A $50,000 Smile: Joey Saldana Wins Second Kings Royal New Weston, OH--July 15, 2006 -- Joey Saldana was in a class all by himself on Saturday night, a royal class, as he picked up his second Kings Royal by Crown Royal title at Eldora Speedway....
A $50,000 Smile: Joey Saldana Wins Second Kings Royal
New Weston, OH--July 15, 2006 -- Joey Saldana was in a class all by himself on Saturday night, a royal class, as he picked up his second Kings Royal by Crown Royal title at Eldora Speedway. He was all smiles when he was handed the $50,000 check for his efforts.
Saldana had added incentive in what was the biggest race of the season so far, as his car owner, NASCAR star Kasey Kahne was in attendance. Also Tony Stewart, the owner of Eldora Speedway was on hand to take in the festivities and make sure that everything ran smoothly. Saldana made both the former sprint car drives smile, as he used power and precision to keep the capacity crowd thrilled as worked his way around the track, just inches off the wall.
Saldana driving the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI didn't disappoint his boss. He won a heat race to qualify for the special six car dash to determine the starting order for the first three rows of the 40-lap A-Feature. The Brownsburg, Ind., native wound up third in that event to start inside the second row for the event that he also won back in 2002.
Saldana used a power move on the high side of the track on the 20th lap to overtake Danny Lasoski in the Roth Motorsports Eagle. From there he set sail, though a couple of cautions bunched the field, and Saldana showed that on each restart he surely had the fastest car on the track. He patiently worked his way through traffic, as he was setting a very quick pace and only a couple of laps after the drop of the green flag on restarts, he found himself weaving his way in and out of the slower machines.
"It feels good for the team," said Saldana. "We are a rookie team, and every week we are building to get better. To win a race like that gives me some good job security. Hopefully I'm here for a while."
The 1996 World of Outlaws rookie of the year knows exactly how tough 40 laps at Eldora is. His Willie Kahne led crew prepared a flawless car for him, and he was able to put it anywhere he needed to on the track.
"Actually it seemed like the fastest 40 laps I have run here in my entire life," said Saldana. "The track was really good and fast. They did a good job doing what they did, because the track never laid rubber. It got faster and faster. This is a good night."
Saldana and his crew made some big adjustments to their car after last nights race, and learned a few things that helped them be even quicker tonight.
"We put a little higher gear in the car and put on a harder tire and we were planning to go the high side at the end of the race," said Saldana. "It really paid off."
With a stout field of 57 cars on hand, Saldana knows that he earned the win and that is something that no one can ever take away from him. He looks to keep that momentum going as the "Month of Money" is now in full swing.
"It feels pretty good," Saldana said. "The best of the best were here. Everybody was here and this shows we are no slouches. You have to feel confident with these guys that you can win. If you don't then you won't get it done. I was confident coming in here. We didn't get it done the first time we were here this year, but we didn't get down. We came out strong and got the job done."
Kahne who has a NASCAR Nextel Cup race on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway was glad he made the flight over to see his driver in action.
"He drove a flawless race," said Kahne. "These guys have worked hard all season long. All winter they built the best race cars that they could. This is awesome. I love being a sprint car owner. I love being a World of Outlaws owner. When you can win the Kings Royal it makes everything that much better."
Current series point leader Donny Schatz used a late pass of Lasoski to come home second in the ParkerStore J&J, with Lasoski just behind him. Schatz started in the sixth spot and by the fifth lap of the race was running solidly in the fourth position. He too had the crowd on their feet as they watched him charge on the final restart.
"I'm here trying to win," said Schatz. "We had a decent car, but it was not quite as good as their's. They have put a lot into their engine program and it is obviously paying off. It will be nice to get on some track where we can slow down and race a little bit more. We'll be going to some of those this week. We are in the summer heat, and the speeds will slow down, and we look to be better."
Schatz and the rest of the World of Outlaws continue the "Month of Money" on Tuesday night on a slightly smaller track, as they return to Lernerville Speedway in Penn., for the second time this season. The event will pay $30,000 to the winner.
"We've been good there in the past, Schatz said. "We have the issues worked out in the race car. Our motors have been running very well and we are consistent. We're looking forward to getting out there."
Danny Lasoski started the race in second and grabbed the initial lead from Jac Haudenschild coming off the second turn, and led the first 19 laps of the race. He ran in the top-two for most of the night before Schatz's late pass.
"We came home third and had a great car the first few laps," said Lasoski. "By far, Joey was the class of the field."
Lasoski like the rest of the drivers had the chance late in the race to adjust his car, as there was an open yellow that allowed crew members from each team to come onto the track.
"We did change a few things under red, but they did not help," said Lasoski. "We just missed it tonight. We aren't making any excuses, we just missed it and got beat."
Kevin Swindell in the York Excavating Eagle, passed more cars on the night than anyone else on the track. The son of two-time World of Outlaws Champion Sammy Swindell, started 23rd and charged all the way to fourth at the end of 40 laps.
