Saldana Survives Silver Dollar

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Over the years, Joey Saldana has learned that patience is a vital aspect of sprint car racing, especially on bullrings where lapped traffic always comes into play. Saldana used plenty of patience on Friday night in the opener of the 23rd Annual Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California to pick up the $10,000 win over Jason Meyers and Terry McCarl.

Saldana began the night by setting a new track record in time trials, charging around the high-banked ¼-mile in 10.918 seconds, becoming the first driver ever to eclipse the 11-second barrier in the 50-plus year history of the track. He then got around teammate Craig Dollansky in lapped traffic on the 26th lap of the 40-lap event and would lead the remainder of the way, enduring a number of late cautions.

“It feels great,” said Saldana. “This is a great effort for Kasey Kahne Racing. We had a very good car. I can’t thank Budweiser and Kasey enough for the opportunity that they have given me.”

Saldana started fifth in the Budweiser Maxim and got around Jonathan Allard on the opening lap, before charging past Donny Schatz on the second circuit. He then shadowed Terry McCarl for a number of laps as the pair tried to track down Craig Dollansky. Saldana was able to get by McCarl on the seventh lap and then set his sights on his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate. He would catch Dollansky in traffic on the 26th lap as he was held up by a couple of slower machines, giving Saldana the perfect opening he needed to charger under him on the low side of the track on the front straightaway and quickly open a sizeable advantage.

“My car was so good the longer that we ran in open track,” he explained. “I was keeping up with Craig (Dollansky) and waiting for lapped traffic to come to us. I kept moving around the track so I would be ready for that.”

After a hard crash in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, Jason Meyers rebounded in impression fashion finishing second on Friday night aboard the GLR Investments KPC. He started seventh and quickly moved into the Top-Five, before falling back to seventh and then working his way to the front again.

“For us right now, this is a great run and a good momentum builder for tomorrow night,” shared Meyers. “We just had to hang on. The holes were pretty big down there and I didn’t know if we could get through them or not. We tried to stay out of them and hang in there.”

The field endured a total of 13 yellow flag periods and two red flags over the course of the 40 laps. The majority of the cars in the field were involved in some type of caution or red flag at some point during the 40-lap event. Meyers was able to stay out of trouble en route to earning his fourth Top-10 finish of the season.

“I think we ran about 200 laps tonight, but it gives you a chance to look at the race track,” noted the native of Clovis, California. “Restarts on a track like this are always good places to make moves. It makes for exciting racing and you’ll have yellows like that when the track has some holes in it. There is nothing wrong with that, it was a great race tonight. Guys came from the back to the front and I’m sure the fans got a good race tonight. It’s great to be back for the Mini Gold Cup with the World of Outlaws.”

Terry McCarl started on the pole in the opener of the Mini Gold Cup, after winning the Cranes Cams Dash and led the field down the front straightaway into turn one, before Craig Dollansky got around him on the high side of turn two. He remained in the Top-Four the entire race and had a couple of spirited battles with Jac Haudenschild and Sammy Swindell.

“We wanted to win the thing, but we came home third and that’s what we are out here to do, run up front,” stated McCarl. “It was a chess match up there not hooking the ruts. The track was in great condition, it just had a few ruts. I hooked a couple and lost some spots and so did Sammy (Swindell) and Craig (Dollansky). It was just one of those deals.”

McCarl wound up third in the Big Game Treestands Maxim to pick up his best World of Outlaws finish this season and survived the rough and tumble 40-laps after enduring some serious damage late in the going.

“We had a great car,” said the native of Altoona, Iowa. “I screwed up on that (late) restart and hooked a rut and messed Tim Kaeding up and he got into my left rear and nearly blew the tire and wheel off. It was smashed to bits, so we were lucky to finish.”

Danny Lasoski finished fourth aboard the Casey’s General Store Maxim to earn his best finish of the young World of Outlaws season as he continues his to gel with the Parsons Motorsports team.

Steve Kinser turned in a very impressive run coming from the back of the field after having to go to a back-up car after a hard crash in the Crane Cams Dash. The 20-time series champion lined up 24th for the 40-lap contest and finished fifth in the Quaker State Maxim, to earn the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award.

Chad Kemenah was sixth in the Kantor Oil Company Maxim, with three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell in seventh in the Tom Rolfe Trucking Maxim. Randy Hannagan was eighth in the Central Valley Meat Company Maxim, with Kerry Madsen in ninth, piloting the TK Concrete Maxim and three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz rounded out the Top-10 in the Armor All J&J.

After leading the first 25 laps of the race and then running in the Top-Three for the next 10, Craig Dollansky spun with just five laps remaining and had to restart at the tail of the field. He ended up working his way back up to 11th aboard the DirecTV Maxim.

The Mini Gold Cup wraps up on Saturday night for the World of Outlaws at Silver Dollar Speedway with another 40-lap main event that will see the winner pocket $10,000.

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