GREENWOOD, Neb. (June 5, 2015) – Fresh off a victory Wednesday night at Kokomo Speedway, Joey Saldana, the defending NAPA Auto Parts Showdown winner at I-80 Speedway, was hoping for back-to-back victories as the World of Outlaws sprint car drivers strapped in for a night of wheel to wheel combat.
Saldana considers I-80 his hometown track as his family hails from nearby Lincoln.
The Brownsburg Bullet was spectacular in qualifying, scorching the high-banked 4/10-mile I-80 track in 14.277 seconds, posting his fourth quick time of the season in the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M.
Saldana rolled off fourth in the first heat. The initial start was called back when polesitter Logan Schuchart was on the throttle too soon. Schuchart was penalized a row and the new polesitter was Danny Lasoski. When the green flew the second time, Lasoski led the field, followed by Daryn Pittman, Saldana and Schatz. There was no change in the running order for the top four for the duration of the heat. Saldana’s third place finish earned him a position in the dash as well as the A Main.
In a straight-up dash start, Saldana would have been on the pole. In the inversion draw, the ‘four’ ping pong ball was picked, relegating the Bullet to the outside of the second row.
“It would be huge to get a win here again at I-80,” said Saldana. “Any Outlaw win would be huge but definitely to do it with relatives around and people that don’t usually get to see me race would mean a lot. I love racing here. This place is awesome and I’m glad we got to come back here and race last year and glad it’s on the schedule again. Hopefully it’s a good race tonight and we’re part of it.”
When the track went green, polesitter Danny Lasoski led the pack followed by Kerry Madsen and Saldana. The top three didn’t change position during the quick-paced dash so Lasoski earned the pole for the feature and Saldana started on the inside of the second row.
The green flag for the 30-lap feature turned red when James McFadden got up on the fence and came down hard back on the track. Ryan Bunton was also involved. Both drivers were okay. Back to green and after four lead changes on the first lap, Kerry Madsen took the lead. Danny Lasoski was second and Ian Madsen third. A spin brought out the caution on lap five, but Ian Madsen also went to the work area with a low tire. Saldana was seventh on the restart. Back to green and Lasoski took the lead with a slide job on lap six. Cautions on laps nine and 14 slowed racing action. As the laps ticked by, the running order was Lasoski, Brian Brown and Jason Sides. Saldana slid to 12th but worked his way forward again. Before the yellow on lap 26, Donny Schatz had moved to second behind Lasoski. Saldana was 10th. The caution turned to an open red flag opportunity for competitors to refuel. With four laps remaining, Lasoski and Schatz put on a show racing for the same patch of dirt. The two banged bumpers, Schatz got by for the lead on lap 29 and then Lasoski got the win coming off the final corner. The crowd was in a frenzy.
Jason Sides finished third and Saldana finished 10th.
“We made a decision to put a hard tire on for the feature,” said team owner Dan Motter. “We thought the track would take rubber and based on the condition of our tires after the heat, we thought the hard tire would be the best choice; however we just couldn’t get any grip in the A Main.
“On a positive note, we did move up to fifth place in point standings.”
The Outlaws will end the week at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas tomorrow night.
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