Swindell had an interesting weekend, as he got upside down on Friday night while leading at Eldora, then he qualified 40th out of the 57 cars on hand. He did not make the feature through his heat race and thus had to run the B-Main. The extra laps on the track looked like they helped him to learn a few things that he carried into the feature. Though at the beginning of the feature, he was caught up in an accident not of his making, and had to have his crew make some repairs on the car, as he lined up shotgun on the field on the restart.
"It's not a lot of fun when you qualify 40th, but we raced our way hard all the way through," said Swindell. "I got caught in that wreck early and we had to change a tire. I think the softer tire we put on really helped. It made the last 20-lap run better. I can't thank the guys who work on this car and my dad enough. This was an incredible end to the weekend."
After winning his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature event on May 24 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, Swindell has had a great deal of confidence and feels comfortable in any type of race car.
"To be able to run with these guys and run up front with them makes me feel good," said Swindell. "We should have won last night. Tonight was good. We thought about loading up before the heat race, since we qualified so bad, but I am glad we didn't."
Chad Kemenah came home fifth in the Kings Royal by Crown Royal on a track he knows very well. He is currently leading the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. He started the night in the eighth spot and methodically worked his way into the top-five.
"We had a really good race car and did a good job," said Kemenah. "I didn't need to see that red flag at the end. It killed my left rear tire and we slowed down at the end. A top five finish, and maybe that can get us going for the month of money. Hopefully we learned a few things that we can carry with us the rest of the month. I have a lot of laps here at Eldora and that definitely helps. It takes a while to get use, and it too me some time to get use to it. I love coming here and I love it when there are that many fans here to put on a good show for."
Craig Dollansky who won the Knight Before the Kings Royal on Friday night was sixth in the Karavan Trailers Maxim. Terry McCarl was seventh in the Big Game Treestands Eagle. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Premier Pallet J&J worked his way from the 20th starting spot to finish in eighth. Stevie Smith was ninth in the Race Against the Abuse of Children Everywhere J&J. Paul McMahan in the Bass Pro Shops Eagle rounded out the top ten.
Tony Stewart and his staff made sure that the fans had the best possible race track for the 23 Annual Kings Royal by Crown Royal. They brought the heavy equipment out a couple of times to make sure that they track did not take rubber.
"It was kind of a hard night as a promoter," said Stewart. "When you have a race that is this important, you definitely do not want the track to take rubber, to make it a one groove race. What we did was the right thing to do. It may have upset some people, but everyone involved, especially the competitors liked the race track at the end. That's the main thing. They put on a good show. Anybody that did not think they put on a good race doesn't really enjoy sprint car racing like we do."
The World of Outlaws continue the "Month of Money" on Tuesday night as they invade Posse Territory at Lernerville Speedway to take on the best from the Keystone state. The Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup will pay the winner $30,000. Then it's on to the always tough Williams Grove Speedway for a trio of shows next weekend beginning on Thursday night.
KINGS ROYAL BY CROWN ROYAL NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Ed Lynch Jr. paced the 57 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/2-mile high-banked oval at 13.514 seconds at 133.195 mph. For his qualifying effort, Lynch earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including Donny Schatz (4), Stevie Smith (3), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2), and Paul McMahan (1). Craig Dollansky holds the track record of 12.707 seconds established on April 13, 2002.
* A NEW SET OF WHEELS: Lynch not only secured a spot in the A-Feature by setting fast time, but also took home a brand new Arctic Cat Tony Stewart Signature 4-Wheeler. The always cordial driver was not sure how much room the team had in the trailer to get their new prize home, but was sure they could stuff it in somehow. By way of rules for the Kings Royal Presented by Crown Royal, Lynch along with Donny Schatz are guaranteed a starting spot in the A-Feature for being the top-two qualifiers, even if they were not to transfer through their heat race. "That takes a little pressure off if you have a flat tire in the heat," he said. "We have to start all over and try to win the heat, to get a better starting spot in the A-Feature. As for the Artic Cat, we'll make room."
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Mean 15 drivers Jac Haudenschild, Terry McCarl, Joey Saldana, and Donny Schatz , as well as Danny Lasoski and Jason Solwold. ... Greg Wilson won the C-Main. ... Daryn Pittman won the B-Main... Jac Haudenschild picked up the win in the dash.
* FEATURE WINNERS: Joey Saldana's win on Saturday night at Eldora Speedway was his sixth World of Outlaws A-feature victory of the season. There have been 14 different winners in 33 A-feature events 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, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, and June 30 at 81 Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park, July 13 at Limaland Motorsports Park, and July 15 at Eldora Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway, June 4 at Eldora Speedway, and July 14 at Eldora Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway),Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), 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), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway), Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway).
* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been four preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list included: Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, and Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9.
* HALF-MILE WINNERS: Eldora Speedway is a high-banked, half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has now raced 14 times this season on half-mile ovals, including preliminary features. Winners include: Joey Saldana (Volusia, Terre Haute, Knoxville, and Eldora), Donny Schatz (Las Vegas and twice at Red River Valley), Chad Kemenah (Volusia), Danny Lasoski (Manzanita), Craig Dollansky (Twice at Eldora), and Sammy Swindell (Las Vegas and twice at Eldora Speedway).
* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 19 The 18th Annual Brad Doty Classic from Limaland Motorsports Park. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).