Dodge City report 2006-07-01

Saldana Slides to Win at Dodge City in Boot Hill Showdown Dodge City, KS--July 1, 2006- Just as many of the Outlaws use to roll into Dodge City with a score to settle, so did Joey Saldana on Saturday night in the Boot Hill Showdown at Dodge City...

Saldana Slides to Win at Dodge City in Boot Hill Showdown

Dodge City, KS--July 1, 2006- Just as many of the Outlaws use to roll into Dodge City with a score to settle, so did Joey Saldana on Saturday night in the Boot Hill Showdown at Dodge City Raceway Park. After a spirited charge from the back of the field to finish seventh on Friday night, after some early trouble, Saldana knew he would be fast as the series moseyed into the Old West for their final race of the season in the state of Kansas.

Saldana lined up fourth in the 30-lap A-Feature and gained two spots quickly before setting his sights on leader Brooke Tatnell. Saldana chose his line well and patiently followed Tatnell measuring his every move. After encountering lapped traffic just before the halfway point of the race, Saldana was able to close the gap on the Aussie.

Saldana driving the Dodge/Mopar-powered/Curb Records JEI owned by NASCAR superstar Kasey Kahne, made the pass for the win on the high side of the track on the 12th lap. At the beginning of the lap, Saldana was about eight car lengths behind Tatnell, but once in traffic, he closed that gap in an instant and used a couple of lapped cars to his full advantage.

The Brownsburg, Ind. native now has racked up four wins on the year, and has 19 in his World of Outlaws career.

"We needed it after last night," Saldana said. "We had a very disappointing race at Wichita. We had a really good car and we ended up seventh. We got caught up there at the start and went off the track. I could not keep my car going. We definitely rebounded with a good run. My guys worked real hard. We put the car where it should be and hopefully we can keep this up."

Saldana figured out early in the race that the top of the track is where he needed to be, and he used the cushion to his advantage. While lapped traffic hurt some of the lead lap cars, it was a benefit for Saldana as he sliced and diced his way through the slower cars during his march to the front.

"I was just looking around on the racetrack," he said. "I found something in turns three and four that no one else really seemed to find. When I got to the lapped cars, it really didn't affect me that much. These guys are good and obviously my car was working to where I could do that. Sometimes you see a guy doing something, and just because he is doing it doesn't mean that you can do it. "

The 1996 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, now has 13 Top-Five finishes which have him solidly in second place in the standings. He gained a few extra points on Saturday, by timing in as the third fastest qualifier, earning him three bonus points.

"We've really put a big emphasis this year on our engine program, said Saldana. "Qualifying has been killing us and we've been racing well. We're working real hard on our engine program for the big races coming up and I think it shows. We're definitely in the ballpark."

Saldana and his Willie Kahne led crew are gaining more momentum each day as they try different combinations and turn more laps. They have their eyes firmly planted on the big money races coming up in the next couple weeks. They were more than happy to leave Dodge City on Saturday night with another check for $10,000.

"The more we race, the better for us," said Saldana. "We're just getting better as a team. This is a new team this year. People probably don't realize that this is the first time this team has run with the World of Outlaws full-time. It's all new, these cars, the chassis, the crew, the driver. I'd say we are doing pretty well, and hopefully we can keep it up."

Saldana and his crew like the rest of the Mean 15 have a long trip ahead of them as they make the trek north to Huset's Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota for an event on Monday night, but with a day to travel they can savor their trip to RacinSoles Victory Lane for a few extra hours.

"We got the win and that's all that matters," said a smiling Saldana, as he signed autographs for an endless line of fans after the race.

Tatnell came home second in the Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle, after staging a late battle with current point leader Donny Schatz. Tatnell was credited with leading the first 11 laps of the event. He led from the get-go, as he powered to the outside of Daryn Pittman. He built up a lead the first few laps of the race, but encountered lapped traffic quickly as he was setting a blistering pace on the always fast 3/8-mile high-banked oval.

"The car felt very good on the starts," said Tatnell. "The yellows definitely didn't help us. We had a good package tonight and had all the pieces of the puzzle. The crew did a real good job."

Tatnell made a couple of attempts to charge back around Saldana, but each time was not quite able to make the car stick on the low side of the track.

"We got beat by being the leader," said Tatnell, a native of San Souci, NSW Australia. "We felt good on the bottom of the track, obviously Joey went by me on the top. Sometimes it's easier running second, where you can try some things. We ran good on the bottom, and just needed to be up high."

Tatnell who finished fourth on Friday night, looks to improve one more spot on Monday at Huset's Speedway, where he won his first race of the season in May. He was quick to credit his Troy Renfro led crew with always making sure he has the best possible car when he hits the track.

"We have to keep giving 120 percent effort," Tatnell said. "That's what it takes every night of the week. That's what makes this series the toughest and top series. You have over 80 races, and you have to be 120 percent on your game. We're there, we just have to get that end result. We're better than what we are finishing right now."

Schatz in the Parker Stores J & J came home third after starting seventh. He continued his remarkable streak of upfront finishes. Since May 20, he has finished seventh of better in every single World of Outlaws A-Feature event. That consistency has brought him a series best 20 Top-Five finishes.

