Joey Saldana Wins 2010 DIRTcar Nationals Title: Looks to Carry Momentum to Las Vegas Barberville, FL-February 9, 2010-Joey Saldana didn^Zt really know what to expect heading into the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of ...
Joey Saldana Wins 2010 DIRTcar Nationals Title: Looks to Carry Momentum to Las Vegas
Barberville, FL-February 9, 2010-Joey Saldana didn^Zt really know what to expect heading into the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park, as he normally races for most of the off-season and arrives in the Sunshine State in mid-season form. The new tires from Goodyear, as well as some rule, format and procedural changes were on tap for the 2010 campaign as well.
None of that seem to affect Saldana and his Kasey Kahne Racing team, as they picked up a win and three second-place finishes to earn the 2010 DIRTcar Nationals title over the Tony Stewart Racing duo of 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser and four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz.
"I was kind of worried," shared Saldana of not racing in the off-season. "It's been eight years where I have races all year round. This year I stayed home and I was worried about it, but I was able to prepare myself mentally and physically a lot more than I have ever. My guys gave me a great car and we came out strong and didn't do anything different and came out the first night and ran second and had a shot at winning. Being out of the seat didn't slow us down too much."
Saldana began the DIRTcar Nationals with a runner-up finish in an event under the All Star Circuit of Champions banner. He followed that up with a win the next day after turning the second-fastest lap in time trials. He opened the World of Outlaws season with a second-place finish and was also second quick in time trials in that race. He wrapped up the four days of racing with another runner-up finish to score the most event points, which drivers earned each time they took to the track for time trials, heat races and feature events.
"It was a great effort for our entire Budweiser team," he said of winning the DIRTcar Nationals overall title. "We worked hard all winter. To come out and pick up a win and run second three times is a great accomplishment. It was a good start to the season."
Saldana, aboard the Budweiser Maxim, was one of just two drivers to finish in the Top-Five in all four races of the sprint car portion of the DIRTcar Nationals, with Steve Kinser being the other. Saldana leaves the Sunshine State tied for second in the World of Outlaws championship standings, just three markers behind Donny Schatz as he chases his first World of Outlaws title.
"Florida can make or break your season," noted the native of Brownsburg, Ind. "When you work hard to gear up for a season with the World of Outlaws and you come to Florida and run well, it definitely sets a tone for the whole season. The guys put in so much effort over the winter and to come down here and see a good result keeps them pumped up and ready to drive to the West Coast and prepare for the rest of the season."
Saldana and the rest of the World of Outlaws have a couple of weeks to regroup after the season opening DIRTcar Nationals, with the next event on the schedule set for Friday, February 26 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Saldana has 22 career Top-10 finishes at Las Vegas as he chases his first career win at the half-mile in the desert.
^ZI go to the trainer (today) and then again on Thursday like I have been doing and try to keep doing what I^Zve been doing,^Z he said, when asked how to keep the momentum going. ^ZIt^Zs worked for the two months that I have not been racing. I^Zll just continue that for the next two weeks and head over to Vegas and hopefully we can keep our No. 9 up front.^Z