Joey Saldana Takes World of Outlaws Thriller at Volusia Speedway Park Barberville, FL -- Feb. 10, 2006 - Joey Saldana charged off of Turn 4 on the final lap to catch leader Jac Haudenschild and win a drag race to the checkered flag by 0.10...
Joey Saldana Takes World of Outlaws Thriller at Volusia Speedway Park
Barberville, FL -- Feb. 10, 2006 - Joey Saldana charged off of Turn 4 on the final lap to catch leader Jac Haudenschild and win a drag race to the checkered flag by 0.10 seconds Friday night during the 35th Annual Winternationals in front of packed grandstands at Volusia Speedway Park.
Haudenschild, Saldana and Fred Rahmer waged a race-long three-car battle before Saldana, the World of Outlaws top rookie in 1996, powered past Rahmer in traffic and began to close on Haudenschild.
Haudenschild and Saldana ran through the low groove before Saldana shifted up the half-mile oval in his Dodge/Curb Records JEI and caught Haudenschild's Wright One Construction Maxim in the final corner.
Rahmer held on to finish third in the Miller Bros. Chevrolet J&J followed by Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim and Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, who raced into the top five after starting in the middle of the field.
Jeff Shepard was sixth in the IPC Packaging Eagle, followed by Jeremy Campbell in the American Driver's Alliance/G-Force Racing Gear Maxim, Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers J&J, Chad Kemenah in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle and Greg Wilson in the All Star Plumbing and Heating Maxim. After winning the season opener on Thursday, Kemenah leads the championship standings by one point.
On a very racy track, the leaders powered their way through the first corner before a pack of cars tried to go four wide into the first corner, creating a seven-car crash that brought out a red flag. On the restart, pole-sitter Haudenschild motored down the front stretch and kept Rahmer on the top. Pittman and Saldana worked up and down looking for a chance to make a move as McCarl quickly charged toward the lead pack.
On a restart with seven laps down, Haudenschild again locked his car to the bottom as Rahmer tried a charge on the top. Saldana looked around for space as the top three started edging away. With 14 laps down, Saldana finally saw an opening and motored his way past Rahmer and started to reel in Haudenschild.
"We got to lapped traffic before that yellow and I moved to the top and I ran Rahmer down pretty good," said Saldana, a native of Brownsburg, Ind., whose car is owned by Kasey Kahne. "I was like, 'Well if we get to lapped traffic that's something I can try.' We were getting through there and Fred got caught by a lapped car and I stayed on the bottom. When I got to Jac I knew he wasn't going to lift. I didn't want to show him my nose because I knew he'd be going to the top. I just hung in there and ran it as hard as I could for two laps. I think he was being real conservative because there was a hole coming off of Turn 4 on the bottom. Luckily he was conservative enough that I got a run on him, got beside him and won the race."
The top five caught traffic with five to go, scattering the leaders up and down the track. Haudenschild and Saldana cleared the traffic. Saldana pushed his car to the limit, nearly going sideways off of Turn 4 as they dashed to the checkered flag, with Saldana's momentum carrying him to victory by the slimmest of margins.
"We knew Joey was right there but our car felt good," said Haudenschild, of Wooster, Ohio. "I was pretty much locked down to the bottom. He got a run on me going into Turn 3 and had his momentum going. I saw him coming out of the corner. We were awful close to banging and we just got passed.
"It was a pretty good race. Me and Rahmer raced pretty hard at the start. He got me on the first start and I got him on the second start. We were real good but there's a lot of tough guys. The Pennsylvania guys are always tough and run hard and there are a bunch of good guys running with the Outlaws this year so it's going to be tough."
After initially grabbing the lead before the red flag on the first lap, Rahmer, a legendary racer from Salfordville, Pa., blazed around the half-mile oval trying to chase down Haudenschild before Saldana finally caught him in traffic.
"It was an intense race in the car," said Rahmer, who won three Outlaws events last season, including the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove and a preliminary feature during the Knoxville Nationals. "It had to be good to watch. I went the wrong way on a lapped car and allowed Joey to get me. I think I was quicker than Haud but we didn't get it done. I'm happy with the car and the guys did a good job."
But the night belonged to Saldana, who still is settling into his new ride with Kahne.
"This whole deal is all new," Saldana said. "I have to go back and thank people like Jeff Shepard, Kerry Madsen, Erin Crocker, Kraig Kinser -- everybody who has driven for Kasey Kahne got this team to this level. I talked to him in the past about driving for him, but if it wasn't for Larry Woodward I'd be done racing. Larry gave me a ride for two years and if it wasn't for the exposure I got with Larry I probably wouldn't have this opportunity with Kasey. This what you strive to get."
The World of Outlaws head West for the annual Cactus Classic on March 3 at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix and the series' inaugural appearance March 4 at USA Race Park in Tucson, Ariz., with 4:30 p.m. autograph sessions featuring several Mean 15 racers preceding each event. The Outlaws will invade The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a two-day event March 9-10 in conjunction with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekend. The Mean 15 racers will sign autographs at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in the midway near the LVMS 1.5-mile oval.
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., Choice Hotels, Hot Stuff Foods and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, and Wrisco Industries.
VOLUSIA SPEEDWAY PARK NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Donny Schatz paced the 36 cars that went through time trials in the ParkerStore J&J with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the half-mile oval in 13.387 seconds at 134.459 mph. Chad Kemenah shattered the track record Tuesday night in an All Star Circuit of Champions event when he turned a lap in 13.164 seconds. In a new rule for 2006, the top five fastest qualifiers on a single-day event are awarded points, with five points going to the quickest car and driver in time trials sliding to one point for the fifth-fastest qualifier. Kemenah was second quick, with Craig Dollansky, Brooke Tatnell and Terry McCarl rounding out the top five in time trials.
* KART CLASH: Many of the Mean 15 racers warmed up for Friday night's race by competing in the inaugural Mean 15 Kart Clash. Former World of Outlaws rookie of the year Randy Hannagan charged past fellow Mean 15 racer Daryn Pittman and Shane Carson to take the checkered flag in front of a cheering crowd during the 35th Annual Winternationals.
* VICTORY PARADE: Joey Saldana's victory Friday night was his first World of Outlaws feature victory of the 2006 season. He joins Chad Kemenah as the two winners this season on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series tour.
* HALF-MILE WINNERS: Volusia Speedway Park is a half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has raced twice this season on half-mile ovals. Winners include Chad Kemenah (Volusia) and Joey Saldana (Volusia).
* ON TELEVISION: Following the action on Thursday night, several World of Outlaws Mean 15 racers -- and many fans, as well -- made their way to the Mobile Media Center to tape another episode of The Outdoor Channel's "Elbows Up!" program, which is set to air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 22. Hosts Johnny Gibson and Brad Doty were joined by special guest Ernie Saxton as they interviewed racers about their off-season activities and plans for 2006. In addition, all the action from the season-opening events at Volusia Speedway Park can be seen on The Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern on March 1.
* QUALIFYING EVENTS: Bill Rose, Greg Hodnett, Brian Brown and Chad Layton captured heat race victories. -- Jac Haudenschild and Fred Rahmer won the dashes. -- Points leader Chad Kemenah raced to victory in the B-main.
* UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws head West for the annual Cactus Classic on March 3 at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix and the series' inaugural appearance March 4 at USA Race Park in Tucson, Ariz., with 4:30 p.m. autograph sessions featuring several Mean 15 racers preceding each event. The Outlaws will invade The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a two-day event March 9-10 in conjunction with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekend. The Mean 15 racers will sign autographs at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in the midway near the LVMS 1.5-mile oval.