Saldana Holds Off Schatz at Jackson

Joey Saldana

Joey Saldana celebrates his fifth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season – and the 89th of his career – on Friday night at Jackson Speedway. (Photo: Rob Kocak)

Race Results

Joey Saldana added to his recent string of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series wins after battling Donny Schatz at Jackson Speedway Friday night. Saldana scored his third win in as many weeks and his fifth of the season.

The win propelled Saldana and his Motter Equipment car to second place in the race for the championship, 19 points back. It also gave him the 89th win of his career, tying him for sixth with 2001 Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski. Saldana said one his goals during his racing career was to hit the century mark in wins.

“It’s my 89th win. I just tied Danny Lasoski – this is like crazy,” Saldana said. “My goal for a long time was to win 100 races... it’s just a great night.”

“My dad was my hero, but Doug Wolfgang was my hero. [Wolfgang] won 107 Outlaws shows and never won an Outlaw championship – so it’s not all about winning championships, it’s about winning races. I just want to continue winning races and be competitive, and get a shot to race with the Outlaws.”
Wolfgang is fifth on the all-time wins list.

Saldana said that winning the Dash earlier in the night played a pivotal role in giving him the position he needed during the A main. With Schatz fighting him all night for position, Saldana said he just tried to make the right moves.

“Oh yeah, I knew [Schatz] was right on my back bumper but I knew, just stay on the bottom, don’t do anything stupid,” Saldana said. “If he’s going to beat me, he’s going to drive around me and if he does that, he deserves to win.”

Saldana’s last win came one week ago at the NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Showdown at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb. In that event, as with tonight, Saldana battled Schatz throughout the race and came out on top.

After winning his heat and the dash, Saldana started on the front row of the A main with five-time champion Schatz, last year’s winner at Jackson Speedway. Brad Sweet, driving his SureTest Supplies car and Lasoski started in row two.

Saldana dominated the 30-lap event, as the one-half mile track tested each team’s charge to the front.
As the green flag flew, Saldana jumped out front and led the first lap. Further back, the battle for third heated up in the opening laps between Sweet, Lasoski and Paul McMahan, with the three challenging for position. After jockeying through the first five laps, they all settled into position.

Schatz looked for opportunities in his STP/Armor All car to get around Saldana and closed the gap as the two started catching lapped traffic on lap 10. Schatz challenged Saldana on lap 17 and again on lap 20, but was not able to get around. As the white flag flew, Schatz took one last shot at the lead but it was Saldana who took the checkered flag in first.

“You just have to be smart, I guess, some nights,” Schatz said. “Good thing we got the spots we did in the dash... we didn’t get the win so that’s the way it goes. We’ll regroup and go tomorrow to Knoxville and see if we can’t make that a little better.”

Like Saldana and Schatz, third place Sweet credited his Dash performance for his ultimate position in the A main.

“We were up front in the dash and Donny got by us at the end of the dash and Joey just was in the right spot, so we’ll take a third,” Sweet said. “[Kasey Kahne Racing] and all the guys have been working hard and [thanks to] all of our sponsors that make this happen... We just need to be consistent. We’ll take top threes on nights like this and move on to Knoxville.”

The race for the Outlaws championship remains close, with just 60 points separating the top four. Schatz leads Saldana by 19. Daryn Pittman is in third, 20 points back and McMahan is in fourth, 60 points back.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint cars return to the track Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway for the Mediacom Outlaw Shootout. River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. and I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls, Minn. host the Outlaws next weekend, June 20 and 21.

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, Joey Saldana

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