MINOT, N.D. (Aug. 23, 2015) – Tonight the World of Outlaws continued their fall trek back to the West Coast making a stop at Nodak Speedway.
Joey Saldana, who was one of the final three to take to the track for time trials, drove the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M to the No. 9 qualifying position with a 13.608-second lap.
In heat racing action, Saldana pushed off from the outside of the first row next to polesitter Daryn Pittman. When the green flag waved, Pittman assumed the lead followed by Saldana. Though Saldana was giving Pittman a run for the money, he wasn’t able to track him down in the short 8-lap event. Pittman and Saldana finished one, two.
Saldana earned the 12th starting berth in the 35-lap A Main that was destined to be plagued by a series of tire issues and cars running out of fuel.
When the field was unleashed for the start, polesitter Paul McMahan topped the leaderboard with Donny Schatz in pursuit. Kerry Madsen was third and Saldana was 11th. On the second lap, Saldana gained another position and was running 10th. On lap 12, Schatz got by McMahan to commandeer the lead. A yellow flag on lap 15 slowed the field. Schatz restarted as the leader, then McMahan and Brad Sweet. Saldana was eighth and the Brownsburg Bullet had worked his way up to seventh when another caution flew on lap 17 for Paul McMahan, the leader of the first 12 laps, who now had a flat tire. McMahan’s crew made a tire change and sent him back out to take the 15th position in the field, the last car on the lead lap.
There was another caution on lap 17 but when the field went back to racing, Brad Sweet showed up at the party and reeled in Schatz for the lead on lap 18.
A flat tire on Saldana’s 71M caused a yellow on lap 27. The Motter crew made a quick change and got the Bullet back out despite the fact that there was no guaranteed time for them to make repairs since the race was past the half way mark. Saldana restarted 14, the last car on the lead lap.
On the restart, Pittman made a great move that won him the top position, but it was short lived. Austin Pierce lost an engine before a lap could be completed and the start was called back. Back to green and Sweet continued to lead the field, followed by Schatz and Shane Stewart.
Then on lap 32, competition was slowed for Stewart who exploded a tire, followed by Sweet who suffered the same malfunction, and then before the field could get underway again, David Gravel rolled to a stop (out of fuel). Stewart and Sweet’s teams changed tires and the drivers rejoined the field.
Back to green flag racing and Schatz inherited the lead on lap 33 by virtue of Sweet’s tire issue. Daryn Pittman was second and Paul McMahan third. Saldana, who had made a valiant driving effort, had worked his way back to seventh but ran out of fuel on the last lap, ultimately finishing 12th.
Schatz was the winner at his hometown track, Pittman finished second and McMahan third.
With no provision for an open red flag for refueling coupled with plenty of caution laps, there were four cars that ran out of fuel.
Between tire and fuel issues, it was a disappointing night for the Motter team and others.
The Outlaws will cross the border into Canada for a doubleheader in Edmonton, Alberta, Aug. 28-29.
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