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Saldana Wins Again At Eldora

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 24 2011

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Joey Saldana returned to Eldora Speedway, site of some of his greatest victories and scariest crashes, with hopes of winning his second consecutive World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series race since missing nine weeks to injury.

Saldana dominated once again, winning for the second time this season at the historic half-mile dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio.

Twice he has won the prestigious Kings Royal, but twice a potential championship run was decimated by injuries from a crash, most recently in July when he sustained a shattered arm, punctured lung and broken ribs that kept him out of the Kasey Kahne Racing Red Bull Maxim for nine weeks.

On Friday, just two days after winning at Hartford (Mich.) Motor Speedway his first race back, Saldana again was in victory lane at Eldora after leading 30 laps and holding off his best friend, Paul McMahan, to the checkered flag. It was his sixth win of the year overall.

“I have to thank God for this one,” said Saldana, the Brownsburg Bullet who now resides in Pittsboro, Ind. “It was only three weeks ago that I could barely run on a treadmill and tonight I outlasted a very physical race track. That’s a testament to my trainer at Pit Fit, Jim Leo. He ran me through my paces and pushed me harder and harder and it’s paid off. I couldn’t have imagined in a million years we would have won Hartford but now we’ve made it two in a row. It just shows how tough and good this team is. We were competitive earlier this season and they haven’t missed a beat since.”

Saldana started on the outside of the front row for the 30-lap main event alongside his teammate, McMahan. Despite a strong effort, McMahan could only watch as Saldana powered to the front and held on through 30 circuits and two double-file restarts.

“You hate losing but if I had to lose to anyone, I’m glad it’s my best friend,” said McMahan, driver of the #83 Roth Motorsports/H.R. Cattle Maxim that’s run out of Kahne’s Mooresville, N.C., shop. “Joey just had an awesome car again tonight and it’s great to have him back out here. We had a really good car all night long and maybe had a shot on the restarts. It’s just a great night overall for Kasey Kahne Racing.”

At different points in the race, it looked as if youngsters Cody Darrah and Brad Sweet were going to give KKR a sweep of the top-three or four positions, but tire woes on both cars opened the door for defending World of Outlaws champion and current points leader Jason Meyers to charge onto the podium. Meyers, of Clovis, Calif., started 13th and raced his way to third.

“I’m beginning to think Joey went to church every Sunday he was out,” Meyers chuckled after earning his series-leading 34th Top-Five of the season. “We really didn’t qualify where we wanted too but hit on something during the heat races. My guys never give up and always dig on this DDNi/Media-Tile/GLR Investments car. I really wished it would’ve been a 40-lap race because I think we could have had something for Joey but congratulations to him again. He’s really showing the type of competitor he is.”

Dale Blaney finished fourth with Craig Dollansky rounding out the Top Five. Title contenders Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser finished 6th and 13th respectively as Meyers widened his lead in the series championship standings. In his quest to repeat as champion at the season-ending World Finals in Charlotte, Meyers leads Schatz by 140 points and Kinser by 147 points.

Saldana will try to make it three wins in a row on Saturday night when the Outlaws roll invade Lernerville Speedway for the Commonwealth Clash.

NOTEBOOK

WINNERS – There have been 57 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events in 2011. The winners include: Craig Dollansky – 9 (Silver Dollar Speedway on March 12, Salina Highbanks Speedway on May 3, River Cities Speedway on June 17 and 18, Dodge City Raceway Park on July 1, Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 24, I-55 Raceway on August 6, Skagit Speedway on September 2, Clay County Fair Speedway on September 16); Steve Kinser – 9 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 11 and 12, Pike County Raceway on Feb. 25, the Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4, Lakeside Speedway on June 4, River Cities Speedway on August 19, Huset’s Speedway on August 20, Antioch Speedway on September 12, Deer Creek Speedway on September 17); Joey Saldana – 6 (Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 3, Thunderbowl Raceway on March 19, Eldora Speedway on May 6, Beaver Dam Raceway on July 9, Hartford Motor Speedway on September 21, Eldora Speedway on September 23); Donny Schatz – 6 (Attica Raceway Park on May 20, Princeton Speedway on June 25, Limaland Motorsports Park on July 13, Bloomington Speedway on August 5, Knoxville Raceway on August 13, Black Hills Speedway on August 23); Paul McMahan – 4 (the Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 28, Belleville Highbanks on June 3, Brockville-Ontario Speedway on July 29, Silver Dollar Speedway on September 9); Jason Meyers – 4 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 8, Williams Grove Speedway on July 23, Autodrome Drummond on July 30, Castrol Raceway on August 26); Sammy Swindell – 4 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 26, Merced Speedway on April 1, Tri-State Speedway on April 30, Knoxville Raceway on June 11); Jason Sides – 4 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Calistoga Speedway on April 2, I-96 Speedway on May 30, Dodge City Raceway Park on July 2); Tim Shaffer – 2 (Eldora Speedway on July 15, Lernerville Speedway on July 19); Dale Blaney – 1 (Lernerville Speedway on July 19); Cody Darrah – 1 (Castrol Raceway on august 27); Sam Hafertepe Jr. – 1 (Skagit Speedway on September 3);Greg Hodnett – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 22); Kraig Kinser – 1 (Cottage Grove Speedway on September 5);Kyle Larson – 1 (Silver Dollar Speedway on September 10); Daryn Pittman – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 13); Tony Stewart – 1 (Oshweken Speedway on July 27); Tyler Walker – 1 (Eldora Speedway on July 16.)

