Series Paducah spotlight - Joey Saldana

Oh So Close: Saldana Looks to Improve on Runner-up Finish at Paducah International Raceway Concord, NC-- July 28, 2008--Joey Saldana led 32 of the first 35 laps in the A-Feature event at Paducah International Raceway for the Advance Auto...

Oh So Close: Saldana Looks to Improve on Runner-up Finish at Paducah International Raceway

Concord, NC-- July 28, 2008--Joey Saldana led 32 of the first 35 laps in the A-Feature event at Paducah International Raceway for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series last season, en route to a runner-up finish and he looks to improve on that this season as the series returns to the high-banked 3/8-mile tonight for an event which was postponed by rain earlier this season.

When the World of Outlaws visited the track initially this season on May 10, Saldana had one of the fastest cars in the pit area, handily winning the second heat race to earn himself a spot in the Crane Cams Dash. Unfortunately the rains came just as the third heat race had taken to the track, forcing the postponement of the event. By way of the series rulebook, a completely new racing program will take place tonight, beginning with hot laps, followed by time trials, heat races, the Crane Cams Dash and the A-Feature event.

"I'm looking forward to going over there," noted the second generation driver. "We had a good car there last year and came up short. We had a very good car there this year before it got rained out. Hopefully we can continue what we are doing with our race car there and have another good run. We definitely need to keep running good and running up front. If we're doing that hopefully we can win a race and hopefully Paducah is the place we can do that at."

While the weather conditions have changed drastically since May, with a very hot day expected on Monday, Saldana and his team are confident that the set-up they have used in their last two visits to Paducah will work again this evening. Driving the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI, Saldana has been fastest in time trials three times this season, along with picking up four wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions in A-Feature events.

"You can use it," he explained of past set-up information from Paducah. "We went there earlier this season with the set-up we had last year and right out of the box were pretty decent. You can pretty much use everything you have. You can't use everything because dirt track racing changes so much, but the basics are there. Just having a good idea of what you need to do on the track as a driver doesn't change. I imagine it will be a good race and hopefully we're in it when there is good racing going on."

The race at Paducah will be the eighth event this season for the World of Outlaws on a 3/8-mile track. Saldana picked up his first win of the season last month on a track that size, at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas. He also won twice last season on tracks that size and always enjoys racing on the shorter track. He finished fifth on Saturday night at K-C Raceway in Ohio, which is also a high-banked 3/8-mile.

"It's a pretty unique track," he said of Paducah. "It's a neat little place. Sprint cars put on a really good show there. The only track I can think of that is might be close to would be Spencer, Iowa (Clay County Fair Speedway). It's a cool track and the racing is good there. Hopefully we'll be up front and be part of a good race there."

The original event at Paducah back in May which fell to rain has been part of a record number of rainouts that have plagued the World of Outlaws this season. The series lost three shows to rain last week, though were able to get both races this past weekend in. A very warm and sunny day will greet the series at Paducah International Raceway on Monday.

"It's frustrating for everybody," explained the native of Brownsburg, Indiana of the rash of rainouts. "We have gotten about 35 or so races in and normally we have gotten in 50 or 60 by now. Hopefully we can get the rain out of the way and have a good rest of the year. I can never remember a year that has been like this. With the way that weather is, you have to have years like this every now and then. It's not like we have something like this every year. I have never seen anything like it and this is my 10th year with the World of Outlaws. I'd say nine out of 10 is not bad."

Saldana heads to Paducah fourth in the championship standings, just 14 points behind Craig Dollansky who is in third. Saldana has racked up 29 Top-10 finishes in 35 events, with 22 of those being Top-Five performances. In addition to his win at Dodge City, he also was victorious at Eldora Speedway in the Knight Before the Kings Royal earlier this month. He was handily leading the Kings Royal when he had a tire explode, which has happened to him a couple of times while leading this season.

"I'm pleased with my team and what we are doing, but at the end of the day people look at the "W's" and the money that you won and the races that you won," he commented. "We have not been winning the races and making the money and doing the things we should be doing. We're in position to run up front and win races and have had the bad luck. The frustrating thing is that some other teams don't seem to have the bad luck that we have. We can't worry about what other teams are doing, you can only worry about yourself. As long as we don't get down and keep doing what we have been doing all year hopefully our lucks turns around and we can have some good luck for a change."

Saldana heads to Paducah tonight having finished eighth or better in both of his career starts at the track. In the state of Kentucky, he has five Top-Five finishes in his career, as he looks for his first win in the Bluegrass state. This season, nine different drivers have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws, with 17 drivers having led laps in A-Feature competition.

"It's no different than anywhere else," Saldana stated when asked what it will take to win at Paducah. "It takes a good qualifying effort and a good run in the heat race and dash, and then a good 30 or 40 laps in the feature. When it's your time to win, you definitely have to be on your game, because the guy that wins usually is the dominate car that night. Hopefully we can get better than those third and fifth-place finishes and have a dominate car where we can get the win."

On Monday, July 28 at Paducah International Raceway, Adult grandstand admission will be $30, with children 12-under $5, while pit passes will be $35, with pit upgrades available for an $10 added to the ticket price. Ticket stubs and wristbands from May 10 will be honored on July 28. For ticket information visit: www.paducahracing.com.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Craig Dollansky , Joey Saldana