By Richard Day FRESNO, CA (May 2) -- Dennis Roth, unhappy with the lack of progress his team has made this season, announced Wednesday he has hired Joey Saldana to replace Jac Haudenschild in his ...
By Richard Day
FRESNO, CA (May 2) -- Dennis Roth, unhappy with the lack of progress his team has made this season, announced Wednesday he has hired Joey Saldana to replace Jac Haudenschild in his #83 Beef Packers Eagle.
"We're going to make a change after we race in Greenwood (Nebraska Raceway Park)," Roth said. "After this weekend, Jac will no longer drive for us. Joey Saldana will take his place.
"We just feel like we're not doing as well as we should be. In the world of racing, it always comes back on the driver. It may not be the driver's fault, but he's the one who always has to take that responsibility. The owner has to look at it like that. You can't get rid of the whole race team and say it was all their fault."
Haudenschild qualified for the first 14 "A" Features, but raced into the top 10 only five times. His best performance was a fourth- place run at Pike County Speedway April 9th. He ranks 15th in the point standings.
"We've had a very high-profile team that has done very well, but we just haven't been up where we should have been this year," Roth said. "We feel a change needs to be made and there's not much more you can do besides change the driver."
Saldana, the 1996 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Rookie of the Year, returned to the series in his father's #17 HEM Saw Eagle last season and finished sixth in the point standings. With eight top-10 finishes, including three in the top-five through 14 events this year, he has maintained his sixth-place ranking.
"Joey talked to us before the season started and when we decided to make the change, we talked to him. Joey looked at his options and knows the Beef Packers ride is a very high-profile ride. He feels like it would be better for him to drive for us. It will give him a chance to put something together with us for the coming years and maybe win this whole thing (the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship). Joey is a good, young driver and he's getting better all the time."
Saldana said the timing of the change couldn't be better.
"HEM Saw and Greg Weld have helped us out tremendously," Saldana said. "If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have made it all last year and the first two months of this season. To be competitive out here, it costs a lot of money. It got to the point where my dad would have done this for me, but I didn't want him spending his money for me to drive race cars.
"We were going to run for the next two or three weeks, but it was getting to the point where we might have to go home. When that came up and Dennis called, I decided it would be best to race with him. I'm fortunate Dennis was looking to make a change.
"Dennis has achieved a lot with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series with Danny Lasoski as his driver the last few years. It won't be easy to fill his shoes, but it's an opportunity for me to keep on racing with the best in sprint car racing."