Halfway There: Joey Saldana Picks up Goodyear Mid-Season Championship as He Seeks His First World of Outlaws Title Concord, NC-July 22, 2010- After winning a career-high 20 A-Feature events and 21 times overall last year, Joey Saldana has one...
Halfway There: Joey Saldana Picks up Goodyear Mid-Season Championship as He Seeks His First World of Outlaws Title
Concord, NC-July 22, 2010- After winning a career-high 20 A-Feature events and 21 times overall last year, Joey Saldana has one goal this season and that is to win his first World of Outlaws championship. He is halfway to achieving that feat, as a very strong first half of the 2010 season has him on top of the series championship standings on the strength of 10 wins along with 25 Top-Five finishes and 30 Top-10's. For his efforts through the first half of the 2010 campaign, Saldana was named the Goodyear Mid-Season Champion on Tuesday night at Lernerville Speedway, collecting $10,000 for being on top of the standings.
"It feels pretty good to pick up this bonus," said Saldana. "I think it's awesome that Goodyear is putting up the money and did something like this. It's great that Goodyear stepped up and wanted to be part of our series. That in itself is huge for the World of Outlaws that Goodyear wanted to be involved with the series. To have them give us a Mid-Season point fund is great."
Saldana quickly got up to speed with the new tires from Goodyear this season, finishing eighth or better in each of the first eight races of the season and taking the point lead for the first time following the fifth race of the year. He leads the series in laps led, as well as money earned and is tied with Steve Kinser for the most Top-Five finishes on the circuit.
"They have built us a great tire and are doing a great job," shared the second generation driver when asked about Goodyear. "They just really got back into the sport with how long they had been gone. I think everything has been great. Goodyear is doing a great job and I appreciate their point fund. Hopefully we can win the whole deal at the end of the year."
Saldana currently holds a 25-point lead over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, as he chases his first series title. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana finished second in points in 2007 and has been third twice in his World of Outlaws career. In the 30-plus year history of the series, only seven drivers have won titles, with Steve Kinser leading the way with 20, Donny Schatz with four, Sammy Swindell with three, Mark Kinser with two, while Dave Blaney, Bobby Davis Jr. and Danny Lasoski each have one title.
Saldana has led the World of Outlaws championship standings for longer than any of the other three drivers that have sat atop the leader board this season, holding the top spot for a total of 28 races, despite suffering a significant hand injury back in March that required extensive surgery. There have already been eight lead changes at the top of the standings this season through the first 40 races.
"I've never really been in this position or in the position where I've had a legitimate shot at the championship," explained Saldana. "We'll just keep doing what we are doing. We are winning races, though when we are not winning, we are having terrible nights. The thing that is saving us right now is that we have won a lot of races and more than the next guys in points. We can't fall out of races to stay in this thing. We'll definitely keep working hard and hopefully we can win a championship for Kasey Kahne Racing."
Each of the drivers currently in the Top-10 in the World of Outlaws championship standings received a cash bonus from the Goodyear Mid-Season point fund, which totaled $55,000.
2010 Goodyear Mid-Season Point Championship
1. Joey Saldana [$10,000]
2. Steve Kinser [$9,000]
3. Jason Meyers [$8,000]
4. Donny Schatz [$7,000]
5. Jason Sides [$6,000]
6. Paul McMahan [$5,000]
7. Lucas Wolfe [$4,000]
8. Craig Dollansky [$3,000]
9. Jac Haudenschild [$2,000]
10. Kraig Kinser [$1,000]