Keeping Pace

A Home Away from Home: Saldana Looks to Repeat at Skagit Speedway for Kasey Kahne Racing

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Joey Saldana and his team always have the two-day event at Skagit Speedway in Washington circled on their calendars. With a couple of the members of the crew along with car owner Kasey Kahne being from the Evergreen State, the event is one they look forward to each and every year.

Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Alger, WA— September 3, 2009—Joey Saldana and his team always have the two-day event at Skagit Speedway in Washington circled on their calendars. With a couple of the members of the crew along with car owner Kasey Kahne being from the Evergreen State, the event is one they look forward to each and every year.

Saldana was victorious at the high-banked bullring last season for the second time in his career, pocketing $25,000 for the triumph. Saldana lined up sixth and took the lead from Jason Meyers on the 32nd lap after Meyers had taken the top spot from Steve Kinser earlier in the race. Saldana will have a chance to repeat at Skagit Speedway in the Budweiser Maxim this weekend at the World of Outlaws take to the track for two full nights of racing beginning on Friday, September 4 with $20,000 awaiting the winner of the finale on Saturday, September 5.

“It’s a great place to race,” shared Saldana. “Steve Beitler (Track owner) puts on a good show. He puts a little bit of extra money on the event and it’s always cool to go up there and run well. Being in Washington where my car owner is from, it’s neat to be able to go up there and race. A lot of the people that grew up watching him race come out and watch his car race. It’s a cool environment and its great going to the west coast. We’ve had some success there and hopefully we can continue that this year.”

Saldana won in his debut at Skagit Speedway in 2002, besting Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz for the victory in that event. He has finished seventh or better in each of the last five starts he has made at the track. He won last season leading the final nine laps of the 40-lap contest, with his car owner in attendance. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana has won a couple of times already this season with Kahne in the pit area, including earlier this season live on SPEED at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, though he does not see that as being any added pressure.

“The people that are Kasey Kahne fans expect to see the car run well, with it being the No. 9 and having Budweiser on the car and it being his home state,” Saldana noted. “They want to see it run well, so there is pressure in that aspect. Anytime you run a World of Outlaws event though there is pressure. You always want to do well and it is very tough racing. We don’t treat it any different, though the fans up there probably want more than we can give them sometimes. Hopefully we can run well for them.”

While he has had plenty of success at Skagit Speedway in the past, Saldana and his team do not expect to rely too much on their past notes from the high-banked bullring, especially with a couple of differences in the race cars this year versus the past couple of seasons.

“In dirt track racing it seems like every time you go back to a dirt track it’s a little bit different,” explained the second generation driver. “The tracks change so much and that is what is so neat about dirt track racing is that the tracks are never the same twice. As a driver you really have to adapt to how the tracks are changing. You can get close on the set-up and gear and tire and stuff like that from the past. I think that is what makes the World of Outlaws and dirt track racing so unique is that it is always changing and it’s usually different.”

Saldana heads into this weekend’s pair of events at Skagit Speedway third in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 15 A-Feature wins, including winning both ends of the Oil City Cup last weekend at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, along with 36 Top-10 finishes. He is just 26 points behind Jason Meyers who is second in points, as each of the two battles Donny Schatz for the title. Saldana currently leads the series in lap led, having paced the field for 376 laps. He also has won the Crane Cams Dash four times to earn pole positions in A-Feature events and has been fastest in time trials on four occasions as well.

With 19 nights of racing remaining in the 2009 season, Saldana has his work cut out for him as he chases his first World of Outlaws title and the first for his car owner Kasey Kahne. Saldana finished a career best second in points in 2007 and won a career-high 12 A-Feature events that season, which he has already eclipsed in 2009, as he continues to rack up the wins.

“My goal is to win more races than any in the series and if I do that then hopefully I’ll win the points,” said Saldana. “That’s what Donny Schatz has preached for the last three years, but this year it is not turning out that way for me. If we don’t win it, hopefully we can win the most races out of anybody. That would be an accomplishment in itself, especially when you have a guy like Donny Schatz that is running as strong as he is. If we can win more races than him and run third, fourth or fifth in the points, at least we know we did our part. It would just be other things out of our control why we didn’t get enough points to win. We’ll see what happens.”

On Friday, September 4 at Skagit Speedway, tickets for adults will be $35, with tickets for juniors (Ages 7-17), seniors (Ages 65-over) and Military $25, with tickets for kids 6-under $10. For more information on tickets call the track at: (360) 724-356 Office (360) 724-356 or visit http://www.skagitspeedway.com.

On Saturday, September 5 at Skagit Speedway, tickets for adults will be $35, with tickets for juniors (Ages 7-17), seniors (Ages 65-over) and Military $25, with tickets for kids 6-under $10. For more information on tickets call the track at: (360) 724-356 Office (360) 724-356 or visit http://www.skagitspeedway.com.




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.




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