MERCED, Calif. – Fans attending the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Series this year have gotten their money’s worth of full fields of hard-charging drivers pounding the gas, driving high and low, sliding, spinning and flipping. Fans attending the Friday, March 29 race at Merced Speedway will have prime-time seating in the high rise front stretch grandstands to catch all the action.
Driver Joey Saldana and the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M team know that it is going to be important to start near the front of the field for this event as it is traditionally hard to pass on this third mile track. But a start in the front doesn’t give you ‘clean air’ for long because the leaders close on the back of the pack quickly.
“A lot of what happens at this track is really just the luck of the pill draw for qualifying position,” explained 71M team owner Dan Motter. “Joey drives as hard as anybody out there and he is also a smart driver who stays out of trouble. This track is a grueling test of standing on the throttle but trying to stay on all four wheels in the middle of a lot of traffic but there is an advantage to qualifying up front.”
Saldana did not have the luck of the draw in two previous events in Stockton and Chico.
He and crew chief Davey Whitworth are using that as a learning experience to prepare for the Merced track, which is similar. After the conclusion of the Chico event, the two spent a lot of time analyzing each change they made on the car and the result of the change. In talking through the cause and effect, they feel they have gained significant ground for Friday’s tune-up.
The Motter Motorsports team, newly formed this season, currently resides in third place in World of Outlaws point standings with 10 races in the record books. There are over 90 events this season. A lot of racing left before the champion is crowned.