Saldana wins duel with Dollansky at Route 66. JOLIET, IL (July 12) - With two victories in the last four Preliminary Features, Joey Saldana has been one of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' hottest drivers. The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie...
Saldana wins duel with Dollansky at Route 66.
JOLIET, IL (July 12) - With two victories in the last four Preliminary Features, Joey Saldana has been one of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' hottest drivers.
The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year won Friday's readyhosting.com event before a standing-room-only crowd at Route 66 Raceway, exchanging the lead with Craig Dollansky three times in the first 20 laps and holding off series points leader Steve Kinser. The $10,000 victory was Saldana's second in an "A" Feature this season.
"I just want to thank Davey Whitworth for the awesome job he does fueling the car - this motor really ran tonight," Saldana said in victory lane. "We're all getting along really good right now, and with as many races as we run that's really important for a team. We've been fast at Eldora, Topeka and Oklahoma City and the driver just screwed up. So it's up to me to stay focused. We have a pretty big race (the $50,000-to-win Kings Royal) next weekend, and maybe we can go win that one."
Dollansky and Saldana were the class of the 41-car field Friday, ranking 1-2 in qualifying and earning the right to start the 30-lap main event on the front row by winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash races.
Dollansky burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature, only to have Saldana drive his family's #17 Eagle Raceway/HEM Saw Eagle past him with a slide move between turns three and four late in the opening lap. Dollansky raced wheel-to-wheel with Saldana through the first and second corners the next time around, but was unable to surge ahead.
Saldana was 10 car-lengths ahead of Dollansky when they entered lapped traffic seven laps into the race. Steve and Mark Kinser, who have combined for three victories in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' first six events at Route 66 Raceway, exchanged fifth place during the sixth and seventh laps.
Dollansky caught Saldana within three laps and took the lead with an inside move between turns one and two early in lap 10. The Kinser cousins continued their runs toward the front during the 11th, 12th and 13th laps, passing Stevie Smith and Danny Lasoski.
Saldana regained the lead late in lap 14 when Dollansky slowed behind Tom Busch between the third and fourth corners. Paul McMahan's turn-four spin tightened the field and took the leaders out of lapped traffic late in the 19th lap. Dollansky took advantage of the caution, passing Saldana deep in turn three and sliding in front of him in the fourth corner to retake first place.
Steve Kinser was challenging Saldana for the runner-up spot late in lap 23 when a broken axle on the #7 V-Mac/Polydome Maxim sent Dollansky into the retaining wall, causing him to flip turn three. Saldana restarted ahead of the field and controlled the final restart.
Kinser tried to pass Saldana deep in the third corner late in the final lap. His #11 Quaker State Maxim lost traction, however, allowing Saldana to take the checkered flag with eight car-lengths to spare.
"I knew I had to try to get the lead at the start, and I kind of moved Craig around a little on the track," Saldana said. "Then he did the same thing to me when he passed me on the restart, but it's all just racing. I was pretty much running the same line as Craig when he was leading. I was getting a little bit of wheel spin from running through the marbles that he was throwing onto the track, so it kind of slowed me down a little bit. That's what let Steve catch up to me, but once we got going again we were pretty quick."
Mark Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Donny Schatz, Daryn Pittman, Tim Shaffer, 16th-starting Danny Wood, Randy Hannagan and "B" Feature winner Jac Haudenschild.
Dollansky paced the qualifying session for the third time this year, circling the semi-banked, ½-mile oval in 14.620 seconds, an average speed of 123.119 M.P.H.
Blake Feese lost fourth place in the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash when he stopped with driveline problems. Don Droud, Jr., whose engine problems kept him from taking a qualifying lap, started outside the 12th row in the "A" Feature when Feese's crew was unable to repair his car in time.