"We did everything we could, to get as far as we could," Schatz said. "We may have been able to catch Brooke, but I got into lapped traffic wrong, and made a mistake. That allowed him to get away from us. A good top-three finish and we'll move on to Monday."

Schatz heads into Monday's race with seven wins on the year after picking up the victory on Friday night in the Wichita Twister Showdown at 81 Speedway. He knows that Huset's Speedway has not always produced the best results for the team, but he is up for the challenge and knows the team will give it everything that they have.

"That place has been tough on us the last couple times there," said Schatz, or Fargo, North Dakota. "We have not qualified well, and it's hard to come from way in the back. We have to qualify well and put ourselves in a position to be in the dash. We just have to stay ahead of the program all night."

Pittman was fourth in the Titan Garages/Hop-n-Sack Convenience Stores Maxim, with Justin Henderson picking up his best career finish in 5th.

Pittman has some early trouble and Friday night and was looking for redemption at the Boot Hill Showdown, as he won the dash leading it wire-to-wire, to earn the pole position in the A-Feature. Though he had the top starting spot, he did not lead a lap, as Tatnell jumped to the initial lead. All in all, the native is Owasso, Okla., knew it was a night his team could build on, and it showed they are able to overcome adversity.

"The good thing is that it's another Top-Five for us," said Pittman. "We're never happy to back up and give away a win. We knew starting on the pole we would not win the start, but I thought we could hang with Brooke, and then have something for him at the end. The nine car was just too good. It's a fourth place finish, and we'll take it and move on to Monday."

Pittman who swept the Eagle Nationals a few weeks back, looks to continue to build momentum for his team as they begin some of the most prestigious and richest races on the schedule.

"We got back to where we needed to be," said Pittman. "We're in the Top-Five and I feel like that is where our team needs to be every night. It's always good to finish up front, sometimes it's better not to know where you started to finish up there."

Justin Henderson has been knocking on the door of the Top-Five all season and on Saturday night he barged through it, as he picked up his best career World of Outlaws finish, a solid fifth.

"My career best finish with the World of Outlaws," said Henderson. "We started sixth and moved up a spot. It's not like we started on the pole and dropped to fifth. I'm really happy with the car. My dad really set up the Schnee chassis to the best of its ability. His motor was also running strong. What else can I say. I did my part and sat in the seat, other than that, the car was right to begin with."

The native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, battled all night long and was running in the fourth spot for a good portion of the first half of the race. He was another of the drivers that searched the track high and low to find the perfect spot to put his car.

"The first caution helped me a lot because I started sixth and fell to about eighth," Henderson said. "On the second restart, when we got one full lap in, I moved from sixth to fourth. I was sitting pretty good. Schatz passed me, but what are you going to do, he is one of the best out here."

Henderson returns home to Sioux Falls on Monday and makes the short trip to Huset's Speedway, a track he has turned countless laps at in the past. He is currently battling for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt.

"I think Monday we have a real good shot of winning with this car," said Henderson. "Schnee just built us a brand new car and it's working really well. We're getting the handle on this motor as well. Up until tonight it was not qualifying very well, but we changed a mag and now it's running a lot better. I think we gaining some momentum. We should be alright heading into Monday night."

The rest of the Top-10 was Terry McCarl in 6th in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, with Jeremy Campbell just behind him in 7th in the Americas Best Value Inn Maxim. Jac Haudenschild was 8th in the Wright One Construction Maxim, with Chad Kemenah 9th in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle. Becca Anderson rounded out the Top-Ten in the Upstate Kenworth Maxim, and picked up her second Top-10 run of the year.

The Mean 15 wrap up the trio of races over the Independence Day weekend by traveling north to the always challenging high-banked 3/8-mile oval at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota.

DODGE CITY RACEWAY PARK NOTEBOOK

* FAST QUALIFIER: Terry McCarl paced the 22 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 3/8-mile high-banked oval at 13.169 seconds at 102.521 mph. For his qualifying effort, McCarl earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including Donny Schatz (4), Joey Saldana (3), Chad Kemenah (2), and Brooke Tatnell (1). Donny Schatz holds the track record of 12.277 seconds established on Oct. 7, 2005.

* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included Mean 15 drivers Randy Hannagan, and Dion Hindi, as well as Garry Lee Maier. ... Darryn Pittman picked up the win in the dash.

* MAIN EVENT WINNERS: Joey Saldana's win on Saturday night at Dodge City Raceway Park was his fourth World of Outlaws A-feature victory of the season. There have been 13 different winners in 27 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, and June 30 at 81 Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, and July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway and June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway and May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia),Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway) and Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway) and Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway).

* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been four preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list included: Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, and Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9.

* 3/8-MILE WINNERS: Dodge City Raceway Park is a high-banked 3/8-mile oval. The series has now raced on a track that size six times. Winners include: Donny Schatz (Batesville Speedway and 81 Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (U.S. 36 Raceway and Sharon Speedway), Joey Saldana (Dodge City Raceway Park) and Paul McMahan (USA Race Park).

* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 5 the finale from the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway that ran on June 18. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Kasey Kahne , Donny Schatz , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Dean Jacobs , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Becca Anderson , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah
Teams Williams