CALISTOGA, Calif. (April 12, 2015) – The Wine Country Showdown finale tonight at picturesque Calistoga Speedway brought out another field of 35 marquee sprint car teams and drivers.
Joey Saldana, last night’s fast qualifier and the Calistoga track record holder, clocked a 16.999-second lap tonight good for the No. 3 qualifying spot.
In the third heat, Saldana rolled to the green flag with his Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop sprint car from the fourth position. When the track went green, polesitter Bud Kaeding assumed the lead. Rico Abreu was second and Saldana mastered a slide job that bought him third place. The top three did not change position for the remainder of the event. Saldana solidified a spot in the dash as well as the feature.
The ‘six’ ping pong ball was pulled during the inversion draw, which moved Saldana to the outside of the second row for the start of the dash. A straight up start would have put him on the inside of the second row. When the elite eight took the green, Schatz vaulted to the lead while Saldana was a participant in a three-car battle for second. As the cars started to settle in and spread out, Saldana was fourth. The Brownsburg Bullet was then challenged by Shane Stewart and the two drivers changed position with a series of slide jobs. At the checkered flag it was Schatz with the dash win and the pole of the feature. Saldana finished fifth in the dash and would occupy the fifth place on the A Main starting grid.
When the field was unleashed to begin the 25-lap feature, outside front row starter Craig Dollansky surged to the lead with Donny Schatz in pursuit. Shane Stewart was third and Saldana fourth. In two laps Saldana had moved to third. With nine laps complete, Sides passed Saldana. The yellow flew on lap 13 and the restart order was Schatz, Sides, Dollansky and Saldana. Back to green and back to yellow before a lap could be completed due to contact between Rico Abreu and Paul McMahan.
Back to racing with a single file restart. Schatz continued to lead. One more yellow slowed competition with 17 laps complete. When racing resumed, Schatz still showed the way. Saldana was fighting for position but had shuffled back to seventh place while battling with Shane Stewart, David Gravel and Kerry Madsen. Schatz won the event while Sides and Dollansky dueled to the finish line. Sides finished second and Dollansky third. Saldana was seventh and moved up to fifth in World of Outlaws point standings.
The Outlaws will be in Hanford, Calif., Friday, April 17 and will make their only Southern California appearance Saturday, April 18 at Perris Auto Speedway to wrap the West Coast Swing.