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Outlaw Saldana’s Late Pass Beats Schatz

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 23 2009


It was a big week for Joey Saldana and his Kasey Kahne Racing team. After opening a brand new shop just down the road from The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Saldana was able to race in front of his car owner on Friday night in the Outlaw Showdown at the four-tenths mile. Saldana made the most of the opportunity, winning for Kahne at what is considered the team’s home track in front of a huge crowd.

Saldana passed three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz in lapped traffic on the 20th lap and led the rest of the way to score his series leading sixth win of the season and the 45th of his career with the series, which moves him to just one spot out of the Top-10 on the all-time list.

“Tonight was a great night,” said Saldana. “I am so proud of this entire team. Kasey (Kahne) expects us to get results with all that he does, so this was a great one to get for him. It was a great effort by everyone involved here tonight.”

Saldana lined up second and ran side by side with Schatz in turns one and two on the opening start, with Schatz surging ahead down the back straightaway. Schatz began to pull away on the third lap when the first caution of the night flew. He led on the restart and within four laps was again in heavy lapped traffic.

Saldana was held up a bit in traffic allowing Schatz to pad his lead. Schatz then got held up by the slower machines giving Saldana another chance to close in. On the 20th lap in traffic, Saldana made the pass for the lead and ultimately the $12,000 win aboard the Budweiser Maxim going under Schatz in turn two.

“For me as a driver to be able pass Donny Schatz in lapped traffic and set him up to do it, is huge,” shared Saldana. “That is what he always does and he is the best at. Maybe I am learning from what he does to us. It was definitely a great run for us.”

For Saldana, the win bested his entire win total for the 2008 season. It was his first victory in May, after winning five times in the first 11 races of the season. He started the night by timing in seventh in time trials, though only was able to finish fifth in the third heat race. That time from the beginning of the night was good enough to get him in the Crane Cams Dash, where he would finish second to earn a front row starting spot for the 30-lap contest.

“When our car is right, our car is right and we can win races,” he noted. “When our car is not right, it seems like we have been struggling. The month of May has been tough for us. To come to this race and do what we did tonight was big. Our car was not that good in the heat (race) and even the dash. We just working and working and it paid off.”

Sides got around Schatz with two laps to go on the bottom of turn two and tried everything he could to track down Saldana.

“I am really getting to where I like this place,” said Sides. “Our SKR cars are really going pretty good here and we are figuring out what to do with the car. It seemed like we were running Joey (Saldana) back down. I felt like if we could have had a few more laps, we could have been better.”

Schatz led the first 19 laps of the race and wound up third in the Armor All J&J. He turned the second fastest lap in time trials to earn four bonus points and extended his lead in the championship standing to 44 over Steve Kinser.

“It wasn’t the night we wanted,” said Schatz. “We had a great car early and when it laid rubber, we were ok. I kept telling myself I had to get through every lapped car that I could and I caught myself out a little bit and Joey (Saldana) got by. We got racing a little bit and I felt like I was going to get back by him in lapped traffic and we had a yellow.”

Daryn Pittman finished fourth on Friday night as he continues to chase his first World of Outlaws win of the season. He began the night by setting quick time for the second time this season in the Pete’s Bridge Street Motors Maxim.

“Fourth is nothing to be discouraged about,” Pittman said. “There wasn’t a lot of race track to make many moves. I think we were good enough that if we started on the front row, we could have had something for them. To be quick time and run as solid as we did with this whole team is really good. We’re close and if we keep finishing in the Top-Five, we’ll get a win.”

Sides got around Saldana on the 12th lap exiting the second turn to take the second spot. Saldana got back around him the next lap as they jockeyed for position in lapped traffic. The pair has battled a number of times this season while running in the Top-Five.

“I would love to go back and see what would have happened if we could have stayed in front of Joey,” said Sides with a grin. “I passed him for a lap and then he got back by me in lapped traffic. I tried his line where he went up high once and it wasn’t any good and he got back by me. I got by Donny at the end and that was really good. That was a big dollar spot. Anytime we can get by those guys, we feel we are right there and can win one.”

Schatz got a run on Saldana with three laps left as he used the high side of turn four, in a bid for the lead, but was not quite able to make the pass. He then had his hands full with Sides who was right on him and eventually took the runner-up spot from him.

“I tried the top to see if I could make a pass for the win,” explained Schatz. “I could have been a hero or a zero and I was a zero and ended up third. That’s racing. We messed up a little before the feature, but we learned a lot from it. Unfortunately we gave away a win, but that’s how it goes. We were still in the Top-Three and I felt we had a good enough car, I just made some mistakes. We’re going to go on and try to redeem ourselves and get a win tomorrow.”

Kinser, the 20-time series champion, used a strong restart on the 22nd lap to get around Jason Meyers and Chad Kemenah to take the fifth spot in the Quaker State Maxim.

News and notes:

• FAST QUALIFIER: Daryn Pittman paced the 24 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked four-tenths mile oval at 14.737 seconds at 97.713 mph. For his qualifying effort, Pittman earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Donny Schatz (4), Steve Kinser (3), Brooke Tatnell (2), and Jason Meyers (1).

• QUALIFYING WINNERS: Jason Sides, Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser won heat races. Donny Schatz won the Crane Cams Dash. Randy Hannagan won the B-Main.

