COTTAGE GROVE, Oregon (Sept. 9, 2015) – It was a ‘hump day’ stop for the World of Outlaws tonight at Cottage Grove Speedway as they worked their way through the West Coast swing.
Joey Saldana set the track record at this track in 2007 and he left continuing to hold that record. Once again tonight, Saldana and the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M were dialed in for time trials. The Brownsburg Bullet chalked up the No. 2 qualifying spot with a 10.065-second lap around the quarter-mile high banked oval.
Saldana rolled off fourth in the second heat. When the green flag waved, polesitter Jason Johnson led the pack followed by David Gravel and Saldana. There was no change in their positions during the 10-lap event. Saldana transferred to the dash.
There was a favorable result tonight for the Motter team in the inversion draw. A ‘zero’ ping pong ball was pulled indicating that the drivers would start the dash in the order they qualified. Saldana pushed off from the outside of the front row. With the flutter of the green, polesitter Daryn Pittman continued to pace the field, followed by Saldana. Behind him were Donny Schatz and Shane Stewart trading position and battling for third. Schatz soon settled into third and set his sights on Saldana. The Bullet was able to fend off the hard-charging Schatz and followed Pittman across the finish line.
Pittman earned the pole for the 35-lap feature and Saldana was his front row partner, starting on the outside.
“This place, as small as it is, you get around here pretty fast,” said Saldana. “It’s pretty demanding. It’s going to get a little slicker I’m sure for the feature, but it always puts on a great race and lapped traffic is key so we will see what happens.”
When the field was unleashed, polesitter Pittman commanded the lead followed by Schatz and Saldana. On lap two, Schatz took the lead. The caution was displayed on lap four when two cars got together. Back to green which morphed quickly into a red when Jason Sides flipped down the front straight. Sides climbed out unassisted. One lap of green and yellow again. This time on the restart it was Schatz, Pittman, Jason Solwold and Saldana. On lap nine Stewart got around Saldana to take fourth. On lap 13, another yellow, caused by two cars that tangled in front of the leader.
It was hard for the drivers to get into a rhythm with all the starts and stops. With 22 laps to go, the green flag waved and Schatz remained on the point. Saldana was shuffled back to sixth. The final yellow came out on lap 25 and then it was 10 laps of green flag racing to the checkered flag. Schatz drove to victory circle, Pittman was second and Stewart was third. Saldana finished seventh.
The Outlaws have Thursday to perform car maintenance before heading to Gold Cup competition Sept. 11-12 at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif.
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