Saldana Holds Off Meyers for World of Outlaws Win at Thunderbowl
Kasey Kahne Racing driver earns second victory, moves into tie for overall championship lead
I very nearly gave this one away tonight
TULARE, Calif. - March 19, 2011 - Joey Saldana admittedly gave away the lead on a double-file restart but promptly charged back to the front on Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway to earn his second World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
On a double-file restart with 17 laps complete at the 1/3-mile oval, Saldana was leading and chose the top side in the Kasey Kahne Racing Red Bull Maxim with hometown hero and defending series champion Jason Meyers sliding into the low line. The green flag flew and Meyers shot to the lead in his DDNI/GLR/Allstar Performance/Media-Tile KPC.
"I very nearly gave this one away tonight," said Saldana, of Brownsburg, Ind. "I had been experimenting with both the top and the bottom and thought I'd have more grip up top."
Saldana quickly reeled in Meyers and surged back in front on Lap 22. Saldana then fought his way through traffic, trying to add distance back to Meyers, but on the final lap Meyers, of nearby Clovis, made another charge to the delight of the hometown crowd. However, Saldana was too strong and powered ahead to the checkered flag.
"On the first double-file restart I chose the bottom and it worked out," said Saldana, who won for the fourth time at Thunderbowl Raceway, and the third time in the past three years. "Then we had a single-file restart and I went to the top and I felt like I had a little more grip up there. On the next double I went to the top and it was totally the wrong call. I think it had more grip but it was just too far around. He just snookered me there and I just had to get up on the wheel and run him down. He was running a pretty good pace. I think we could move around a little bit better than him in the lapped cars and that's probably what saved us. When it came time to move, we could move up a lap higher than him going into Turn 3 and that seemed to pay off for us in the end.
"It was a solid car all night. When it came to the feature, it was just a real good race between me and Jason, back and forth. I'm glad we came out on top."
The victory moved Saldana into a tie with Steve Kinser atop the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship standings. Kinser, who finished sixth, has led the points since the first race of the year.
Jac Haudenschild started on the pole alongside Kerry Madsen, who jumped out to a big lead early on before he was forced to the work area with a broken throttle linkage on Lap 16, bringing out the caution and turning the lead over to Saldana. On the double-file restart, a huge pile-up resulted in Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender Cody Darrah taking a wild ride in Turn 4. Darrah walked away unharmed from the Kasey Kahne Racing Great Clips Maxim but the incident also left the cars of Bill Rose, Chad Kemenah, Craig Dollansky and Ben Gregg with damage. A single-file restart lasted only one lap before the caution waved again, setting up the showdown on the Lap 17 double file restart between Saldana and Meyers.
"What a great night for our team and the fans out here in California," said Meyers, who was the night's fastest qualifier. "We were on the pole last night and got rained out [at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway]. We wanted a win tonight and came close but Joey just had us beat."
Four-time series champion Donny Schatz, of Fargo, N.D., continued his run up the standings by finishing third in the STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. Haudenschild wound up fourth in one of three Roth Motorsports machines in the field while Sammy Swindell rounded out the Top Five.
THUNDERBOWL RACEWAY NOTEBOOK
HANFORD MAKEUP DATE: World of Outlaws and Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway officials announced following the race that the makeup date for Friday night's rain-delayed 35-lap A-main will be Thursday, March 31, creating a unique triple-header weekend to wrap up the World of Outlaws California Spring Break. Following the makeup in Hanford, the Outlaws will invade Merced Speedway for the first time on Friday, April 1, and return to Calistoga Speedway on Saturday, April 2. Ticket stubs from Friday night's race can be used to re-enter the race at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway. For tickets to the events at Merced or Calistoga, click WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets.
QUICK TIMER: Jason Meyers thrilled his supporters on Saturday night by setting quick time during time trials to earn five points. Jason Sides, Joey Saldana, Donny Schatz and Craig Dollansky also earned qualifying points.
WINNERS : There have been nine World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature events this season. The winners include: Steve Kinser (4-Volusia Speedway Park (2), Pike County Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway); Joey Saldana (2- Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway); Craig Dollansky (1-Silver Dollar Speedway); Jason Sides (1-Volusia Speedway Park); and Sammy Swindell (1-Royal Purple Raceway).
