Saldana Dominates NAPA Classic Preliminary KNOXVILLE, IA (June 25) -- Joey Saldana took advantage of a break he received in the First Dash Race, then dominated the Preliminary Feature when the World of Outlaws Sprint Series opened the...
Saldana Dominates NAPA Classic Preliminary
KNOXVILLE, IA (June 25) -- Joey Saldana took advantage of a break he received in the First Dash Race, then dominated the Preliminary Feature when the World of Outlaws Sprint Series opened the NAPA Classic Friday at Knoxville Raceway.
The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year moved into the pole position in the First Dash Race when officials sent Logan to the second row after two illegal starts. Saldana, who earned the privilege of starting the evening's main event on the pole by winning the seven-lap Dash Race, led all 20 laps to win his first Preliminary Feature of the season. The $5,000 victory pushed Joey past Rookie of the Year points leader Kraig Kinser into eighth place in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series standings.
"I have to thank Ricky Logan," Saldana said. "Starting up front definitely makes things easier because the guys that started behind us are the toughest to pass. We've been going pretty well, but the consistency is just not there. We go good one night, then not good the next. We've been fighting a motor problem, but it's so tough to put something together like we did at this level. We're just glad to get this win tonight."
Saldana, the fourth-fastest qualifier in the 49-car field, finished fifth in the Fourth Heat Race. He drove the #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature.
Three-time Knoxville Nationals champion Danny Lasoski drove 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle past Steve Kinser and Logan with similar moves in turn two during the second and fourth laps to take over third place.
Kinser, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series points leader, raced past Logan deep in the fourth corner late in lap five. Donny Schatz, the runner-up in the Knoxville Nationals two of the last three years, steered his family's #15 Parker Store J&J past Logan in the low groove between turns one and two for fifth place the next time around.
Saldana was 2.1 seconds ahead of front row starter Craig Dollansky when he entered lapped traffic eight laps into the race. Sammy Swindell, who set fast time in his fourth straight World of Outlaws Sprint Series racing program, took seventh place from former Beef Packers teammate Tim Shaffer with an inside move between the first and second corners the next time around.
Dollansky, who raced in Knoxville Raceway's weekly racing program in the early 1990s, closed to within five car-lengths of the leader during the 12th lap and was less than a car-length behind Saldana as they completed lap 15.
Kinser, the 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion, drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim past Lasoski in the low groove between turns one and two early in the 16th lap. "The King of the Outlaws" passed Dollansky deep in the fourth corner to claim the runner-up spot 2½ laps later.
Swindell, who won the 1983 Knoxville Nationals, drove the #12X Beaver Drill & Tool Maxim to the lowest point in turn four to pass Schatz for fifth place as they headed toward the checkered flag. Saldana beat Kinser across the finish line by .822 seconds to claim the third feature victory of his career at Knoxville Raceway.
Dollansky finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Swindell, Schatz, Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Logan and Brian Paulus in the caution-free Preliminary Feature completed in 6:27.2.
"Seven Factor" members Jason Sides, Jason Meyers and Daryn Pittman put on a car-passing clinic during the NAPA Classic opener. Sides drove the #7S Sides Motorsports Maxim past four cars to win the "C" Feature, then raced into fifth place in the "B" Feature from inside the ninth row. "Double Down" started the Preliminary Feature outside the 12th row when Jesse Gianetto scratched, and passed five more cars to finish in 19th place.
Pittman, whose crew replaced engines in the #21 Hop & Sack CMC following the hot lap and qualifying sessions, started next to Sides on the 12th row. Daryn raced past nine cars to finish 14th in the evening's main event. Meyers drove the #14 Elite Landscaping Maxim into 13th place from outside the 11th row.
Swindell paced time trials with a 111.084-M.P.H. around Knoxville's legendary half-mile oval.