Joey Saldana Takes Aim At World of Outlaws Title in Kasey Kahne Sprinter Barberville, FL -- Feb. 12, 2006 -- Kasey Kahne was the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series top rookie in 2004. Joey Saldana was World of Outlaws top rookie in 1996. Together this ...
Joey Saldana Takes Aim At World of Outlaws Title in Kasey Kahne Sprinter
Barberville, FL -- Feb. 12, 2006 -- Kasey Kahne was the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series top rookie in 2004. Joey Saldana was World of Outlaws top rookie in 1996. Together this season they will chase the World of Outlaws championship on dirt tracks from coast-to-coast.
After winning the 16th World of Outlaws feature of his career on Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park, Saldana will pilot the Kasey Kahne Motorsports Central Merchant Services/Dodge/Curb Records JEI in his quest to capture his first series championship as a member of the World of Outlaws Mean 15 group of teams.
"It's real fun for me," Kahne said Sunday night at Volusia Speedway Park. "Willie Kahne, Justin Adams and Kevin Cardoza have done a great job. Speedway Engines has built us some awesome Dodges that should keep getting better and better. They've only been working on dirt engines for two months so it's pretty impressive how good out of the box they are. To have Joey choose to drive for us has us very excited. He's as good as anybody in sprint cars and we're excited to be in the winner's circle more than just here in Volusia.
"I've been able to race in so many different race series when I was moving up to where I'm at and the World of Outlaws was definitely one of the toughest series I've ever raced. I've always wanted to have my own World of Outlaws team and this year we have finally put everything together the right way with the help of Dodge and Curb Records and Central Merchant Services that we can do a first-class program and compete every single night."
Saldana has been fast throughout Race Weeks at Volusia, including a victory and a top-five in two World of Outlaws events.
"I've got to thank Kasey Kahne for giving me this chance," said Saldana, 33, a second-generation racer from Brownsburg, Ind. "I'm just trying to let him know I was the right decision because there are a lot of guys who are deserving to get these rides."
World of Outlaws officials also are excited to have Saldana and Kahne competing for the championship this year, adding to the already highly competitive Mean 15 that includes opening night winner Chad Kemenah, Craig Dollansky, Donny Schatz, Daryn Pittman, Terry McCarl, Brooke Tatnell, Jac Haudenschild, Randy Hannagan, Dion Hindi, Becca Anderson, Jeremy Campbell, Brian Carlson, Justin Henderson and Jason Martin's No. 36 machine driven by Brian Brown while Martin recovers from an injury.
"All of us who are working to bring the tradition of the World of Outlaws to the next generation of fans are extremely excited to have Joey return to the series in a car owned by Kasey," said DIRT Motorsports Vice President and CFO Brian Carter. "Obviously Joey is a big fan favorite who has years of experience with the Outlaws while Kasey is about as big a star as there is in and out of motor sports. Plus, it's clear after their win on Friday night, that the team they've assembled is going to be a contender all season."
For the past two seasons, Saldana raced the Larry Woodward-owned Volcano Joe's Maxim on the World of Outlaws tour. In 2003 he finished a career-best third in the championship standings. The 2002 Kings Royal champion, Saldana led the World of Outlaws in 2001 with an incredible 21 fast times. He picked up his first World of Outlaws victory in 1995 at I-96 Speedway and went on to win the 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. Saldana's father, Joe, captured the 1970 Knoxville Nationals title.
Kasey Kahne, 26, drives the Evernham Motorsports No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. A native of Enumclaw, Wash., Kahne has raced with the World of Outlaws and the All Star Circuit of Champions. He also was the 2000 USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year.
Saldana and the World of Outlaws Mean 15 racers 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.