History Maker: Joey Saldana’s First World of Outlaws Win Came in Inaugural I-96 Speedway Event
LAKE ODESSA, Mich. — May 28, 2015 — Joey Saldana made history on a couple of fronts on July 24, 1995. First and foremost, he scored his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature win that night at I-96 Speedway in Michigan, by leading all 30 laps. Saldana picked up the victory over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser. Saldana’s name also went into the record books that evening as the first World of Outlaws winner at I-96 Speedway, which has hosted the series 13 more times since.
Saldana and his fellow World of Outlaws competitors will return I-96 Speedway this weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan on Saturday, May 30. The event will be one of just two in the state of Michigan for the series.
“Winning your first Outlaws race is big and definitely one you’ll never forget,” said Saldana. “With how tough the competition is now and especially how tough it was back then, to win that one as a young driver against all of those veterans was pretty special. You try to cherish all of the wins, because you never know when another will come, but the first is certainly one that will always hold a special place to me.”
Saldana, who won three All Stars races at I-96 Speedway in 1995, along with the World of Outlaws race, is the only driver competing full-time with the series this season that has competed in all 14 previous Outlaws race at the now-three-eighths-mile, which was previously a half-mile. Saldana first competed at I-96 Speedway in 1990 and 1991, with USAC, when the sanctioning body was running winged sprint cars.
“The track is so much different now than it was even a couple of years ago, when we raced on the big track, so what you used in the past really doesn’t work now,” explained Saldana. “You have to approach it like a new track and start with a clean slate. You have to work on your car completely different than you did in the past, especially with the tires we have now. Really, nowadays, you have to approach every race a lot different than you did in the old days.”
In his career with the World of Outlaws at I-96 Speedway, Saldana has 10 top-10 finishes, with six of those being top-five showings. Last season, he finished seventh at the track, and was third in 2013, which marked the last race for the series on the former half-mile. A permanent three-eighths-mile hosted the series for the first time last year.
“I-96 is a cool place and they always get good crowd support,” noted the native of Brownsburg, Indiana. “We only race a couple of times each year in Michigan and there are a lot of sprint car fans up there that this is the only time they get to see us all year, so hopefully we can put on a good show for them.”
After setting fast time in qualifying on 24 occasions last season, Saldana and his Motter Motorsports team, led by crew chief Randy Wolfe, are looking to find their qualifying magic again. Saldana has three quick times thus far in 2015.
“With the way the format is, you definitely want to qualify well,” Saldana said. “Right now we have been struggling qualifying and seem to be racing well. We have to find a balance between those, so that we can qualify and race well and build on that and go to the next race and keep getting better. If we can run in the top-10 and top-five, then a win should be around the corner, hopefully.”
Entering the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan, Saldana is sixth in the World of Outlaws standings, just 57 points out of the top-five. He has 19 top-10 finishes and eight top-fives as he chases his first win of the season. Saldana has led 74 laps of feature racing competition thus far in 2015, which is third-most of any driver.
“We are looking to have a solid weekend,” said Saldana. “That’s what we need more than anything. We’ve been struggling lately and a good result is what we really need right now. Qualifying well and getting in the dash and starting up front is usually the key to that. We have to put ourselves in a good position and then we can be a contender.”
Tickets for the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at I-96 Speedway can be purchased online at http://slspromotions.ticketforce.com or by calling SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023.
Fans can also take advantage of the NAPA Auto Parts $5 OFF Special. Fans can receive $5 Off General Admission tickets when they present a NAPA proof of purchase receipt at the ticket gate on race day. Limit 2 people per receipt (Grandstand Only).
For more information on tickets visit http://slspromotions.ticketforce.com.
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