KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 9, 2015) – Joey Saldana and the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop team joined 79 other teams for the Capitani Classic at Knoxville Raceway tonight to get a feel for the track that will host the World of Outlaws’ crown jewel, the Knoxville Nationals, in the coming days.
In preliminary action, Saldana was fourth in Group B time trials with a 15.404-second lap.
The Brownsburg Bullet pushed off third in a field of 12 in Group B Heat 1. Polesitter Brian Brown took the lead at the green flag. Lynton Jeffrey was second and Saldana third. On lap two, Saldana had moved to second. Jeffrey and Saldana jockeyed for one of the top three transfer positions, each one racing for the same patch of dirt. At the checkered flag it was Brown, Jeffrey and Saldana, all three earning transfer positions to the Capitani Classic.
A crowd-pleasing unique format to set the first four rows of the feature pitted the top eight qualifiers against each other in a two-car, two-lap shootout. The pole winner earned $3,000. Qualifier No. 8 faced off against qualifier No. 7, the winner of that round faced off against qualifier No. 6 and so on. Saldana won pole shuffle 2, beating Paul McMahan, transferred to pole shuffle 3 defeating Shane Stewart, transferred to pole shuffle 4 defeating Sammy Swindell, and in pole shuffle 4, Danny Lasoski got the transfer nod. Through the pole shuffles, Saldana earned the No. 4 starting position on the Capitani Classic grid.
Throughout the pole shuffles, the crowd worked into a frenzy and it was clear that Saldana had a huge group of screaming, cheering fans.
At the start of the 25-lap Capitani Classic, Kerry Madsen took the lead, Danny Lasoski was second and Saldana third. With one lap complete the caution was displayed for the death of the orange cone that had somehow gotten cut in half with a portion lying on the front stretch. Back to green and Madsen continued to show the way. On lap four, Shane Stewart was able to pass Saldana for third and several laps later Paul McMahan wrestled fourth from Saldana. Danny Lasoski took the lead. As the laps counted down, Swindell moved forward and Saldana was now sixth. On lap 20, Shane Stewart topped the leaderboard and was first across the finish stripe five laps later. Lasoski was second, Kerry Madsen third. Saldana finished sixth.
“This was a valuable night for us in terms of getting familiar with the race track and doing a bit of experimenting,” said team owner Dan Motter. “The pole shuffles were a crowd favorite and Joey displayed impressive driving skills. Tonight was a great learning experience.
“We will be out in the Thursday qualifying group for the Knoxville Nationals. The air is electric with anticipation for the big event.”
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