Skagit: Race report

Saldana wins as Outlaws return to Skagit Speedway. ALGER, WA (August 23) -- Despite recording the second-fastest qualifying time and starting the "A" Feature on the front row, Joey Saldana felt lucky to win Friday when the Pennzoil World of ...

Saldana wins as Outlaws return to Skagit Speedway.

ALGER, WA (August 23) -- Despite recording the second-fastest qualifying time and starting the "A" Feature on the front row, Joey Saldana felt lucky to win Friday when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series raced at Skagit Speedway for the first time in seven years.

The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year chased pole-sitter Jason Meyers and Jac Haudenschild for 23 ¾ laps before inheriting the lead, and beat hard-charging Daryn Pittman under the checkered flag by .9 seconds for his fifth "A" Feature victory of the year. Saldana entered the season with four main event victories in his career.

"I'm a very fortunate man tonight," Saldana admitted. "Jason had a great car and Haud had a great car. Daryn had a great car, too, but he had to pass me. I've never been here before, and I was just hoping for a good run -- maybe a top 10 -- and get down the road to Yakima (Central Washington State Fair Speedway). I don't know what it is about Washington -- maybe the fans here -- but we've run pretty well here the last couple of years."

Saldana, who was only .057 seconds off Stevie Smith's track-record time of 11.132 seconds, won the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash for the right to start the 40-lap "A" Feature outside the front row. Meyers burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the main event and 12th-starting Donny Schatz passed Danny Wood and P.J. Chesson during the opening lap.

After Fourth Heat Race winner Toni Lutar spun on the front straightaway early in the second lap, Haudenschild drove Guy Forbrook's #5 Wirtgen Maxim around Smith for third place in the high groove between turns one and two.

Meyers was .3 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic six laps into the race. Schatz continued his run toward the front during the eighth and 10th laps, riding the rim around Mark Kinser and Tim Shaffer.

Pittman, the defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion, took over fifth place with an inside move past Brad Furr between turns one and two early in the 11th lap. "The Wild Child" passed Saldana for second place high in the fourth corner four laps later.

The #14 Craviotto Percussion Products Maxim suffered a flat right rear tire when Meyers bounced off the retaining wall in turn one early in the 16th lap. Meyers coasted around the high-banked, 3/10-mile oval before stopping on the front stretch. First Heat Race winner Randy Hannagan surrendered 12th place when he pitted to repair his flat right rear tire during the caution period.

Haudenschild, who restarted at the front of the 24-car field, was approaching lapped traffic when mechanical problems forced "B" Feature winner Aaron Fell to stop in the second corner late in lap 19. "The Wild Child" raced away from Saldana as the green flag replaced the yellow, and was 1.6 seconds ahead when he caught the back-makers three laps later.

Haudenschild lost first place the next time around, however, when he hit the spinning P.J. Chesson and Danny Lasoski and flipped in turn four. Saldana restarted in first place and raced away from the field as Pittman passed Smith for second in the high groove between turns one and two. Mud packed in the right rear wheel of the #11H Vivarin Maxim forced Smith to stop on the front straightaway the next time around.

Saldana was .5 seconds ahead of Pittman when he entered lapped traffic during the 28th lap. Pittman narrowed the gap to .25 seconds in dense lapped traffic within two laps, then raced wheel-to-wheel with Saldana through turn four the next time around.

Pittman steered the #21 Hop & Sac J&J into the low groove in the second corner four laps later, but was unable to take the lead. The leaders raced side-by-side through turn two and down the back stretch one lap later, but Saldana's superior lapped traffic skills kept him in first place.

Pittman caught Saldana on the back straightaway again with 1 ½ laps remaining, but couldn't complete the pass. Pittman's attempt to pass Saldana for the lead fell short early in the final lap when he was caught behind Kirk Fellers in the second corner.

"I did some things that maybe I shouldn't have," Saldana said of his efforts to maintain the lead during the final 10 laps. "When you're racing for a World of Outlaws win and if the tables were turned, I'm sure Daryn would have done the same thing and tried to make his car as wide as possible."

Schatz finished in third place, ahead of Furr, Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser, Shaffer, Mark Kinser, Craig Dollansky, Chesson and Wood.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Brad Furr , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Daryn Pittman , Toni Lutar , P.J. Chesson , Jac Haudenschild