Cottage Grove spotlight - Joey Saldana

Saldana Looks to Make it Two in a Row at Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR-- September 1, 2008--Joey Saldana and his team have been looking for a spark all season, and that spark came on Sunday night at Skagit Speedway in Washington, when...

Saldana Looks to Make it Two in a Row at Cottage Grove Speedway

Cottage Grove, OR-- September 1, 2008--Joey Saldana and his team have been looking for a spark all season, and that spark came on Sunday night at Skagit Speedway in Washington, when they captured the $25,000 top prize, at his car owner Kasey Kahne's home track. Saldana looks to take that momentum to Cottage Grove Speedway on Tuesday, September 2, as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series makes their lone visit of the season to the state of Oregon. Saldana was victorious at the high-banked quarter-mile last season, holding off two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz for the victory.

Saldana began his night at Cottage Grove last year by setting a new track record in time trials, turning the first sub 10-second qualifying lap in track history. He followed that up with a strong third-place finish in the first heat race to secure a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he wound up third to earn a second row-starting spot in the A-Feature.

"It was a good win for us last year," said Saldana. "We didn't start on the front row. We worked out way up the whole night. We qualified well and progressed as the night went on and got the win. It was a good night for us and hopefully we can duplicate that this year."

Last season, Saldana took the lead from Tim Shaffer on the 13th lap. After taking the lead, Saldana was able to pull away in lapped traffic aboard the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI and he expects traffic to come into play again this season at the quarter-mile.

"Lapped traffic is very important there," Saldana explained. "It's a small track and you are in traffic quite a bit. You have to hit your marks for 40 laps. We normally run 40 laps on the smaller tracks and that's always a good race. Those races feel good as well when you win, because they are hard fought races."

Cottage Grove Speedway is one of just three tracks on the 2008 World of Outlaws schedule where the drivers turn sub 10-second laps in time trials. Saldana has stopped the clocks first on four occasions this season, and also has won the Crane Cams Dash four times as well to earn pole positions.

"It actually does feel pretty quick," he noted of Cottage Grove Speedway. "For how small the track is and we usually start early over there because it's a weekday you would think it would be slick and slow, but that track is a real racy track and stays that way all night. I look forward to going back there and it's a fun race track to go to. You definitely know you are going a nine-second lap at Cottage Grove."

In his career at Cottage Grove Speedway, Saldana has six Top-10 finishes, with a couple of those being Top-Five performances. The veteran driver has nine career Top-10 finishes in the state or Oregon. The event at Cottage Grove will be the fourth race this season on a quarter-mile for the World of Outlaws.

"For our team, we are trying to get a handle on what we have," shared the second generation driver. "It's tough coming out here to different tracks that we only run once a year compared to tracks we run a lot that we have a good handle on. You have to get a good balance on the car you are usually fast and that was the case last year at Cottage Grove. Hopefully we can look at our notes and come out strong the next few races."

While his car owner, NASCAR-star Kasey Kahne, hails from Washington, Saldana treats every race the same way whether it's a race in his car owner's backyard or his own backyard in the Midwest. The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year looks to continue his success in the Pacific Northwest, where he has won four races in his career.

"You want to win any World of Outlaws race," Saldana said. "They are all important for us. One of our main sponsors Sage Fruits is from up in Washington and with Kasey (Kahne) being from Enumclaw that is huge. For me though, I want to win anywhere, anytime, be it Skagit (Speedway) or Cottage Grove (Speedway), Elma (Grays Harbor Raceway) or Eldora (Speedway). We'll just do the best we can."

Saldana has won four A-Feature events this season and is currently fourth in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 36 Top-10 finishes, with 27 of those being Top-Five performances. He is less than 100 points behind Craig Dollansky who is third in points as the series had hit the stretch run of the season.

"A good end to the season will be for us to get better and make ourselves more consistent," he said. "We seem to be a consistent Top-Five car when we finish races. We have never really been a team that has had many DNF's (Did not finish) and this year we have had a lot of them this year. We just have to finish all the races from here on out. We have a very good team here."

On Tuesday, September 2 at Cottage Grove Speedway, tickets for adults will be $37, while tickets for children ages 12-under will be $20. For ticket information visit: www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.

-credit: woo

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Kasey Kahne , Donny Schatz , Joey Saldana