Saldana Fifth in Final Night of Summer Nationals

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (July 25, 2015) –The final night of Summer Nationals competition at Williams Grove Raceway played to a full house of fans that came out to watch the Pennsylvania Posse and World of Outlaws drivers battle for tonight’s $20,000 jackpot and bragging rights.

With 39 cars on the grounds as there were last night, the two-flight qualifying format was in play. Saldana sat atop the second flight of qualifying, setting quick time in that flight, and second fastest overall, with a 16.831-second lap in the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M.

The qualifying to heat race formula landed Saldana in what was arguably the most difficult heat of the night. Saldana rolled off fourth in a field stacked with marquee Posse and Outlaw drivers. When the green flew, Donny Schatz assumed the lead followed by Kraig Kinser, Saldana and Greg Hodnett, who was stalking Saldana. Behind Hodnett was Danny Dietrich. Saldana held off Hodnett for a couple of laps, but Hodnett was able to get by to take third and then moved to second on the last lap. The heat winner was Schatz. Saldana finished fourth to earn a spot in the dash and the A Main.

In the inversion draw, the zero ping pong ball was pulled signifying a straight up dash start with Saldana on the outside of the front row next to Sammy Swindell. When the field went green, Swindell took the lead with Saldana right behind him trying to hunt him down. The two maintained their running positions for the six-lap dash. Swindell won the pole for the A Main with Saldana second, on the outside of the front row.

There was drama for the Motter team prior to the A Main. One of the push trucks ran over Saldana’s left rear tire causing it to deflate. Saldana was allowed to change tires and join the field in his original front row starting spot. The first start of the 30-lap feature was called back when it was determined polesitter Sammy Swindell was early on the throttle. He was moved back one row and Aaron Ott inherited the pole.

When the green flag waved, Ott took the lead followed by Stevie Smith and Saldana. On lap eight, Stevie Smith got by Ott to lead the pack. At the halfway mark, Swindell was able to pass Saldana for third. Right before the caution came out with three to go, Schatz moved up to third.

The single file restart order looked like this: Smith, Ott, Schatz, Swindell, Saldana. Back to green and one lap later a red flag. Now a green, white, checkered flag finish. Schatz made a successful run at second place on the final lap. Stevie Smith won the $20,000 purse plus a $5000 Morgan Cup bonus, and for the first time since the inception of the Morgan Cup, the sterling silver award would reside in the hands of the Posse at Williams Grove Speedway.

Saldana finished a very respectable and hard-fought fifth again tonight and moved up to fourth place in World of Outlaws points.

Tomorrow is a new day and the World of Outlaws will be facing off at Lebanon Valley Speedway in Lebanon, New York.

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