Event: Las Vegas
Joey Saldana Captures First World of Outlaws Win in ’11; Kasey Kahne Racing star holds off Meyers, Schatz at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
LAS VEGAS - March 2, 2011 - It was a night of firsts on Wednesday for Joey Saldana in the Las Vegas National Presented by J.D. Byrider at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He fought off late charges from Jason Meyers and Donny Schatz to earn his first victory of the season, the first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of his career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first win for new sponsor Red Bull, and the first victory with new crew chief Kale Kahne.
"When you are competing out here with the likes of [Steve Kinser's crew chief] Scott Gerkin and [Donny Schatz's crew chief] Ricky Warner, it says a lot when someone can come out here and set a car up that wins," said an excited Saldana, of Pittsboro, Ind. "We had a great run with Willie Kahne as crew chief but I'm really looking forward to what Kale and I can do together as we get into this season."
Saldana started alongside Kasey Kahne Racing teammate Cody Darrah on the outside of Row 2, directly behind four-time champion Donny Schatz. Darrah swept to the lead past polesitter Terry McCarl on the green flag with Saldana powering his way to the front a lap later. Schatz remained in the hunt for all 30 laps with his #15 STP/Armor All/ Chevrolet but a late-race surge by the sixth-starting Meyers made it close. Meyers wound up edging Schatz for second with Darrah in the Great Clips Maxim and Craig Dollansky in the Big Game Treestands Maxim rounding out the Top Five.
"It's sad to say but this our best finish so far this season," said Meyers, the 2010 World of Outlaws champion from Clovis, Calif., who on Tuesday took flight with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in southern California. "We've run well all year but this was the first time we were able to put it all together and really get a good finish out of it."
Schatz, a six-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is hoping his podium finish will give him some momentum going into Thursday's finale at Las Vegas.
"We feel like we've turned the corner a little bit," said Schatz, a native of Fargo, N.D. "The car was very fast tonight and hopefully this continues."
The star-studded night included Kasey Kahne watching from the pits while fellow NASCAR superstar and World of Outlaws car owner Tony Stewart decided to join the action, piloting a third TSR entry with Bass Pro Shops, J.D. Byrider and Chevrolet on board. However, contact with points leader and TSR driver Steve Kinser on Lap 4 ended Stewart's night.
The red-hot action reached a boiling point with six laps to go when Sammy Swindell and Jason Sides made contact while racing for sixth position. It was enough to send Sides, who had finished first or second in the previous three World of Outlaws events, tumbling end over end in his Wetherington Tractor Service ride. Sides' car sustained heavy damage but Swindell was able to continue in the #1 Big Game Treestands Maxim.
Reduced to a six-lap shootout, a big pileup on the backstretch caught Steve Kinser again. Kinser's crew worked feverishly to replace several front end components to get the 20-time champion back on the track. Another caution on the restart when Jac Haudenschild, making his first start of the season, caught an inside tire marker and had the front end of his Dennis Roth-owned car roll under allowed Kinser's crew enough time to get him back on the track.
The restarts benefited Meyers, who capitalized on the high side by charging from fourth to second, but unlike in 2010 when Meyers was able to race from 18th to victory at Las Vegas, he would come up one spot short as Saldana was too strong in the Red Bull Maxim.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series wraps up the Las Vegas Nationals Presented by J.D. Byrider on Thursday night. If you can't attend, you can watch all of the action at DIRTVision.com, which is featuring multi-camera video coverage for only $14.99.
Las Vegas Nationals Notebook
QUICKTIME - Donny Scahtz was the night's fastest qualifier at a 14.420, earning five more championship points. Saldana, Darrah, McCarl and Dollansky also earned points during time trials.
WINNERS - There have been six World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature event winners in 2011. They include Steve Kinser (2-Volusia Speedway Park, Pike County Speedway), Jason Sides (1-Volusia Speedway Park), Sammy Swindell (1-Royal Purple Raceway), and Joey Saldana (1-Las Vegas Motor Speedway).
