly had a lot of horsepower, as he was second quick in time trials before winning a heat and the dash to start the main event on the pole. But Donny Schatz was equally hungry to win at his car owner’s track and gave Saldana everything he could handle. When the two hit heavy traffic, Schatz weaved through the middle of the pack to swipe the lead as they completed the 14 th circuit in the 30-lap feature.

On a wild Lap-21 double-file restart, Saldana charged back to the lead and would hold on through one more caution as Sam Hafertepe Jr. blasted through the scramble to claim the runner-up position, leaving Schatz to finish third while Paul McMahan and Greg Wilson rounded out the Top Five.

“That’s the just the quality of drivers and teams out here,” said Saldana, a three-time winner this season. “That’s the quality of Donny Schatz. If there’s a bottom or middle he’s always the guy who can find it. When we got to lapped traffic I was just being very patient and he made me pay the price. It’s definitely a good run for us. It’s fun racing a guy like Donny Schatz. He races you clean all the time, he gives you room. He gives you the respect so you need to give him the respect back. I think you saw a good race. I didn’t realize it would turn out the way it did. I thought he was right on me the whole race so it was definitely a good finish for us.”

Hafertepe was competing against the Outlaws for the first time since the season-opening DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. He started 11 th and methodically worked his way to the front to challenge the leaders and finish in the runner-up position.

“We haven’t run with these guys in a few months and I’ve been primarily running 360 stuff,” said Hafertepe, of Sunnyvale, Texas. “Everybody kept pounding in my head that running 360s will ruin me for the 410 Sprint Cars. I don’t think it has because it’s let us work on our car, find stuff out about our car that we never knew. With these guys, you can’t try stuff. That’s what we did while we were gone. It was like a test session, and we were winning. To come back and run second when we haven’t run with them in so long makes me pretty ecstatic.”

Schatz, a four-time series champion, was encouraged by leading laps for the first time this season in the STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J.

“I couldn’t get going on the restart at the end, I’m assuming it was fuel load or I used up the tires,” he said. “I drove the wheels off it, probably drove it too hard. I had my car stuck so good through the middle, but when you race with Joey you know you’re going to have to get up there making tons of speed. I cost myself a couple of laps and let him get going. In the bigger picture, we’re there and I got to lead some laps.”

Steve Kinser was among the leaders throughout the feature before he slowed on the backstretch, bringing out the final caution of the night with six laps to go. He remains second in points while defending series champion Jason Meyers was caught in a crash when Jac Haudenschild’s right front tire went down with 10 laps to go, he is fourth in the standings.

The series concludes the Outlaw Thunder Weekend presented by Goodyear on Saturday before invading the heart of Pennsylvania Posse country next weekend at Williams Grove Speedway for two features plus the Morgan Cup challenge event pitting the Outlaws against the Pa. Posse.

NOTEBOOK

QUICK TIME – Chad Kemenah was the night’s fastest qualifier with a lap around the half-mile oval in 13.138 seconds at 137.007 mph, earning five championship points. Joey Saldana, Jason Meyers, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Dale Blaney also earned qualifying points.

FAMILY SUPPORT – Joey Saldana’s dad, Joe, who won the 1970 Knoxville Nationals, was in attendance on Friday night at Eldora: “That’s pretty cool because just over a year ago he had a form of cancer that was normally terminal, and knock on wood he’s beat it and he’s doing everything he’s supposed to do with his doctors,” Saldana said. “For him to be able to come out to the races and enjoy what he’s enjoyed his whole life is pretty cool. … My dad is pretty demanding. It’s pretty neat to be on top (of the standings) right now because Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell are having awesome starts to the season. Two of the elder guys here are showing that they’re not ready to leave the sport anytime soon, and obviously they don’t need to because they’re showing us how to get it done. We’re hanging in there and we’re being consistent and we’re doing it with a new crew chief and a new team and a new sponsor. All in all, it’s good but ultimately we want to be leading in November and my dad that’s type of guy. He’s very demanding and he wants you to achieve that goal. Right now is great but he’s not looking for right now.”

WINNERS – There have been 14 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events in 2011. The winners include: Steve Kinser – 4 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 11 and 12, Pike County Raceway on Feb. 25, the Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4); Joey Saldana – 3 (Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 3, Thunderbowl Raceway on March 19, Eldora Speedway on May 6); Sammy Swindell – 3 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 26, Merced Speedway on April 1, Tri-State Speedway on April 30); Craig Dollansky – 2 (Silver Dollar Speedway on March 12, Salina Highbanks Speedway on May 3); Jason Sides – 2 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Calistoga Speedway on April 2).