World of Outlaws Statistical Report; Thunderbowl Raceway; Tulare, Calif.; March 19, 2011
A-main (35 laps) - Starting Position [#] - 1) 9-Joey Saldana [$10,000]; 2) 14-Jason Meyers [$5,500]; 3) 15-Donny Schatz [$3,200]; 4) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild [$2,800]; 5) 1-Sammy Swindell [$2,500]; 6) 11-Steve Kinser [$2,300]; 7) 7S-Jason Sides [$2,200]; 8) 83-Paul McMahan [$2,100]; 9) O-Jonathan Allard [$2,050]; 10) 83JR-Tim Kaeding [$2,000]; 11) 29-Bud Kaeding [$1,500]; 12) 99-Kyle Larson [$1,200]; 13) 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,100]; 14) OO-Cory Eliason [$1,050]; 15) 6-Kraig Kinser [$1,000]; 16) 63-Chad Kemenah [$900]; 17) 55-Trey Starks [$800]; 18) 6R-Bill Rose [$800]; 19) 92-Kerry Madsen [$800]; 20) 33E-Evan Suggs [$800]; 21) 21-Tommy Tarlton [$800]; 22) 7-Craig Dollansky [$800]; 23) 91-Cody Darrah [$800]; 24) 2B-Ben Gregg [$800]. Lap Leaders: Kerry Madsen 1-12; Joey Saldana 13-17, 22-35; Jason Meyers 18-21. KSE Hard Charger Award: Steve Kinser.
Qualifying - 1) 14-Jason Meyers 12.794; 2) 7S-Jason Sides 12.907; 3) 9-Joey Saldana 12.987; 4) 15-Donny Schatz 13.011; 5) 7-Craig Dollansky 13.057; 6) 63-Chad Kemenah 13.059; 7) 92-Kerry Madsen 13.068; 8) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild 13.079; 9) O-Jonathan Allard 13.084; 10) 83-Paul McMahan 13.125; 11) 2B-Ben Gregg 13.143; 12) 1-Sammy Swindell 13.166; 13) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 13.193; 14) 55-Trey Starks 13.218; 15) 33E-Evan Suggs 13.262; 16) 83JR-Tim Kaeding 13.263; 17) 29-Bud Kaeding 13.275; 18) 11-Steve Kinser 13.305; 19) 6R-Bill Rose 13.356; 20) 6-Kraig Kinser 13.405; 21) 91-Cody Darrah 13.427; 22) 99-Kyle Larson 13.456; 23) 2L-Logan Forler 13.456; 24) OO-Cory Eliason 13.672; 25) 21-Tommy Tarlton 13.691; 26) 89-Rico Abreu 14.042.
Heat 1 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 83-Paul McMahan 2) 92-Kerry Madsen 3) 14-Jason Meyers 4) 15-Donny Schatz 5) 83JR-Tim Kaeding 6) 21-Tommy Tarlton 7) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 8) 99-Kyle Larson 9) 6R-Bill Rose.
Heat 2 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 2B-Ben Gregg 2) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild 3) 29-Bud Kaeding 4) 7-Craig Dollansky 5) 7S-Jason Sides 6) 6-Kraig Kinser 7) 55-Trey Starks 8) 2L-Logan Forler 9) 89-Rico Abreu.
Heat 3 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 1-Sammy Swindell 2) O-Jonathan Allard 3) 9-Joey Saldana 4) 63-Chad Kemenah 5) 11-Steve Kinser 6) 91-Cody Darrah 7) 33E-Evan Suggs 8) OO-Cory Eliason.
Dash (6 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) - 1) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild 2) 92-Kerry Madsen 3) 9-Joey Saldana 4) 15-Donny Schatz 5) 7S-Jason Sides 6) 14-Jason Meyers 7) 83-Paul McMahan 8) O-Jonathan Allard 9) 1-Sammy Swindell 10) 2B-Ben Gregg.
B-main (8 laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 6R-Bill Rose  2) 5W-Lucas Wolfe  3) 33E-Evan Suggs  4) OO-Cory Eliason  5) 55-Trey Starks  6) 99-Kyle Larson  7) 89-Rico Abreu [$200] 8) 2L-Logan Forler [$180].