Joey Saldana Captures World of Outlaws Sprint Series Return to Terre Haute Action Track Terre Haute, Ind. -- June 4, 2006 -- Joey Saldana has always been one of the fastest sprint car drivers in the world. On Sunday night, he was definitely the...
Joey Saldana Captures World of Outlaws Sprint Series Return to Terre Haute Action Track
Terre Haute, Ind. -- June 4, 2006 -- Joey Saldana has always been one of the fastest sprint car drivers in the world. On Sunday night, he was definitely the fastest driver in Terre Haute.
After capturing his first quick time of the season in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI, Saldana showed he was the man to beat on Sunday night as the World of Outlaws Sprint Series returned to the Terre Haute Action Track for the first time since 2003.
A native of Brownsburg, Ind., Saldana didn't disappoint his Hoosier state fans. After finishing second in the 10-car dash to earn the outside front-row starting spot in the 30-lap feature, Saldana battled Dean Jacobs for the lead before eventually sliding in front and holding off all challengers for his second victory of the season.
Saldana, driving a car owned by NASCAR superstar Kasey Kahne and Mike Curb, drove into the lead on the second lap and opened a sizeable lead until lapped traffic slowed his torrid pace. Jacobs was able to slip by Saldana to lead Lap 10. But on the next lap, Saldana powered back past Jacobs and led the remaining 20 circuits. Craig Dollansky raced his Karavan Trailers Maxim into second with a couple of laps to go, but Saldana was able to fend him off on a late restart to take the checkered flag.
Dollansky had a tremendous jump on that final restart with three laps to go and powered his way around Danny Lasoski in the Roth Motorsports Eagle, leaving Lasoski to finish in third. The two staged a spirited battled for a majority of the feature, with each using the whole racetrack. Combined with his victory on Saturday night at Eldora Speedway, Dollansky's strong runner-up finish at Terre Haute has moved him into the top-five of the hotly contested championship race.
Chad Kemenah, who is nursing an injured ankle, turned in an impressive fourth-place run in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle. Jacobs, filling in for injured Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, rounded out the top-five.
Jac Haudenshcild in the Wright One Construction Maxim was sixth followed by current series leader Donny Schatz, who worked his way from 21st to seventh in the ParkerStore J&J. Tim Shaffer in the Casey's General Store Maxim, Kevin Swindell in the York Excavating Maxim and Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Maxim completed the top-10.
The victory was the ninth top-five finish of the season for Saldana, who took full advantage of bonus points to climb back into second place in the championship chase. He received five bonus points for setting the quick time of the night in time trials at 17.007 seconds on the spacious and racy half-mile as well as earning four bonus points for leading the most laps in the feature.
"We needed this," Saldana said. "We've had a strong car, we have been racing strong. We've just been starting too far back. The guys have been working hard and they just needed a good finish. It's nice to come back and perform and not get discouraged after what happened at Eldora last night.
"You have to run 30 laps like it's the last lap with these guys. I got a little messed up with lapped traffic and Dean drove by me. I think we were a little bit soft on tires. If we would have had on harder tires, we would have been even better. I'll take it and hopefully we can build on it and get all that bad stuff out of the way."
True to form as a racer, Saldana did not mind the intensity of the World of Outlaws schedule over the past two weeks that has seen the series race on nine different occasions. On the opposite side, he knows how important having a few days off will be before heading to the Eagle Nationals on Friday at Eagle Raceway near Lincoln, Neb.
"For me, it doesn't bother me," Saldana said. "I enjoy it. That's how I get paid to race as much as I can. The crew members are the ones that are sacrificing for us. My crew needs the four days to build a new car and get our motor situation straight before we head out. It will definitely be a good four days for the crew."
The crew, led by Willie Kahne, has been putting in countless hours on the road over the past couple weeks working on new combinations to make the car fast. The entire team was very excited to race before many of its home state fans as well as be able to return to Brownsburg after the race to sleep in their own beds and work in their own shop.
"This is the closest I run to home, and it's a good run for my family and everyone here," said Saldana.
Dollansky wrapped up the Eastern swing on a very positive note, after winning at Eldora on Saturday and finishing second at Terre Haute. With the runner-up finish, Dollansky now has eight top-five finishes and is solidly in the top-five in series points.
Dollansky put on a great show for the fans as he battled Lasoski lap after lap. The two veterans did not give an inch and raced each other clean. Once slid into second, Dollansky kept Saldana in his sight, but Saldana's jump on a restart with three laps kept Dollansky from picking up his second consecutive win.
