World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Night Two of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH
Winning combination: Joey Saldana and his Kasey Kahne Racing team made a couple of key changes heading into the 2009 season. First, they switched chassis and will run a Maxim this season, and second they added Willie Kahne to the road crew again to serve as crew chief. The changes have paid big dividends already, as Saldana has four Top-Five finishes in five starts at Volusia Speedway Park during the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
“It’s huge,” said Saldana of the win after the changes his team made for this season. “We not only have a new crew chief, but we changed chassis as well. We changed to Maxim this year and to win in the second World of Outlaws race is big. I commend my guys for all of the work they put in this winter.”
Another night, another podium finish: Jason Sides picked up his third podium finish of the week at Volusia Speedway Park on Saturday night, coming home second, after leading 11 laps and battling Joey Saldana throughout the second half of the 30-lap event The 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year has finished sixth or better in eight or his last nine starts in a sprint car, with seven of those being Top-Five performances and is currently tied with Donny Schatz atop the World of Outlaws standings. He again had veteran sprint car driver Terry Gray helping turn the wrenches on Saturday night.
“I have to thank Terry (Gray),” said Sides. “He has been down here helping us and he came to Australia with us. Ever since he has been around, it seems like everything has been clicking good. My new crew guys Doug and Brad have been working very hard. Anything we can learn from this and keep on going tomorrow night will be good for us.”
Three in a row: Jac Haudenschild picked up his third consecutive Top-10 finish of the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH on Saturday night, coming home a very strong third. The 2009 campaign marks the second for the veteran driver in the Carnahan Motorsports machine with crew chief Leonard Lee turning the wrenches. The combination won five times last year with the World of Outlaws.
“It will take what we are doing right now,” noted Haudenschild, when asked what it would take to win on Sunday night. “Leonard (Lee) has the car running good and it’s handling very well. The R19 car has been running good ever since I got in it last season.”
Another night, another Top-Five: Greg Hodnett, the 1993 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year with the World of Outlaws, finished fourth on Saturday night to earn his second straight Top-Five finish. Along with Jason Sides, he is the only driver that has finished in the Top-Five in both World of Outlaws events at Volusia. He has finished seventh or better in each of the last three races at the blazing fast half-mile.
“The guys did a great job,” said Hodnett after Saturday’s race. “I had a little trouble again with traffic. We got up to third and were closing and I was a little too tight behind guys and just couldn’t make anything happen. We held on for fourth and tried our best. Hopefully we’ll get better yet. I’m very happy to be running this competitively and hopefully we can keep it up.”
Looking for a title: After five nights of sprint car racing in the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, Stevie Smith is the overall leader in points, with one more race remaining. The veteran driver has three Top-Five finishes, including a win with the All Star Circuit of Champions on Thursday night and four Top-10 runs in five starts at Volusia.
“We’re really excited,” said Smith. “We have gotten off to a great start. We rebounded after last night (Friday) and had a really good car. I’m really happy to be a part of this. We have one more night and a lot of things can happen.”
Alltel DIRTcar All-Star Voting: Voting is underway for the 2009 Alltel DIRTcar All-Star. Each driver that wins an A-Feature event during the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH is eligible, with the top vote getter on February 28 receiving $10,000. World of Outlaws drivers that are eligible include Joey Saldana and Donny Schatz. Also eligible in the sprint car category is Stevie Smith. Fans can vote via text message or online.
Through five nights of competition at the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, the Alltel All-Star contenders and their text message Letter Codes (in parenthesis) include: Sprint Cars — Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D. (b); Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow, Okla. (d); Joey Saldana (f).
Media gallery: Photos from the first two nights of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH for the World of Outlaws can be seen online by visiting http://www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint/Media/020309_ALLTEL_DIRTcar_Nationals_UNOH/Media.aspx. Video clips from the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals can also be viewed in the media gallery.
Up next: The finale of the three nights of racing for the World of Outlaws during the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park on Saturday night. The winner will again receive $10,000 on Sunday night.
Catch all the action: Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH Racepasses are now available for purchase by visiting http://www.DIRTVision.com. For just $29.99 subscribers can watch live video action of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Advance Auto Part Super DIRTcar Series, UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, and the All Star Circuit of Champions all from Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. To sign up simply log in and click on subscription and click on Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH Racepass. Don’t miss 12 nights of excitement.