Clean Sweep for Saldana at Eldora: Earns Fifth Win of 2008
One of the toughest feats to accomplish with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is to sweep an event, which consists of setting fast time, winning a heat race, winning the Crane Cams Dash and also being victorious in the A-Feature event. Last season Joey Saldana was the only driver to turn the trick with the series.
He became the first driver to pick up a clean sweep this season on Friday night as he kicked off the Chevy American Revolution weekend at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio by having a perfect night.
He led all 30 laps of the A-Feature event to pick up the $10,000 top prize, after starting on the pole to earn his fifth A-Feature win of the season with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and the 39th of his career. He has won three times this season at Eldora, including twice with the World of Outlaws to bring his career total at the legendary half-mile to 17.
“It was a good night for us,” said Saldana. “Last year we were the only car that pulled that (a sweep) off and so far this year we are the only car to do it, and that’s a tribute to my team. We’ve been so hit and miss this year that gets frustrating because you want to race guys like Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser every night. Tonight we were as fast as them, if not better.”
Saldana powered his way to a huge lead early in the race aboard the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI, as Lucas Wolfe and Kraig Kinser tried to keep pace running second and third. By just the fourth lap, Saldana was already in traffic on the blazing fast half-mile. That lead was negated on the fifth lap as the first caution of the night flew when Craig Dollansky spun off turn four while battling Wolfe for the third spot.
A strong restart saw Saldana again pull away from the field. The caution would fly once more on the 22nd lap with a red flag coming out on the 24th lap, for a wicked crash involving Craig Dollansky, Jason Meyers and Tim Shaffer. Dollansky was transported to a local hospital with a right arm injury. On each of the restarts, Saldana motored his way down the front straightaway to quickly open a comfortable lead.
“We’ve been doing our homework,” he noted of the performance of his team’s engines. “Speedway (Engines) went home and did their homework and we have these motors running strong. We have Williams Grove coming up and we have struggled there with motors and we have new things there to try. We tried something here and tonight it was a great success. Hopefully we can take some of that and repeat something similar to that at the Grove. It was a good run for us tonight.”
The final restart of the race took place with just seven laps remaining, with Saldana out front and Steve Kinser, who won nearly 60 times in his career at Eldora Speedway directly behind him. A strong restart would propel Saldana over the last few laps and he wound up winning by over a second and a half.
“Steve (Kinser) is really good on restarts and at making you make a mistake and getting a slide job going into (turn) one,” explained the winner. “I just didn’t want him to get a run on me, because he is really good at that, especially here. I was just trying to keep him off his marks and thinking what I was going to do and it worked. We were good enough to pull away and that’s all that matters.”
In his last start at Eldora in the Kings Royal, Saldana was dominating the event when he had a tired explode on him, which was the second time that had happened at Eldora to him this season while leading. While the win on Friday night does not completely make up for those heartbreaks, Saldana and his team were not going to let the storied track take another win from them as they continue to chase wins to wrap up the 2008 season and gear up for 2009.
“I’ve very proud of these guys,” shared Saldana about his crew. “You have to have great people to have a great team. It will be a lot of work for everyone going from one car to two next year. We have great people and we just have to get out team running as good as we know that we can do. When you have so many things going on with your team it can be hard to keep track of all the things that are making your car successful each night. Hopefully we can get all of that ironed out and I think that is what we are doing.”
Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion finished second on Friday night aboard the Q Oil Maxim, after lining up sixth. He battled Chad Kemenah for the first four laps, before passing him on the fifth go-around. He gained a spot when Dollansky spun and next put a textbook slide job on Lucas Wolfe on the 12th lap, after battling the rookie driver for a number of laps to move into third.
Once in the third spot, Kinser shadowed his son Kraig for the better part of eight laps, before snagging the runner-up spot from him with 11 laps to go. Late in the race, he was able to gain some ground on Saldana in traffic, but Saldana regained what he lost each time he got back to open track.
Chad Kemenah picked up his second consecutive third-place performance at Eldora Speedway in the Kantor Oil Company Maxim. He started third and lost two spots on the opening lap, before battling Lucas Wolfe for fourth and then Kraig Kinser for third.
“I like coming here and I learned how to race here, so that helps,” said Kemenah. “We just have to win. We’re really, really close. We have been hanging around the Top-Five. We’re running third and second and the win can’t be too far away. Hopefully we knock that door down and can continue to win from there.”
Donny Schatz, the two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion finished fourth in the Armor All J&J at his car owner Tony Stewart’s track, with his teammate Kraig Kinser rounding out the Top-Five in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim.
Daryn Pittman, who won the Kings Royal at Eldora back in July was sixth on Friday night in the Titan Garages Maxim. Terry McCarl was seventh aboard the Big Game Treestands Maxim. Kerry Madsen was eighth in the TK Concrete Maxim, with Jac Haudenschild ninth aboard the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim. Sam Hafertepe Jr. rounded out the Top-10 in the Fusion Energy Boost J&J.
Kemenah was able to gain a lot of ground in lapped traffic, though each time he closed in on the lead pack the caution would fly. Under the open red flag on the 24th lap, his crew changed a couple of things on the car for the final sprint to the checkers.
