RACE REPORT: Saldana Wins in Australia

Concord, NC — Joey Saldana has always enjoyed racing at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway (PCR) in Australia. He is one of only two drivers to have claimed a victory in the $50,000 Classic that has been contested seven times. His win in the prestigious event came in 2003, and last weekend he came up just inches short of winning it for the second time.

On Wednesday night, Saldana, the 1996 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, who drives for NASCAR star Kasey Kahne, returned to the winner’s circle at PCR, as he won a thrilling race with Jason Meyers and Steve Kinser.

The native of Brownsburg, Ind., who won seven World of Outlaws A-Feature events in 2006 while finishing third in points, started on the outside of the front row and took the lead on the opening lap from 20-time World of Outlaws Champion Steve Kinser, who started on the pole.

Kinser took the lead from Saldana on lap seven as the pair exited the second turn. Saldana fought back on the 11th lap to make the pass for the lead, again in the second turn. 

A caution on lap 15 bunched the field up, and Saldana used a strong restart to retain the point, with Kinser shadowing him lap after lap. The Indiana natives battled through lapped traffic, which allowed Jason Meyers, who started fourth and Kerry Madsen to close up on the pair. As the laps wound down, Kinser found himself in a battle with Meyers, as Saldana pulled away.

Saldana took the checkered flag with Meyers in second and Kinser in third, securing all three podium positions for World of Outlaws drivers.

Donny Schatz, the reigning World of Outlaws Champion, who had a five race win streak at PCR, saw his night end before the A-Feature began due to engine trouble. Schatz last weekend won the $50,000 Bevelite Glass Sprint Car International for the sixth time in his career.

In preliminary action, Saldana finished third in the first heat to secure a spot in the first dash. Chad Hillier, who will compete for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws this season also was in the first heat and came home fifth.

Kinser finished fourth in the third heat, with Meyers just behind him. In the fourth and final heat, Schatz charged from a third row starting spot to finish second.

In the first dash, Kinser came from fourth to win, to earn the pole position in the A-Feature, with Hillier finishing sixth, to earn the 11th starting spot on the grid. 

The second dash saw Saldana pick up the win over Meyers, with Schatz having to pull off the track due to an engine fire.

In time trials, Kinser was third quick of the 54 cars that took time. Schatz was just behind him in fourth, with Meyers sixth, Saldana eighth, and Hillier 16th.

Saldana, Schatz, Kinser, Meyers, and Hillier will be in action again at Parramatta City Raceway on Saturday January 13.

The 2007 World of Outlaws season opens on February 9 at Volusia Speedway Park with the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented By Mopar Speedshop.


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