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Las Vegas, Nevada; March 2, 2011
A-main (30 laps) - Starting Position [#] - 1) 9-Joey Saldana [$10,000]; 2) 14-Jason Meyers [$5,000]; 3) 15-Donny Schatz [$3,000]; 4) 91-Cody Darrah [$2,700]; 5) 7-Craig Dollansky [$2,500]; 6) 24-Terry McCarl [$2,200]; 7) 6-Kraig Kinser [$2,000]; 8) 83-Paul McMahan [$1,800]; 9) 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,600]; 10) 11-Steve Kinser [$1,450]; 11) 21-Brian Brown [$1,300]; 12) 1-Sammy Swindell [$1,200]; 13) 63-Chad Kemenah [$1,100]; 14) 2L-Logan Forler [$1,000]; 15) 94-Zach Zimmerly [$950]; 16) 6R-Bill Rose [$900]; 17) 55-Trey Starks [$850]; 18) 5D-Josh Dewitt [$750]; 19) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild [$725]; 20) 30C-Lance Dewease [$700]; 21) 83JR-Tim Kaeding [$700]; 22) 2B-Ben Gregg [$700]; 23) 7S-Jason Sides [$700]; 24) 11S-Tony Stewart [$700]. Lap Leaders: Cody Darrah 1, Joey Saldana 2-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: Logan Forler.
Qualifying - 1) 15-Donny Schatz 14.420; 2) 9-Joey Saldana 14.428; 3) 91-Cody Darrah 14.450; 4) 24-Terry McCarl 14.490; 5) 7-Craig Dollansky 14.526; 6) 11S-Tony Stewart 14.545; 7) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 14.551; 8) 14-Jason Meyers 14.578; 9) 7S-Jason Sides 14.590; 10) 83-Paul McMahan 14.646; 11) 6-Kraig Kinser 14.656; 12) 11-Steve Kinser 14.662; 13) 63-Chad Kemenah 14.685; 14) 30C-Lance Dewease 14.702; 15) 83JR-Tim Kaeding 14.721; 16) 21-Brian Brown 14.742; 17) 6R-Bill Rose 14.799; 18) 1-Sammy Swindell 14.832; 19) 2B-Ben Gregg 14.857; 20) 94-Zach Zimmerly 14.899; 21) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild 14.902; 22) 55-Trey Starks 14.975; 23) 5D-Josh Dewitt 15.110; 24) 2L-Logan Forler 15.191; 25) 44W-Austen Wheatley 16.543.
Heat 1 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 83-Paul McMahan; 2) 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 3) 15-Donny Schatz; 4) 24-Terry McCarl; 5) 63-Chad Kemenah; 6) 2B-Ben Gregg; 7) 21-Brian Brown; 8) 55-Trey Starks; 9) 44W-Austen Wheatley;
Heat 2 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 14-Jason Meyers; 2) 7-Craig Dollansky; 3) 9-Joey Saldana; 4) 6-Kraig Kinser; 5) 30C-Lance Dewease; 6) 6R-Bill Rose; 7) 5D-Josh Dewitt; 8) 94-Zach Zimmerly;
Heat 3 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 11-Steve Kinser; 2) 7S-Jason Sides; 3) 91-Cody Darrah; 4) 1-Sammy Swindell; 5) 11S-Tony Stewart; 6) 83JR-Tim Kaeding; 7) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild; 8) 2L-Logan Forler;
Dash (6 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) - 1) 24-Terry McCarl; 2) 15-Donny Schatz; 3) 91-Cody Darrah; 4) 9-Joey Saldana; 5) 7-Craig Dollansky; 6) 14-Jason Meyers; 7) 7S-Jason Sides; 8) 11-Steve Kinser; 9) 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 10) 83-Paul McMahan;
B-main (8 laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature) - 1) 83SR-Jac Haudenschild; 2) 21-Brian Brown; 3) 55-Trey Starks; 4) 94-Zach Zimmerly; 5) 5D-Josh Dewitt; 6) 2L-Logan Forler; 7) 44W-Austen Wheatley [$200].