ROSSBURG, Ohio (May 9, 2015) – Heavy rain forced the delay of the final night of “The Mother of all Sprint Car Weekends” at Eldora Speedway tonight. Patience paid off and racing got underway after 8 p.m. with the USAC non-wing Sprint Cars and World of Outlaws winged Sprint Cars.
This was the last night for the World of Outlaws competitors to get a feel for the Eldora half-mile before their return in July for Kings Royal weekend. All new clay was placed on the Eldora track for the 2015 season, which is not abrasive to tires, giving the surface a different feel than in years past.
Tonight, with so much moisture in the track from the rain today, Saldana’s late pill draw was not a disadvantage. The Brownsburg Bullet, sporting a new Shell Shock custom designed helmet depicting his father driving a No. 71 winged Sprint Car in 1980, took to the track 30th out of 34 competitors. Saldana powered the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M to the No. 5 qualifying position with a 13.047-second lap.
The Bullet pushed off third in the first heat. When the track went green, polesitter Paul McMahan took the lead followed by David Gravel and Saldana. The top three didn’t change position until the white flag lap when Saldana made an inside pass to take second place away from Gravel on the final corner. This assured that the signature yellow Motter car would earn a starting berth in the feature.
Saldana occupied the ninth position on the starting grid for tonight’s 30-lap A Main. Polesitter Donny Schatz went to the top of the leaderboard when the track went green. Saldana began to march forward and was sixth by lap three.
The first caution of the entire night – through heats, dash, and Last Chance Showdown – came on lap five. The restart order was Schatz, Gary Taylor, Jamie Veal, Shane Stewart, Dale Blaney and Saldana. Two laps later Saldana advanced to fourth. Schatz continued to lead the field, Taylor was second, Stewart was third and Saldana was challenging Stewart. Paul McMahan was behind Saldana. On lap 27, McMahan passed the Bullet. Then with one lap remaining, the yellow came out for a plethora of issues that included a shredded tire on Shane Stewart’s mount. The restart order for the green, white, checkered finish was Schatz, Taylor, McMahan and Saldana and that’s the way they crossed the finish line.
“That was a very impressive drive by Joey tonight,” said team owner Dan Motter, who was celebrating a birthday today. “There was so much mud out there tonight that Joey ran out of tear-offs about eight laps from the end of the race and that stopped his forward progress. He did a whale of a job hanging on trying to deal with keeping a line of vision.
“The whole team deserves a lot of credit. Joey worked with the team closely last night and they collaborated on changes made on the race car. This was a great rebound and good run from ninth to fourth. I think we had more in the car.
“We have five days of racing in seven days beginning Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania so hopefully we learned some things here at Eldora that will pay dividends in this next bank of races.”