Donny Schatz, the two-time defending World of Outlaws champion and Joey Saldana, who finished a career-best second in points this season, lead a list of nominees for the prestigious 2007 All-America Auto Racing Team, which will be determined by voting members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
The balloting is comprised of seven different categories, with Schatz and Saldana both earning nominations in the “Short Track” category, which consists of six drivers. The top-two vote getters in the category will be named to the All-American Auto Racing “First Team.”
Schatz won 19 A-Feature events this season with the World of Outlaws and became the first sprint car driver in history to win the Knoxville Nationals, the Kings Royal, the National Open, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same season. He brought his career win total with the series to 70, tying him for sixth on the all-time win list.
Schatz, a native of North Dakota, led the World of Outlaws in several statistical categories in 2007, including: A-Feature wins, Top-10 finishes, Top-Five finishes, laps led, money earned, wins in the Crane Cams Dash and pole positions.
Saldana won a total of 13 events this season with the World of Outlaws, including the $50,000 Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in California. He also was victorious at: Thunderbowl Raceway in California, Pike County Speedway in Mississippi, Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee, Dixie Speedway in Georgia, Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, Kokomo Speedway in his home state of Indiana, Eagle Raceway in Nebraska, River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, I-55 Raceway in Missouri, Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon and the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio.
Saldana led the series in fast time honors in qualifying, stopping the clocks first 11 times, setting three new track records in the process. He also was one of just three drivers to lead more than 300 laps of feature racing competition during the season. In addition, he claimed six wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn the same number of pole positions.
The balloting will also determine a Second Team of All-American’s, which will consist of the drivers placing third and fourth in each respective category, with honorable mentions going to all other drivers receiving at least 5 percent of the vote. An All- America team has been chosen by AARWBA members since 1970.
In addition, Schatz and Saldana are in the running for the prestigious Jerry Titus Award, also presented annually by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. The Titus Award is voted on by the 400-plus members of the organization that consists of the motorsports press, and honors the All-America team’s top driver, the one earning the most votes in the balloting, regardless of category.
Other nominees in the “Short Track” category for the 2007 All-America Team include late model standouts Steve Francis and Chub Frank. Francis claimed the 2007 World of Outlaws Late Model Series title, while Frank finished second. Also on the ballot is USAC Sprint National Sprint Car titlist Levi Jones and USAC National Midget champion Jerry Coons Jr.
The winner of the Jerry Titus Award will be announced at the 38th annual AARWBA Banquet in Indianapolis on January 12.