Grays Harbor: Preliminary report

Meyers Passes Saldana to Win Grays Harbor Opener ELMA, WA (August 22) - Jason Meyers took advantage of Joey Saldana's problems negotiating turn four at Grays Harbor Raceway Park Friday to win the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series preliminary ...

Meyers Passes Saldana to Win Grays Harbor Opener

ELMA, WA (August 22) - Jason Meyers took advantage of Joey Saldana's problems negotiating turn four at Grays Harbor Raceway Park Friday to win the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series preliminary feature.

Saldana, who led the first 22 laps, bumped the berm in the fourth corner twice, allowing Meyers to catch him and pass him for the $5,000 victory. Meyers is the sixth driver to win an O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series preliminary feature during its 25th Anniversary Season.

"It's good to win here, especially so close to home for us," said Meyers, who lives in Fresno, CA. "They put a couple of good looking trophy girls here to make us try a little harder, I guess. This is a great win for us.

"Bryan Sundby does all the tires, and he did a great job tonight. We'll just come back here tomorrow and watch the track and see what happens. Joey was really good here tonight; he just got caught up in traffic there and gave us the chance to get by. I was watching the lap board toward the end, and got a little tight in turn four and hit the berm and knocked some mud off the oil tank, but everything's okay. I just want to thank all the fans for coming out here tonight."

Meyers, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 46-car field, drove Karavan Motorsports' #7 VMAC Maxim to victory in the First Dash Race for the privilege of starting the 30-lap race on the pole. Saldana, who won the Second Dash Race, burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event, only to have First Heat Race winner Jason Sides and fast qualifier Johnny Herrera collide in turn one and bring out the caution flag. Jeff Hodgson suffered a flat right rear tire in the crash and joined Sides and Herrera at the back of the pack when the race resumed.

Saldana drove his family's #17 Eagle Raceway Maxim into the lead again when the green flag replaced the yellow. Donny Schatz and Danny Lasoski took the low line through the first and second corners to pass series points leader Steve Kinser for seventh and eighth place one lap later.

Saldana was five car-lengths ahead of Meyers when he entered lapped traffic seven laps into the race. Schatz, who won Tuesday's "A" Feature at Rocky Mountain National Speedway, steered his #15 Parker Stores Maxim into the high groove between the first and second corners to pass "The Dude" several seconds later. Schatz continued his run toward the front during laps eight and nine, passing Tim Shaffer and Paul McMahan to take over fourth place.

Meyers raced wheel-to-wheel down the front straightaway with the leader after Saldana hit the berm in turn four late in lap 12. Saldana, the 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, surged ahead in the first corner to maintain the lead, however.

Cautions for Third Heat Race winner Roger Crockett and Herrera during laps 14 and 16 tightened the field. Saldana controlled the 16th-lap restart and opened a six car-length advantage within five laps.

Saldana was trying to pass several lapped cars deep in turn four late in the 22nd lap when he hit the berm again, allowing Meyers to pass him on the front stretch. Sides spun in front of the leaders in the fourth corner the next time around.

Schatz was battling McMahan for fourth place a lap after the race resumed when he hit the berm in turn four and spun into the infield. The impact broke the front end on the #15, keeping the 1997 Rookie of the Year from restarting the race.

Meyers enjoyed an eight-car-length advantage when he caught the back-markers with 1½ laps remaining. The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series Rookie of the Year almost lost the lead several seconds later when he hit the berm in the fourth corner and pulled a wheel-stand as the flagman waved the white flag. Smoke was billowing from the #7 as Meyers beat Saldana under the checkered flag by four car-lengths.

Jac Haudenschild finished in fourth place, ahead of McMahan, Shaffer, Lasoski, Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Travis Cram and 17th-starting Shawna Wilskey.

Haudenschild spun out of second place early in the Second Heat Race, but raced back through the field to finish third and claim a starting spot in the evening's main event.

Brian Paulus flipped during hot laps and was forced to bring out a backup car for the remainder of the racing program. The 30-year-old driver from Mechanicsburg, PA, drove P and P Motorsports' #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim past nine cars to finish 15th in the preliminary feature.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Shawna Wilskey , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Brian Paulus , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Paul McMahan , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera , Roger Crockett