"That late caution worked to out his advantage," Dollansky said. "We had a pretty descent race car and could have done a few things different. All in all, it was a good run for the Karavan team winning Saturday night and running second tonight. I think we have a lot here to build on as a team. We'll just keep after it. We had a good enough car to stay in the hunt, but we needed to make a few changes to win the race. At the end, Joey was getting looser and we were able to pull up on him. If we would have had one more restart, I think we would have had a real good shot at winning. He did a great job and we'll get ready for next weekend."
With the weather heating up, Dollansky believes his team is clicking on all cylinders. After all the thrilling racing that has taken place over the few weeks, the native of Elk River, Minn., is glad to have a couple of days off.
"We need a little time to regroup and get things sorted out and reorganize," Dollansky said. "We should be in good shape."
Danny Lasoski always has enjoyed racing at Terre Haute and has won World of Outlaws feature events in the past at the fast half-mile oval. He started Sunday night's feature in the fourth spot and found a fast line around the top of the track, working his way to second. After his battle with Dollansky, he crossed the line in third.
"We're really happy," said Lasoski, of Dover, Mo. "We had a very good race car and just burned the tires off. I didn't need that last red flag. It would have been very interesting the last five laps."
Chad Kemenah finished fourth on Sunday night, but for him it felt like a win. The native of Findlay, Ohio, was racing with a very sore ankle after sustaining an injury on Saturday night at Eldora. He had limited mobility out of the car, but in it he took full advantage of the hard work his crew did.
"That was the longest 30-lap race of my life," Kemenah said. "It felt like my heart was in my ankle. It says a lot about my team. We didn't know it and got here tonight and had a mag go bad in a brand new motor so we had to change motors. My team just did a really good job tonight. They did not quit."
Kemenah is currently leading the standings in the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. He won the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park in February.
"I'm going to get some good rest," Kemenah said. "I am going to go home and rest for a few days. I'll keep some ice on this thing and keep the swelling down. We'll be ready at Eagle."
Jacobs continued to impress in his role filling in for injured McCarl. Jacobs won Sunday night's dash and started on the pole. He led the first lap of the race as well as the 10th lap when he powered around Saldana on the high side in traffic. A native of Wooster, Ohio, Jacobs used a steady and smooth drive to record his third top-five finish for the team in only five races.
"The race car was really fast," Jacobs said. "We may have gone a little soft on the tire. The yellows hurt us at the end. If we could have run non-stop we probably would have been able to get up to second or third. I'm just very thankful that Terry has let me drive this thing. [Crew chief] Steve Fitzpatrick and Russ Hall have done a fantastic job with the car. I'll just keep doing it until Terry is able to come back out and just wish him the best. To come in here as a substitute and come out with a top-five with the World of Outlaws, I am very happy."
After a few well-deserved days off, the cars and stars of the Mean 15 will head west June 9-10 and tackle the always tough Eagle Raceway for the Eagle Nationals. From there the series will head north June 14 to The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t. and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Associate sponsors are ButlerBuilt Motorsports Equipment, Maxim Racing, RacinSoles and Snap-on. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions and Wrisco Industries.
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK NOTEBOOK
FAST QUALIFIER: Joey Saldana paced the 37-cars that took time with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 1/2-mile oval at 17.007 seconds at 105.839 mph. For his qualifying effort, Saldana earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including Brooke Tatnell (4), Justin Henderson (3), Jason Solwold (2), and Becca Anderson (1) Terre Haute Action Track is a half-mile semi-banked oval and Mark Kinser holds the track record at 16.487.
QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Donny Schatz, Brooke Tatnell, Dean Jacobs and Kevin Swindell won the four heat races. -- Dean Jacobs rolled his way to victory in the dash. -- Jason Solwold won the B-main.
MAIN EVENT WINNERS: Joey Saldana's win Sunday night at the Terre
Haute Action Track was his second World of Outlaws A-feature victory
of the season. There have been 12 different winners in 23 race nights
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 and May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway and May 20 at Sharon Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia and June 4 at Terre Haute), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as a preliminary victory April 7 at Eldora), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway and May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove, as well as a preliminary victory May 26 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).
PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: Fred Rahmer's win on May 26 was his first preliminary feature win of the World of Outlaws season, joining Sammy Swindell, who won the preliminary feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway.
HALF-MILE WINNERS: Terre Haute Action Track is a semi-banked, half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has now raced nine times this season on half-mile ovals, including preliminary features. Winners include: Joey Saldana (Volusia and Terre Haute), Chad Kemenah (Volusia), Danny Lasoski (Manzanita), Donny Schatz (Las Vegas), Craig Dollansky (Eldora), and Sammy Swindell (Las Vegas and twice at Eldora Speedway twice).