Looking for a Repeat: Saldana Seeks Another Win at Limaland Motorsports Park Joey Saldana had been trying to win the Fram Autolite Brad Doty Classic Presented by National Interstate Insurance for a number of years. He competed in the event...
Looking for a Repeat: Saldana Seeks Another Win at Limaland Motorsports Park
Joey Saldana had been trying to win the Fram Autolite Brad Doty Classic Presented by National Interstate Insurance for a number of years. He competed in the event when it was held at Attica Raceway Park under the World of Outlaws banner and prior to that under the All Star Circuit of Champions sanction.
After numerous tries, Saldana was victorious last season in the prestigious event that carries the name and is promoted by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame member and 11-time World of Outlaws A-Feature winner. It was the first season the race was held at Limaland Motorsports Park in Ohio.
Saldana began the night by setting fast time with a very solid field of 44 cars on-hand at the state-of-the-art ¼-mile owned and operated by the University of Northwestern Ohio. In the A-Feature, he lined up second and quickly jumped to the point on the opening lap and would go on to lead all 40 laps to pocket the $10,000 top prize.
"It was huge to win it last year," said Saldana, driver of the Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI. "Brad (Doty) is an icon in sprint car racing. Obviously his injury cut his driving career short. He probably would have accomplished a lot more than he did. People recognize who he is and what he has meant to the sport and what he was going to mean for the sport. It's great to see him doing the commentary on the television races. He may not have done what other people have done on the race track, but he is a great person. To win a race named after him was an honor."
Saldana will head to Limaland Motorsports Park on Wednesday, July 11 for the 19th Annual Fram Autolite Brad Doty Classic Presented by National Interstate Insurance fresh off his ninth A-Feature win of the season last Saturday at I-55 Raceway in Missouri, a high-banked 1/3-mile. He won in the World of Outlaws last visit to a quarter-mile track on June 5 at Kokomo Speedway in his home state of Indiana, and also won on June 29 at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, which is a 3/10-mile track.
"We had the chance to run at I-55 before going to Limaland and won, so that helped," said Saldana. "Our short track program has run pretty decent this year. We just have to keep getting better. We hope to go to Limaland and duplicate what we did last year and have a good run."
Last season, Saldana won a majority of his races on larger tracks and this season has excelled on the smaller tracks as well. He points out a couple of the keys to being successful on smaller, tighter tracks. One of the items at the top of this list is patience, which he showed plenty of in winning at I-55 Raceway last Saturday, as he actually fell back to fourth early in the race before charging to the front in the lap 15 laps.
"The biggest thing on the quarter-miles is that you have to get through lapped traffic well," he noted. "You have to have a solid set-up. We normally run 40 laps on the quarter- miles, so you have to be good the first 10 laps and the last 10 laps. As long as you have a car that is good enough to go 40 laps, you should have a shot. Right now we seem to be doing things right on the short tracks."
Saldana will have his car owner, NASCAR-star Kasey Kahne in attendance for the 19th edition of the famed event on July 11. Kahne was present at the Fram Autolite Brad Doty Classic Presented by National Interstate Insurance last season when Saldana won, and this year will also compete in the race as a teammate to Saldana.
"Hopefully we can put a good show on for him," said Saldana, who is a second generation driver. "He doesn't get to come to too many races. Kasey enjoys getting to come out here."
Saldana competed again his boss during the off-season in Australia in a pair of events at Parramatta City Raceway. In those events, Kahne finished second and third in a rare appearance in a 410-sprint car. He has competed in a couple of 360-sprint car races this season, including at Missouri State Fair Speedway on June 20 where he finished second in an event headlined by the World of Outlaws.
"He doesn't get to run these things very often," Saldana said. "He will be competitive though, and have just as good of equipment as I do. It would be huge for the team if he is running up front."
Saldana currently leads the World of Outlaws in a number of statistical categories including laps led. He has been in front for 100 laps more than the nearest competitor. He also has stopped the clocks first in time trials on seven occasions to lead the series, and is near the top of the leaderboard with four Crane Cams Dash wins to earn the same number of pole positions. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana has 34 Top-10 finishes in 41 events, and is just 80 points out of the lead in the World of Outlaws championship standings, as he chases his first series title.
Saldana is in the midst of his second season driving for Kahne's team, which is lead by Team Manager Willie Kahne, who is Kasey's cousin, along with Team Director Justin Adams. In his first season-and-a-half with the team, Saldana has won 16 A-Feature events, including the $50,000 Kings Royal at the famed Eldora Speedway last season, an event at which Kahne was in attendance and able to celebrate with the team in the winner's circle.
While he is not able to make it to that many races due to his various obligations with his NASCAR team, Kahne keeps up with how the team is doing via DIRTVision.com, and keeps in constant contact.
"When he is around you want to do as good as he can," explained Saldana. "He is doing something for me. He doesn't have to necessarily do it. No one pressures him to have a sprint car. He does it because he loves it. I am very fortunate to be driving for him. When he is there, it's not that you try harder, it's that you probably dig deeper than you normally would. You just hope you do a good job. He's been there when we have had bad nights too, so he has been there for both sides. Hopefully this year he can do what he did last year and that is bring success to the team just by being there."
On Wednesday, July 11 at Limaland Motorsports Park, reserved tickets will be $32. Adult general admission tickets will be $27, with general admission for those ages 11-15, $15, and general admission for children ages 10-under will be free. Also a pitside reserved ticket will be available, which includes a pit pass for $40.