Schatz & Saldana Named to All-America Auto Racing Team

Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana were both named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association All-America Auto Racing Team this weekend.

This was the second consecutive season that Schatz was on the ballot and the second consecutive year that he earned First Team honors in the "Short Track" category. For Saldana, it was his first time on the ballot and he earned Second Team recognition in the "Short Track" category.

Schatz, the two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, won 19 A-Feature events this season with the series, along with his second consecutive Knoxville Nationals. In the process, he became the first sprint car driver in history to win the Knoxville Nationals, the Kings Royal, the National Open, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same season. He brought his career win total with the series to 70, tying him for sixth on the all-time win list.

The North Dakota native earned 71 Top-10 finishes in the 75 A-Feature contested by the series, and led the series in several statistical categories in 2007, including: A-Feature wins, Top-10 finishes, Top-Five finishes, laps led, money earned, dash wins and pole positions.

Saldana won a total of 13 events this season with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, including the $50,000 Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in California. He also was victorious at: Thunderbowl Raceway in California, Pike County Speedway in Mississippi, Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee, Dixie Speedway in Georgia, Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, Kokomo Speedway in his home state of Indiana, Eagle Raceway in Nebraska, River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, I-55 Raceway in Missouri, Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon and the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

Saldana, who finished s career-best second in championship points in 2007, led the series in fast time honors in qualifying, stopping the clocks first 11 times, setting three new track records in the process. He also was one of just three drivers to lead more than 300 laps of feature racing competition during the season. In addition, he claimed six dash wins to earn the same number of pole positions.

Schatz became the seventh World of Outlaws driver to earn All-America status last season and Saldana became the eighth different driver from the series to receive the honor with his recognition this season.

The AARWBA has been naming an All-America Auto Racing Team since 1970, and since the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series was founded in 1978, the series has been represented in 27 of those years. The voting for the All-America Auto Racing team is comprised of the 400-plus AARWBA members.

Earning an honorable mention in the "Short Track" category in his first time on ballot was World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Steve Francis.

Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws Champion, holds the record of being named to the All-America Auto Racing Team 23 times, including an unprecedented 18 berths on the First Team.

The 30th anniversary Advance Auto Park World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opens on February 8 with the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

-credit: woo