Meyers Beats Saldana in Duel in the Dakotas Prelim WEST FARGO, ND (July 9) -- It was all Jason Meyers could do to keep Joey Saldana from winning a second straight Duel in the Dakotas Preliminary Feature Friday at Red River Valley ...
Meyers Beats Saldana in Duel in the Dakotas Prelim
WEST FARGO, ND (July 9) -- It was all Jason Meyers could do to keep Joey Saldana from winning a second straight Duel in the Dakotas Preliminary Feature Friday at Red River Valley Speedway.
Meyers met all of Saldana's challenges, however, and eventually beat the 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year under the checkered flag by a mere car-length for his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series Preliminary Feature victory of the season.
Meyers, a Seven Factor teammate with Jason Sides and Daryn Pittman, has driven the #14 Elite Landscaping Maxim to victory in "A" Features at Perris Auto Speedway, the Talladega Short Track and K-C Raceway this season. The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion last won a World of Outlaws Sprint Series Preliminary Feature on August 22, 2003, at Grays Harbor Raceway.
Meyers, the eighth-fastest qualifier in the 29-car field, earned the privilege of starting the evening's main event on the pole by winning the First Dash Race. The 25-year-old driver from Clovis, CA, raced wheel-to-wheel down the front straightaway with outside pole-sitter Kraig Kinser as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature, took the lead in the first corner and led all 25 laps.
Saldana, who executed the winning pass in Thursday's Preliminary Feature with 1½ laps remaining, started outside the second row Friday. Joey drove the #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Maxim past Mark Kinser during the opening lap and passed Kraig Kinser in the high groove between turns three and four for second place the next time around. Mark Kinser won a backstretch drag race with his third cousin late in lap six.
Meyers was 15 car-lengths ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic 10 laps into the race. Joey narrowed the gap quickly in dense traffic, however, and battled Meyers all the way to the checkered flag.
Sammy Swindell, who has won six World of Outlaws Sprint Series main events at Red River Valley Speedway including the 1998 and 2000 Duel in the Dakotas events, passed fast qualifier Steve Kinser, Brooke Tatnell and Kraig Kinser between the 13th and 17th laps. The three-time series champion steered the #12X Beaver Drill & Tool Maxim around "The King of the Outlaws" high in the first corner, took the low line through turn four to pass Tatnell and passed Kraig Kinser for fourth place deep in the second corner. Steve Kinser, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series points leader, drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim past his son between turns one and two the next time around.
Tim Kaeding kept the #83JR HR Cattle Eagle in the low groove while pulling off a similar run during the final five laps. The winner of the 2003 World of Outlaws Sprint Series season opener at Kings Speedway passed defending Duel in the Dakotas champion Danny Lasoski in the low groove between turns three and four late in lap 21. Kaeding raced past Paul McMahan just seconds before a mechanical malfunction forced Brian Paulus to stop in the second corner during the 24th lap. Kaeding was on the move again when the green flag replaced the yellow, passing 2002 Duel in the Dakotas winner Donny Schatz for eighth place with an inside move between turns one and two.
Saldana challenged Meyers during the two-lap dash to the checkered flag, but finished a car-length behind. Scoring the most points in the Duel in the Dakotas preliminary programs gave Saldana the pole position in Saturday's Dash Race. Steve Kinser, Swindell and Tatnell, who won a tiebreaker with Lasoski for fourth place, will start behind Saldana in the battle for starting positions in the championship feature.
The $5,000 victory pushed Meyers past Craig Dollansky into fourth place in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series point standings. Saldana broke a seventh-place tie with Pittman in the points race.
Mark Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Swindell, Steve Kinser, Kraig Kinser, Brooke Tatnell, Kaeding, Schatz and Paul McMahan. Steve Kinser and McMahan were consistent, finishing fifth and 10th in each of the Preliminary Features.
Dollansky was the fourth-fastest qualifier, but finished seventh in the Third Heat Race. The 2001 Duel in the Dakotas champion won the "B" Feature and drove the #7 VMAC Maxim past five cars to finish 12th in the evening's main event.
Pittman was forced to take one lap at the end of the qualifying session when the #21 Hop & Sack CMC suffered a blown engine. The 2002 Manufacturers' Hard Charger Award winner raced into 15th place from outside the 10th row in the Preliminary Feature.
Engine problems in the #16 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Maxim forced Erin Crocker to stop in the first corner within seconds after the green flag fell in the feature. "The First Lady" restarted at the rear of the field and raced into 17th place.
Steve Kinser, who entered the Seventh Annual Duel in the Dakotas with eight "A" Feature victories at Red River Valley Speedway, paced the qualifying session with a 111.732-M.P.H. lap around the high-banked, ½-mile oval.