TIME TRIALS – Joey Saldana was the fastest qualifier around the half-mile oval with a time of 12.785 seconds and earned five championship points. Also earning points were Cody Darrah, Kerry Madsen, Paul McMahan and Dale Blaney. It marked Saldana’s sixth Quick Time of the season.

World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Eldora Speedway; Rossburg, Ohio; Sept. 23, 2011

A-Main – (30 Laps) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana [2] [$10,000]; 2. 83-Paul McMahan [1] [$5,500]; 3. 14-Jason Meyers [13] [$3,200]; 4. 2-Dale Blaney [4] [$2,800]; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky [7] [$2,500]; 6. 15-Donny Schatz [12] [$2,300]; 7. 15HX-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [20] [$2,200]; 8. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [8] [$2,100]; 9. 92-Kerry Madsen [10] [$2,050]; 10. 63-Chad Kemenah [11] [$2,000]; 11. 6-Kraig Kinser [22] [$1,500]; 12. 89G-David Gravel [9] [$1,200]; 13. 11-Steve Kinser [14] [$1,100]; 14. 83X-Tim Shaffer [16] [$1,050]; 15. 1-Sammy Swindell [19] [$1,000]; 16. O4-Cap Henry [15] [$900]; 17. 7S-Jason Sides [6] [$800]; 18. 49-Brad Sweet [5] [$800]; 19. D4-Danny Holtgraver [24] [$800]; 20. 22H-Randy Hannagan [17] [$800]; 21. 91-Cody Darrah [3] [$800]; 22. 97-Dean Jacobs [23] [$800]; 23. 7K-Kyle Sauder [18] [$800]; 24. 78-Todd Kane [21] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Joey Saldana 1-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 15HX-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [+13]

Qualifying – 1. 9-Joey Saldana, 12.785; 2. 91-Cody Darrah, 12.800; 3. 92-Kerry Madsen, 12.862; 4. 83-Paul McMahan, 12.866; 5. 2-Dale Blaney, 12.885; 6. 49-Brad Sweet, 12.926; 7. 63-Chad Kemenah, 12.962; 8. 7-Craig Dollansky, 12.977; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.979; 10. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 12.997; 11. 89G-David Gravel, 12.998; 12. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.006; 13. 14-Jason Meyers, 13.023; 14. 11-Steve Kinser, 13.036; 15. O4-Cap Henry, 13.050; 16. 83X-Tim Shaffer, 13.057; 17. 22H-Randy Hannagan, 13.058; 18. 7K-Kyle Sauder, 13.126; 19. 1-Sammy Swindell, 13.147; 20. 15HX-Sam Hafertepe Jr., 13.166; 21. 78-Todd Kane, 13.195; 22. 6-Kraig Kinser, 13.202; 23. D4-Danny Holtgraver, 13.231; 24. 6R-Bill Rose, 13.286; 25. OO-Jim Nier, 13.331; 26. 97-Dean Jacobs, 13.394; 27. 34-Luke Hall, 13.428; 28. 35-Ronnie Blair, 13.641; 29. 9H-Derek Hagar, 13.724; 30. 15H-Mitch Harble, -.—; 31. 14S-Tony Stewart, -.—

Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana [4]; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [1]; 3. 14-Jason Meyers [5]; 4. 83X-Tim Shaffer [6]; 5. 83-Paul McMahan [3]; 6. 6-Kraig Kinser [8]; 7. OO-Jim Nier [9]; 8. 35-Ronnie Blair [10]; 9. 63-Chad Kemenah [2]; 10. 1-Sammy Swindell [7]

Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 89G-David Gravel [1]; 2. 7-Craig Dollansky [2]; 3. 2-Dale Blaney [3]; 4. 11-Steve Kinser [5]; 5. 91-Cody Darrah [4]; 6. 15HX-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [7]; 7. 22H-Randy Hannagan [6]; 8. 97-Dean Jacobs [9]; 9. D4-Danny Holtgraver [8]; 10. 9H-Derek Hagar [10]

Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 7S-Jason Sides [1]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [3]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [2]; 4. 92-Kerry Madsen [4]; 5. 7K-Kyle Sauder [6]; 6. O4-Cap Henry [5]; 7. 14S-Tony Stewart [10]; 8. 78-Todd Kane [7]; 9. 6R-Bill Rose [8]; 10. 34-Luke Hall [9]

Dash – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 83-Paul McMahan [1]; 2. 9-Joey Saldana [4]; 3. 91-Cody Darrah [3]; 4. 2-Dale Blaney [5]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [6]; 6. 7S-Jason Sides [10]; 7. 7-Craig Dollansky [7]; 8. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [8]; 9. 89G-David Gravel [9]; 10. 92-Kerry Madsen [2]

B-Main – (12 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 22H-Randy Hannagan [2] [-]; 2. 63-Chad Kemenah [1] [-]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell [3] [-]; 4. 78-Todd Kane [4] [-]; 5. 97-Dean Jacobs [8] [-]; 6. D4-Danny Holtgraver [5] [-]; 7. 14S-Tony Stewart [12] [$200]; 8. 6R-Bill Rose [6] [$180]; 9. 35-Ronnie Blair [10] [$175]; 10. 9H-Derek Hagar [11] [$160]; 11. OO-Jim Nier [7] [$150]; 12. 34-Luke Hall [9] [$150]; 13. 15H-Mitch Harble [13] [$150].

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 24 2011
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