FEATURE WINNERS: There has been 19 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature event held in 2009. The winners include: Joey Saldana (Volusia Speedway Park, Silver Dollar Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway, Lone Star Speedway, Houston Raceway Park and The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park-twice, The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Knoxville Raceway and Eldora Speedway), Jason Meyers (Silver Dollar Speedway and Paducah International Raceway), Randy Hannagan (Thunderbowl Raceway), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove Speedway), Tim Kaeding (Riverside International Speedway), Chad Kemenah (Manzanita Speedway), (Tri-State Speedway) and Danny Lasoski (Delaware International Speedway).

• 0.4-MILE WINNERS: The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a semi-banked 0.4-mile. The World of Outlaws have raced once this season on a track that size. The winner was Joey Saldana (The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway).


1) 25-Daryn Pittman 14.737

2) 15-Donny Schatz 14.760

3) 11-Steve Kinser 14.860

4) 21AU-Brooke Tatnell 14.917

5) 14-Jason Meyers 14.935

6) 3C-Cale Conley 14.967

7) 9-Joey Saldana 14.976

8) 20-Kraig Kinser 15.006

9) 6-Danny Lasoski 15.038

10) 7S-Jason Sides 15.038

11) 1X-Randy Hannagan 15.056

12) 2L-Ed Lynch Jr. 15.084

13) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 15.090

14) R19-Jac Haudenschild 15.131

15) 1XL-Matt Linder 15.330

16) 89-Robbie Stillwaggen 15.452

17) 63-Chad Kemenah 15.455

18) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 15.472

19) 19-Craig Dollansky 15.583

20) 24X-Nicholas Bashford 15.666

21) 92-Daron Clayton 15.684

22) 89G-David Gravel 15.744

23) 40R-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 15.798

24) 22-Brian Ellenberger 15.887

25) 21B-Brandon McLain -.—

Heat 1 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)

1) 7S-Jason Sides

2) 25-Daryn Pittman

3) 21AU-Brooke Tatnell

4) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.

5) 9-Joey Saldana

6) 89G-David Gravel

7) 89-Robbie Stillwaggen

8) 19-Craig Dollansky

9) 21B-Brandon McLain

Heat 2 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)

1) 15-Donny Schatz

2) 63-Chad Kemenah

3) 14-Jason Meyers

4) R19-Jac Haudenschild

5) 20-Kraig Kinser

6) 40R-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

7) 24X-Nicholas Bashford

8) 1X-Randy Hannagan

Heat 3 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)

1) 11-Steve Kinser

2) 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.

3) 6-Danny Lasoski

4) 3C-Cale Conley

5) 5W-Lucas Wolfe

6) 1XL-Matt Linder

7) 22-Brian Ellenberger

8) 92-Daron Clayton

Crane Cams Dash (6 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature)

1) 15-Donny Schatz

2) 9-Joey Saldana

3) 7S-Jason Sides

4) 25-Daryn Pittman

5) 21AU-Brooke Tatnell

6) 11-Steve Kinser

7) 63-Chad Kemenah

8) 14-Jason Meyers

9) 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.

10) 3C-Cale Conley

B-main (8 laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)

1) 1X-Randy Hannagan

2) 19-Craig Dollansky

3) 22-Brian Ellenberger

4) 24X-Nicholas Bashford

5) 92-Daron Clayton

6) 89-Robbie Stillwaggen

7) 21B-Brandon McLain [$200]

A-main (30 laps) – Starting Position [#]

1) 9-Joey Saldana[2] [$12,000]

2) 7S-Jason Sides[3] [$5,500]

3) 15-Donny Schatz[1] [$4,000]

4) 25-Daryn Pittman[4] [$3,000]

5) 11-Steve Kinser[6] [$2,700]

6) 14-Jason Meyers[8] [$2,400]

7) 63-Chad Kemenah[7] [$2,100]

8) 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.[9] [$2,000]

9) 6-Danny Lasoski[12] [$1,900]

10) 3C-Cale Conley[10] [$1,800]

11) 1X-Randy Hannagan[13] [$1,700]

12) 20-Kraig Kinser[11] [$1,600]

13) R19-Jac Haudenschild[15] [$1,500]

14) 5W-Lucas Wolfe[17] [$1,200]

15) 19-Craig Dollansky[18] [$1,100]

16) 40R-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.[21] [$1,000]

17) 1XL-Matt Linder[16] [$900]

18) 22-Brian Ellenberger[22] [$850]

19) 89G-David Gravel[20] [$800]

20) 89-Robbie Stillwaggen[24] [$800]

21) 92-Daron Clayton[23] [$800]

22) 24X-Nicholas Bashford[19] [$800]

23) 21AU-Brooke Tatnell[5] [$800]

24) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[14] [$800]


Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz 1-19, Joey Saldana 20-30
SuperClean Start of the Night Award: Chad Kemenah
Penske Power Position Award: Donny Schatz
KSE Hard Charger Award: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Top-10 in points

1. Donny Schatz 2630
2. Steve Kinser 2586
3. Joey Saldana 2566
4. Jason Meyers 2534
5. Craig Dollansky ` 2486
6. Jason Sides 2469
7. Danny Lasoski 2445
8. Jac Haudenschild 2411
9. Kraig Kinser 2341
10. Lucas Wolfe 2156

– Courtesy The World of Outlaws

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 23 2009
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