BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2014) – The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car drivers competing in tonight’s DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing were quicker and faster than last night and continued to chip away at the existing 12.563-second track record set in 2011 that makes Volusia Speedway Park the world’s fastest half-mile dirt oval.
Joey Saldana drove the Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M to a solid 12.961-second lap, placing him third in the qualifying order and making him one of only three drivers in the sub 13-second category.
“What a difference a day makes,” said team owner Dan Motter. “Yesterday we were fifth out on the track to take time trials and it worked against us. I don’t know what the odds are that tonight’s random pill draw could put us fifth again, but that’s what happened. Tonight Joey and the team were ready for our early qualifying appearance and used it to our advantage, displaying positive attitudes, great team spirit and preparation.”
In heat race action, Saldana started fourth in the third heat. At the drop of the green flag, Brad Sweet took the lead. Saldana quickly engaged in a three-car battle for second place that included Chad Kemenah and Steve Kinser. With two laps complete, Saldana prevailed, running second, and began to pull away from those in pursuit of him. Though he was unable to catch Sweet, Saldana finished a very strong second, qualifying for a position in the dash and the A-Main.
Following the inversion draw, Saldana was assigned the No. 4 starting spot in the dash.
Saldana moved into third position in the first lap of the dash and then into a vigorous battle trading places with second place runner Cody Darrah. At the checkered flag, it was Daryn Pittman with the victory, Darrah second and Saldana third which solidified their respective starting positions in the A-Main.
When the flag dropped to start the 30-lap A-Main, pole sitter Daryn Pittman assumed the lead followed by Cody Darrah, Paul McMahan and Saldana. Through the first one-third of the race, Pittman and Darrah were in a dogfight, trading position for the lead, though Pittman was credited with leading every circuit through lap 11 when the caution came out for Rico Abreu who spun.
Re-rack the field: Pittman, Darrah, Paul McMahan, Terry McCarl and Saldana.
On the restart, Darrah took the lead. Saldana lost position to Brad Sweet and Steve Kinser but continued to shadow Kinser. In the meanwhile, hard charging Donny Schatz was advancing through the field and with seven laps to go, took the lead, winning the race. Darrah finished second and Pittman rounded out the podium.
Saldana was eighth in the final order.
“The track got slick and slowed down,” said Saldana. “We slowed a second between the start and finish of the A-Main. Our car was too free, or loose, and we weren’t able to hold our position. It was a pretty dramatic difference between 12-second qualifying times, 13.5-second laps in the dash, 14-second laps at the beginning of the A-Main and we were almost running 15-second times at the end of the feature. Every night is a learning experience. We got a top-10 finish, but we’re looking for the top of the podium tomorrow.”
Sunday concludes the Outlaws triple header at Volusia.