“I needed longer green flag runs,” explained the native of Findlay, Ohio. “I had a harder tire on than most people. The cautions were hurting me more than they were helping me. You never know. I have been burned a couple of times leading races this year with too soft of a tire on. Tonight we guessed on a hard one and probably could have had a little bit softer one on.”
Kemenah began his night by turning the third fastest lap in time trials and followed that up with a second-place performance in the third heat race to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash where he finished third. He was quick to point out an intangible that is vital to being successful at Eldora that he has learned over the years.
“You don’t really ever lose focus here,” he noted. “You have to be focused when you come here. The minute you lose it at this place, it will bite you real quick.”
The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns to action on Sunday, September 21 at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York to complete the 25-lap A-Feature event which was postponed by rain back in July.
ELDORA SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
• FAST QUALIFIER: Joey Saldana paced the 37 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked 1/2-mile oval at 13.197 seconds at 136.395 mph. For his qualifying effort, Saldana earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Steve Kinser (4), Chad Kemenah (3), Donny Schatz (2), and Jason Meyers (1).
• QUALIFYING WINNERS: Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman, Kraig Kinser and Craig Dollansky won heat races… Joey Saldana won the Crane Cams Dash… Rob Chaney won the B-Main.
• FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 53 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2008. The winners include: Donny Schatz (Knoxville Raceway-twice, Attica Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway, Tri-City Speedway, Sedalia’s State Fair Speedway, Dodge City Raceway Park, River Cities Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Riverside International Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, K-C Raceway, Cottage Grove Speedway and Clay County Fair Speedway), Jason Meyers
(Volusia Speedway Park, Manzanita Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Lernerville Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway, Limaland Motorsports Park, Nodak Speedway and Castrol Raceway), Craig Dollansky (Volusia Speedway Park, Eldora Speedway, Huset’s Speedway-twice, Eagle Raceway, Tri-State Speedway and Paducah International Raceway), Steve Kinser (Williams Grove Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Lernerville Speedway, I-96 Speedway, Charter Raceway Park and Dacotah Speedway), Joey Saldana (Dodge City Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway-twice, Billings Motorsports Park and Skagit Speedway), Daryn Pittman (Eldora Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, Wilmot Speedway and Red River Valley Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Castrol Raceway, Silver Dollar Speedway and Lucas Oil Speedway), Tony Bruce Jr. (34 Raceway), Lance Dewease (The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway), Kraig Kinser (Grays Harbor Raceway), Danny Lasoski (Volusia Speedway Park), Jason Solwold (Skagit Speedway) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville Raceway).
•PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been two Advance Auto Parts
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preliminary Feature events held in 2008. The winners include Craig Dollansky (Silver Dollar Speedway) and Jason Meyers (Silver Dollar Speedway.
•HALF-MILE WINNERS: Eldora Speedway is a high-banked half-mile oval. The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series have raced 19 times this season on a track that size. The winners include: Donny Schatz (Knoxville Raceway-twice, Eldora Speedway, Sedalia’s State Fair Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway), Jason Meyers (Volusia Speedway Park, Manzanita Speedway and Virginia Motor Speedway), Daryn Pittman (Eldora Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway and Red River Valley Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Volusia Speedway Park and Eldora Speedway), Steve Kinser (Williams Grove Speedway and I-96 Speedway), Joey Saldana (Eldora Speedway-twice), Danny Lasoski (Volusia Speedway Park) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville Raceway).
The Official Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Web site is at https://www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint. Among the features are updated driver biographies with individual statistics and pictures, race-by-race statistics, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases. Also, links to the 2008 Official Rulebook can be found at the bottom of the home page.
• UPCOMING EVENTS: A visit to Orange County Fair Speedway in New York for a makeup event and then the final two races of the season at the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Eldora Speedway; Rossburg, OH; September 19, 2008
1) 9-Joey Saldana 13.197
2) 11-Steve Kinser 13.280
3) 8K-Chad Kemenah 13.330
4) 15-Donny Schatz 13.345
5) 14-Jason Meyers 13.346
6) 21-Daryn Pittman 13.374
7) 24-Terry McCarl 13.399
8) 2L-Ed Lynch Jr. 13.399
9) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 13.419
10) R19-Jac Haudenschild 13.449
11) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 13.454
12) 2-Craig Dollansky 13.456
13) W20-Greg Wilson 13.537
14) 24H-Rob Chaney 13.556
15) 20-Kraig Kinser 13.563
16) 55-Kerry Madsen 13.582
17) 7S-Jason Sides 13.583
18) 2M-Dustin Daggett 13.593
19) 83A-Tim Shaffer 13.594
20) 18-Tony Bruce Jr. 13.595
21) B20-Butch Schroeder 13.605
22) 5C-Chad Hillier 13.609
23) 99-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 13.618
24) 2B-Dale Blaney 13.642
25) 6-Paul McMahan 13.704
26) 1X-Randy Hannagan 13.725
27) 13-Jesse Hockett 13.739
28) 5B-Chad Blonde 13.755