World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Eldora Speedway; Rossburg, Ohio; May 6, 2011

A-Main – (30 Laps) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana [1] [$10,000]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [11] [$5,000]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [8] [$3,000]; 4. 83-Paul McMahan [5] [$2,700]; 5. W20-Greg Wilson [23] [$2,500]; 6. 83X-Tim Shaffer [22] [$2,200]; 7. 7S-Jason Sides [19] [$2,000]; 8. 6-Kraig Kinser [16] [$1,800]; 9. 7-Craig Dollansky [13] [$1,600]; 10. 91-Cody Darrah [7] [$1,450]; 11. 2-Dale Blaney [12] [$1,300]; 12. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer [15] [$1,200]; 13. 27-Daryn Pittman [10] [$1,100]; 14. 63-Chad Kemenah [4] [$1,000]; 15. 2M-Dustin Daggett [24] [$950]; 16. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [18] [$900]; 17. 49-Brad Sweet [21] [$850]; 18. 89G-David Gravel [20] [$750]; 19. 11-Steve Kinser [2] [$725]; 20. 14-Jason Meyers [3] [$700]; 21. 6M-Jac Haudenschild [17] [$700]; 22. 2B-Ben Gregg [14] [$700]; 23. 6R-Bill Rose [25] [$]; 24. 92-Kerry Madsen [6] [$700]; 25. 1-Sammy Swindell [9] [$700]. Lap leaders: Joey Saldana 1-13, 21-30; Donny Schatz 14-20. KSE Hard Charger Award: W20-Greg Wilson [+18].

Qualifying - 1. 63-Chad Kemenah, 13.138; 2. 9-Joey Saldana, 13.307; 3. 14-Jason Meyers, 13.314; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr., 13.352; 5. 2-Dale Blaney, 13.391; 6. 7-Craig Dollansky, 13.397; 7. 11-Steve Kinser, 13.409; 8. 83-Paul McMahan, 13.412; 9. 91-Cody Darrah, 13.427; 10. 92-Kerry Madsen, 13.432; 11. 2B-Ben Gregg, 13.460; 12. 1-Sammy Swindell, 13.465; 13. 27-Daryn Pittman, 13.466; 14. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer, 13.471; 15. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.499; 16. 6-Kraig Kinser, 13.520; 17. 6M-Jac Haudenschild, 13.536; 18. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.546; 19. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.551; 20. 89G-David Gravel, 13.551; 21. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.559; 22. 83X-Tim Shaffer, 13.560; 23. 10-Brad Haudenschild, 13.573; 24. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.590; 25. 7L-Darren Long, 13.606; 26. 6R-Bill Rose, 13.631; 27. 71M-Paul May, 13.688; 28. 97-Dean Jacobs, 13.728; 29. 2M-Dustin Daggett, 13.733; 30. 9X-Brandon Martin, 13.775; 31. 22-Cole Duncan, 13.777; 32. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.795; 33. 45-Rob Chaney, 13.803; 34. 12-Jared Ridge, 13.809; 35. 35-Ronnie Blair, 13.889; 36. 60-Kory Crabtree, 14.252; 37. 35N-Wes McGlumphy, 14.261; 38. 34-Luke Hall, 14.274; 39. 32-Chase Stockton, 14.348.

Heat 1 - (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 27-Daryn Pittman [1]; 2. 91-Cody Darrah [2]; 3. 63-Chad Kemenah [4]; 4. 6M-Jac Haudenschild [5]; 5. 2-Dale Blaney [3]; 6. 49-Brad Sweet [6]; 7. 2M-Dustin Daggett [8]; 8. 7L-Darren Long [7]; 9. 35N-Wes McGlumphy [10]; 10. 45-Rob Chaney [9].

Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana [4]; 2. 92-Kerry Madsen [2]; 3. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer [1]; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky [3]; 5. 83X-Tim Shaffer [6]; 6. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [5]; 7. 9X-Brandon Martin [8]; 8. 12-Jared Ridge [9]; 9. 34-Luke Hall [10]; 10. 6R-Bill Rose [7].

Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1]; 2. 11-Steve Kinser [3]; 3. 14-Jason Meyers [4]; 4. 2B-Ben Gregg [2]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 6. 10-Brad Haudenschild [6]; 7. 71M-Paul May [7]; 8. 22-Cole Duncan [8]; 9. 35-Ronnie Blair [9]; 10. 32-Chase Stockton [10].

Heat 4 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [2]; 2. 83-Paul McMahan [3]; 3. 6-Kraig Kinser [1]; 4. W20-Greg Wilson [6]; 5. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [4]; 6. 89G-David Gravel [5]; 7. 97-Dean Jacobs [7]; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [8]; 9. 60-Kory Crabtree [9].

Dash – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana [3]; 2. 11-Steve Kinser [1]; 3. 14-Jason Meyers [2]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah [4]; 5. 83-Paul McMahan [5]; 6. 92-Kerry Madsen [7]; 7. 91-Cody Darrah [6]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [10]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell [8]; 10. 27-Daryn Pittman [9].

B-Main - (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 89G-David Gravel [2] [-]; 2. 2M-Dustin Daggett [9] [-]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [3] [-]; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [1] [-]; 5. 71M-Paul May [7] [$200]; 6. 45-Rob Chaney [13] [$180]; 7. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [12] [$175]; 8. 22-Cole Duncan [11] [$160]; 9. 60-Kory Crabtree [16] [$150]; 10. 35-Ronnie Blair [15] [$150]; 11. 12-Jared Ridge [14] [$150]; 12. 32-Chase Stockton [19] [$150]; 13. 35N-Wes McGlumphy [17] [$150]; 14. 7L-Darren Long [5] [$150]; 15. 9X-Brandon Martin [10] [$150]; 16. 10-Brad Haudenschild [4] [$150]; 17. 34-Luke Hall [18] [$150]; 18. 97-Dean Jacobs [8] [$150]; 19. 6R-Bill Rose [6] [$150]

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 7 2011
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