Saldana dominates Sharon Speedway event. HARTFORD, OH (July 31)-- Joey Saldana collided with Danny Wood at the beginning of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' inaugural main event at Sharon Speedway two months ago and eventually...
Saldana dominates Sharon Speedway event.
HARTFORD, OH (July 31)-- Joey Saldana collided with Danny Wood at the beginning of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' inaugural main event at Sharon Speedway two months ago and eventually finished behind Wood and winner Danny Lasoski.
Saldana had no such problems Wednesday when the series returned to the Blaney family's racing facility, pacing the qualifying session and leading all 30 laps from the pole to claim the $10,000 first prize.
Outside pole sitter Brad Furr was challenging Saldana for the lead early in the 20th lap when Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser bounced off the retaining wall in turn two and stopped with a flat right rear tire. Saldana raced away from Furr when the green flag replaced the yellow, and coasted to his fourth "A" Feature victory of the season.
"Sometimes you have to be lucky," Saldana said. "Brad had a little harder tire on than I did, and his tire was probably just starting to work when the caution flag came out. The caution definitely helped us, and it probably hurt Brad. They told me he fell back to third.
"Any time you can win a World of Outlaws race, whether it's in Ohio, or Washington, or Alabama, it gets your confidence up. These guys are the best in the world and the only way you can get any better is running with them. I have to thank Craig and Linda Cormack. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be out here. HEM Saw helps us a lot, but not enough to be out here full time. Craig wanted to get out of racing, but he decided to sponsor us, and I'm really grateful he did. There are a lot of guys out here he could have helped. Davey Whitworth has been working so hard, and Jamie Coates and Janet Whitworth, too, and I have to work just as hard behind the wheel as they have to not let them down."
Saldana recorded his series-leading 13th fast time, driving his family's #17 Eagle Raceway Eagle around the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval in 13.294 seconds, an average speed of 101.550 M.P.H. After finishing third in the First Heat Race, the 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award recipient earned the right to start the 30-lap "A" Feature on the pole by winning the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash.
Saldana burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 46th main event of the year. Kinser, who started inside the third row, drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the high groove between turns three and four to pass Paul McMahan for second place late in the opening lap.
Furr, who lost two positions during the first lap, took the low line through the third and fourth corners to pass McMahan for third place the next time around.
Saldana was eight car-lengths ahead of "The King of the Outlaws" when he entered lapped traffic six laps into the race. Furr challenged Kinser for second place for a couple of laps before beating him down the back straightaway midway through lap nine.
Third Heat Race winner Tim Shaffer challenged Randy Hannagan for fourth place while Kinser tried to regain the runner-up spot from Furr during the race's middle stages. Pennsylvanians Ed Lynch, Jr., and Stevie Smith exchanged sixth place during laps 16 and 17.
Furr raced wheel-to-wheel with Saldana through the third and fourth corners late in the 19th lap, but was unable to surge ahead. Kinser lost third place one lap later when his collision with the wall flattened his right rear tire.
Dale Blaney, who started outside the ninth row, raced past 10 cars during the first 22 laps. The 1998 Rookie of the Year rode the rim around Daryn Pittman between turns one and two for seventh place early in lap 24.
Hannagan steered TH Racing's #1x K&C Drywall Eagle into the low groove in the third corner to pass Furr for the runner-up spot three laps later. Hannagan, the 1995 Rookie of the Year, was racing into turn three as Saldana took the checkered flag.
Furr held off the hard-charging Shaffer for third place. Lynch, who won the 11th Annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup the previous week, finished fifth, ahead of Smith, Blaney, Pittman, Wood and McMahan.
Mark Kinser was leading the Third Heat Race when the engine in the #5M Mopar Maxim lost power. The two-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion raced past four cars to finish 15th in the "A" Feature.
Johnny Herrera, driving the #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle for the injured Lasoski, qualified second-quick but had problems in the Second Heat Race. The 1986 Rookie of the Year won the "B" Feature and finished 16th in the main event.