Back Home Again Indiana: Saldana, Carlson Look Forward to Terre Haute Terre Haute, IN--June 2, 2006 -- With races on the schedule from coast-to-coast, it's not very often that Mean 15 drivers, Joey Saldana and Brian Carlson get to spend time ...
Back Home Again Indiana: Saldana, Carlson Look Forward to Terre Haute
Terre Haute, IN--June 2, 2006 -- With races on the schedule from coast-to-coast, it's not very often that Mean 15 drivers, Joey Saldana and Brian Carlson get to spend time in Indiana, during the intense World of Outlaws season. Saldana hails from Brownsburg, while Carlson calls Linden home. They both will get to sleep in their own beds this weekend as they visit the legendary Terre Haute Action Track on Sunday.
For Saldana it will be only a 76 mile trek to the track, while for Carlson, it will be an 84 mile jaunt. This will be the Outlaws first visit to the ½-mile semi-banked oval since 2003, and the 19th overall visit the wide and always fast facility.
After being on the road for the majority of the month of May, racing at eight different tracks in five states, both Hoosier's are ready to make a stop in their own shops and be able to work for a couple days before hitting the road again. While there will be plenty of work to do on the race cars, preparing for a trip west to Eagle Raceway in Nebraska next weekend, there will also be every day household chores that need to be done as well.
"With all the rain we have had, I can't imagine what my grass looks like after three weeks," Carlson said with a smile on his face. "I'm probably going to spend most of the day Monday cutting my grass."
After putting thousands of miles on their truck and trailer over the last few months, Kahne and his crew relish the fact that it will only be a stones throw back to Brownsburg after the checkered flag falls on Sunday night.
"For me, it's great. It's about an hour from home," said Saldana, driver of the Dodge/Curb Records JEI. "We don't get to do that very often. I wish we got to run there more often. Terre Haute is close for me. For the crew it's a long way since they are based in Mooresville, NC, but for me it's nice."
Carlson is not only excited to get to race in his home state, but also to help out some people he builds engines for in the karting world. Carlson cut his teeth in karts, and won many race in those machines before stepping up to sprint cars.
"It's always good to get back home. I have a lot of people waiting on me, to get some work done for them," said Carlson who pilots the Lincoln Electric Maxim. "We've been on the road for about three weeks. Terre Haute is as close as we will get to home. I don't get to run there very much. It's nice to be back in our home state."
Saldana and his crew look forward to being able to work out of their shop for a couple of days before hitting the road again. They have some big plans as they prepare to hit the road for the Eagle Nationals on June 9-10.
"We're going to build a new car at our shop next week," said Saldana. "We are going to prepare for being gone for a while. I think once we leave for Nebraska, we won't get back until around the King's Royal. We'll be gone for a good month before we get back to the shop. The crew they still will not have gone back to Mooresville, so they will be gone for a while."
Carlson is not only excited to race at Terre Haute because it is close to home, but also because he know that he will have many fans in the stands, that often do not get to see him race.
"I have some sponsors from the Terre Haute area, so it will be good for those people to be able to come out and see us race," said Carlson.
Though Saldana like most drivers would prefer to be on the track as much as possible, having a couple of days to prepare for another long and grueling stretch of racing suits him and the team just fine.
"It's definitely good to have a few days off after the long week or so that we have had," said Saldana.
With the World of Outlaws schedule in full swing, Carlson knows that off days will be few and far between from here on out. Having his two sons, AJ and Seth with him on the road, in addition to his wife Sarah, who is the team's crew chief, the Carlson's were able to relax for a day and had some family fun on Friday, before heading to Eldora and then Terre Haute.
"We had a lot of fun traveling," said Carlson. "We spent Friday at Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Ohio, with the kids, and had a good day with that. We're ready to race, and the car is ready to go to Eldora and Terre Haute."
Saldana also knows he will have many fans in the stands cheering him on, and that motivates him even more. The team has been working on some new combinations as of late, and the Willie Kahne led crew believes they are headed in the right directions. Saldana currently is third in series points with a win at Volusia Speedway Park in February, and eight top-five finishes.
"I think we're getting faster," said Saldana. "We're definitely racing good, now we just have to qualify better."
Saldana and Carlson know they will face a tough task defending their home state turf, as the rest of the Mean 15 will be gunning for the $10,000 winner's check. No matter what happens when the checkered flag falls, both will be able to rest easy at night, knowing they are back home in Indiana.
Tickets for Sunday's race at Terre Haute can be purchased by calling SLS promotion at 815-344-2023. Adult reserved tickets are $33 for the covered grandstand, while general admission to the west bleachers is $30. Children (0-12) will be admitted to the covered grandstand for $15 and those (6-12) are $12 for general admission in the west bleachers, while children 5-under will be admitted free to the west bleachers. Infield tickets are also available for $20 for adults, children (6-12) $10, and kids 5-under will be admitted free.