Devil's Bowl finale race report

MESQUITE, TX (October 27) -- The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series added another "A" Feature winner and saw the points lead change for the 13th time this season Saturday at its birthplace. Joey Saldana became the 18th driver to win a main...

MESQUITE, TX (October 27) -- The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series added another "A" Feature winner and saw the points lead change for the 13th time this season Saturday at its birthplace. Joey Saldana became the 18th driver to win a main event in 2001 and Danny Lasoski passed Mark Kinser for first place in the point standings with a sixth-place finish as the 28th Annual O'Reilly Winter Nationals climaxed at Devil's Bowl Speedway. Saldana, who finished fourth in Friday's Preliminary Feature, raced past Shane Stewart and Andy Hillenburg early in the opening lap and led all 35 for the fourth "A" Feature victory of his career. "I think Shane and Andy were racing each other pretty hard at the start, and they might have forgotten about me," Saldana said. "We put a little bigger tire on after the (Channellock) dash, and I knew we'd be pretty fast getting off the bottom of the corner. I told my crew right before the race the car was going to get really tight about five laps into the race. Last night, we freed the car up too much before the feature and it cost us, but tonight maybe we didn't go far enough. Andy had probably the best car on the track at the end, but it's all about track position here. I wasn't very good at the end of the race -- especially when I got behind someone -- but we were good enough to hold everyone else off. I've lost races to Danny (Lasoski) here by coming off the bottom, so I wasn't going to give it up tonight." Another miserable night for Kinser cost him the points lead for the first time since July 20th. "Mopar Mark," who led the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series in fast-time awards the past six years, was only the 22nd-fastest qualifier in the 31-car field. After his crew replaced the engine in the #5M Mopar Maxim, Kinser duplicated his Preliminary Feature performance by racing past 10 cars to finish in 14th place. He fell seven points behind Lasoski heading into the final week of the season. Only Tuesday's race at State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City, OK, and the Mopar Parts World Finals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Friday and Saturday) remain on the 2001 schedule. Hillenburg, the runner-up in both Winter Nationals feature races, drove his #2 Luxaire J&J past Stewart as the green flag fell in Saturday's main event. Saldana took the low line into turn one and passed both Stewart and Hillenburg in the second corner, however, to take the lead. Craig Dollansky and Jason Johnson were battling for fourth place the next time around when they collided and flipped on the front straightaway. Dollansky's crew repaired the #7 Polydome Maxim so he could return to the race, but the severe damage to the #41 kept Johnson in the pit area. Lasoski passed 15th-starting Steve Kinser for ninth place as the green flag replaced the red. Saldana was 1.2 seconds ahead of Hillenburg when they entered lapped traffic during the eighth lap. Stewart passed Hillenburg for second place the next time around, but collided with Saldana and spun in turn one while trying to take the lead early in the 10th lap. Sammy Swindell was black-flagged for driving his #1 Channellock Stealth into Stewart's car during the caution period. "The Dude" continued his run toward the front as the race resumed, steering NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle into the high groove between the third and fourth corners to pass Dale Blaney for sixth place. Saldana held a 2.2-second advantage over Hillenburg when they caught the back-markers during lap 15. Donny Schatz took the leaders out of lapped traffic two laps later when he stopped the #15 Parker Stores J&J on the front straightaway. Lasoski and Paul McMahan exchanged fifth place during the 18th and 19th laps. "The Dude" passed McMahan high between the third and fourth corners, only to have McMahan come back with an inside move in turn one several seconds later. Steve Kinser drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim around Blaney in the fourth corner for seventh place late in lap 20. Hillenburg closed to within .7 seconds of Saldana when they entered lapped traffic with 11 laps remaining. Hillenburg tried to take the lead in the high groove between turns three and four during the 27th and 31st laps, but was unable to surge ahead. Saldana won by .4 seconds. Saldana dedicated the $12,000 victory his father, Joe, who competed in the inaugural Winter Nationals in 1973. "We may not have won many races this year, but we've been really consistent," Joey said. "My dad always told me 'if you're consistent, eventually you'll win some races,' so this win's for him for keeping me focused." Fast-qualifier P.J. Chesson finished in third place, ahead of World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion Daryn Pittman, McMahan, Lasoski, Steve Kinser, Blaney, Brad Furr and 14th-starting Johnny Herrera.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Andy Hillenburg , Brad Furr , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , P.J. Chesson , Johnny Herrera , Jason Johnson