Sheboygan: Race report

Saldana Wins as Outlaws Debut at Sheboygan County By WoO Sprint PR PLYMOUTH, WI (July 31, 2004) - Only a second place finish in his heat race kept Joey Saldana from sweeping the World of Outlaws debut at Sheboygan County Fair Speedway Saturday...

Saldana Wins as Outlaws Debut at Sheboygan County

By WoO Sprint PR PLYMOUTH, WI (July 31, 2004) - Only a second place finish in his heat race kept Joey Saldana from sweeping the World of Outlaws debut at Sheboygan County Fair Speedway Saturday night. Saldana set a new track record in qualifying, won the first Dash, and led all forty laps in the A-feature, holding off eighteen time series champion Steve Kinser in a thrilling duel. The victory was Saldana's third of the 2004 season.

Saldana, the 1996 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, and Kraig Kinser (the current Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year leader) paced the field to the green flag, and raced side by side into turn one, where Saldana moved to the high side of the speedway to grab the lead. Kinser was running second when he bicycled in turn four and lost four positions on lap three.

Brian Paulus brought out the event's first caution flag with three laps completed when he stopped in turn four with brake problems. Sixth starting Danny Lasoski used the cushion in turns one and two to take third from Steve Kinser on the fifth circuit, with Craig Dollansky passing Kraig Kinser for fifth place on the same lap. Nine time and defending Interstate Racing Association champion Joe Roe followed Dollansky by Kinser, and began a side-by side battle with "The Crowd Pleaser" that lasted nearly the entire race.

Saldana began to lap slower cars on lap nine, with a five carlength lead over Donny Schatz. Roe passed Dollansky for fifth on lap fifteen, with Steve Kinser getting third back from Lasoski one lap later. Seventh running Kraig Kinser tangled with the lapped car of Dave Enders on lap twenty-one, spinning his car in the second corner.

Steve Kinser took second from Schatz on the twenty-third lap, only to have Schatz return the favor two laps later. On the restart, Todd Hepfner, winner of three of the last four IRA races at Sheboygan County Fair Speedway, took sixth from Joe Roe, but spun in turn four while attempting to pass Dollansky for fifth on lap twenty-eight.

Schatz and Steve Kinser traded second on laps thirty-one and thirty-two before Kinser took the position for good when Schatz jumped the cushion in turn two on the thirty-fourth lap. Lasoski passed Schatz for third a lap later.

Daryn Pittman began a late-race charge by passing Roe for sixth on lap thirty-five, and taking fifth from Dollansky a lap later. With thirty-five laps complete, the caution flag waved again for Kraig Kinser, who got together with Brian Kristan in turn three.

As the race went back to green flag conditions, the lapped car of Jason Meyers separated leader Saldana from second place Steve Kinser. The "King of the Outlaws" quickly got by Meyers, and used the bottom side of the speedway to track down Saldana, pulling even with the leader as the exited turn four to complete lap twenty-eight. Saldana chose to move to the low side entering turn one, and Kinser nearly spun his car while trying to avoid contact. The near spin by Kinser allowed "The Brownsburg Bullet" to pull away and win the event by ten carlengths.

"We had a little softer tire on than anyone else, so that's why we stayed on the top the whole time," Saldana said in victory lane. "I saw Jason (Meyers) down there running the bottom running just about as fast as we were, but I was afraid to get off the cushion. At the end I saw someone down there, so I knew I had to get to the bottom if I wanted to win the race. I didn't know who was beside me, but I knew it wasn't a black car anymore, and so I got down to where I needed to be."

Saldana's win was his first with Rob Hart, who replaced Mike Cool as the crew chief on the Volcano Joe's, Champion Rescue Tools Maxim last week. The Woodward Motorsports entry is the third car that Saldana has driven in World of Outlaws events this season.

"I can't thank my car owner Larry Woodward enough for putting me in this car. We're just trying to work hard and build for next year, and if we do then maybe we'll have a shot to race with Steve (for the World of Outlaws championship)."

Rookie of the Year contender Erin Crocker earned the hard charger honors, moving from outside row seven to finish ninth, her fourth career top ten finish (all of them coming since June 29th).

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Erin Crocker , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Kraig Kinser