Williams Grove II: Second Preliminary race report

Saldana takes second Summer Nationals Preliminary. MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 26) -- Joey Saldana passed Tim Shaffer following a 24th-lap caution and led the final 1 1/3 laps to win the Second Preliminary Feature at the Cleveland Brothers Summer ...

Saldana takes second Summer Nationals Preliminary.

MECHANICSBURG, PA (July 26) -- Joey Saldana passed Tim Shaffer following a 24th-lap caution and led the final 1 1/3 laps to win the Second Preliminary Feature at the Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals Friday at Williams Grove Speedway.

Saldana, who set quick-time in both preliminary programs, steered his family's #17 Eagle Raceway/HEM Saw Eagle to the deepest point in turn three to pass Shaffer and slid in front of him in the fourth corner after Todd Shaffer brought out the caution flag with a blown engine.

"We needed that restart to win the race," Saldana admitted. "We were fast, but Tim got by (front row starters Greg) Hodnett and (Brad) Furr a lot quicker than I did, so I guess I should thank Todd Shaffer for blowing that engine and giving us a caution flag. We ran a little harder tire than Tim did, and I knew we'd be able to slide through the black better than he would. This track, it's tough to keep the front end of the car down on the long straightaways and you just have to tell yourself that the car's going to turn when you get to the corner. Tim was doing what he thought was right -- what got him the lead -- and I had nothing to lose trying something different the last couple of laps.

"Winning here is awesome. I used to come out here with my dad (Joe) when he ran the USAC openers at Reading and here, and I'm sure I've made him proud getting this one. My dad told me that there are four tracks -- Ascot, Knoxville, Eldora and Williams Grove -- that if you can win, you're pretty good. Ascot's gone, but now I've won at the other three."

Defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion Danny Lasoski's crash during the first hot-lap session marred the second preliminary program. (Please see related press release.)

Hodnett, who won the first O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, burst into the lead from the pole as the green flag fell in the 25-lap Preliminary Feature. Saldana, who started inside the third row, passed three-time Williams Grove National Open champion Mark Kinser for fourth place late in the opening lap.

Hodnett was a half-straightaway ahead of Furr when he entered lapped traffic eight laps into the race. Furr narrowed the gap to six car-lengths in dense lapped traffic within three laps.

Shaffer, who won the First Heat Race, challenged Furr for 1½ laps before driving the #83 Beef Packers Eagle past him on the back straightaway midway through the 14th lap. The 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award winner duplicated the move to pass Hodnett for the lead the next time around.

Saldana started charging toward the front early in lap 17, passing Furr for third place in the low groove between turns one and two. The 1996 Rookie of the Year took the low line into the fourth corner to pass Hodnett the next time around.

Steve Kinser, who took the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points lead following Lasoski's crash, passed second cousin Mark Kinser for fifth place on the back straightaway with during the 20th lap. Furr used a similar move to pass Hodnett for third place one lap later.

Todd Shaffer stopped on the back stretch with a blown engine early in lap 24, bringing out the final caution flag and tightening the field.

Saldana passed Shaffer for the lead within seconds after the green flag replaced the yellow, while the Kinser cousins raced past Hodnett for fourth and fifth place. "The King of the Outlaws" won a back-straightaway drag race with Furr for third place while Saldana claimed his third Preliminary Feature of the year with seven car-lengths to spare.

"We're just out here running for points, and you have to think of tomorrow night as just another race even though it pays $20,000 to win," Saldana said. "I'll just go out and do the best I can do. The locals are always so tough here. I'm surprised more of them weren't up front tonight. Greg was good, but Lance (Dewease) and (Don) Kreitz will be right there tomorrow night. We'll just go out and start wherever we start, and see what happens."

Steve Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Furr, Mark Kinser, Hodnett, Donny Schatz, Kauffman, Kreitz and defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion Daryn Pittman.

Brake problems in the #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim forced Brian Paulus to start at the rear of the 24-car field. WoO

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana
Teams Williams