With his number one ranking, Joey Saldana became just the second World of Outlaws driver to ever hold the top spot, joining three-time and defending series titlist Donny Schatz who has been on top of the rankings a number of times over the last few seasons including last month.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations
Concord, NC—September 18, 2009—Joey Saldana added another notch to his belt last week, in what is already been a career season for him on the World of Outlaws circuit, as he moved up to the top spot in the National Speed Sport News weekly “Power Rankings,” which consists of drivers from all disciplines of motorsports. After winning the 56th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California, last weekend, he remained atop the poll this week.
With his number one ranking, Saldana became just the second World of Outlaws driver to ever hold the top spot, joining three-time and defending series titlist Donny Schatz who has been on top of the rankings a number of times over the last few seasons including last month.
“That’s pretty neat for a sprint car driver to be in a group like that and to even be recognized is huge,” said Saldana. “Hopefully we can continue to run as well as we have. It’s great that people outside of sprint car racing are noticing what we are doing.”
Saldana has won a career-best 17 A-Feature events this season and coupled with a victory on the second qualifying night of the Gold Cup last weekend, has 18 overall wins with the World of Outlaws this season to lead all drivers. For Saldana his previous career high was 12 A-Feature wins in 2007 along with a preliminary feature triumph which gave him 13 overall wins with the series that season.
“In (20) ’07 I won 13 races and thought that was an awesome year,” shared the second generation driver. “So then I set my goal to win 15 and after that year if I could ever win 15 it would be an even better year. I definitely beat my goal this year and it’s been a great year. Everything is going good, we just have to figure out how to do better in the points and that just takes care of itself throughout the year.”
Saldana is in the midst of his fourth season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, which is owned by the former sprint car driver and current NASCAR star. In his first year with the team, Saldana won seven times and followed that up with the 12 A-Feature wins in 2007 and last season was victorious five times.
“Our team is doing really good right,” he noted. “Our motors are strong and everyone is happy to be a part of the Budweiser Kasey Kahne Racing team and that shows on the track. When you are having fun, good things happen. We have 10 races to go and hopefully we can win some more and it will definitely be a career year for me.”
Saldana began the 2009 season with 39 career A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws which placed him 11th on the all-time list. With his 17 victories so far this season, he now has 56 A-Feature wins which places him ninth on the all-time list. Stevie Smith is the next driver ahead of him in eighth with 67 A-Feature triumphs and earlier this season Saldana passed 2009 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee Jac Haudenschild for the ninth spot.
“For me to get to the point where I am passing guys like Jeff Swindell, Andy Hillenburg, Bobby Davis and Jac Haudenschild in wins is huge,” stated the native of Brownsburg, Indiana. “Those are guys you look up to and the best there is. Just to be in the same paragraph as those guys is pretty special. Stevie Smith, Dave Blaney and those guys are in front of me and hopefully we can continue to run good and win as many races as those guys have. It’s definitely gratifying to know you are in a list of guys that has accomplished a lot and gone on to do bigger and better things. I just wanted to race sprint cars, so to be in a list with those guys is huge.”
Jason Meyers, who won the most recent World of Outlaws event at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa on Wednesday night with a thrilling last lap pass of Saldana, also broke into the National Speed Sport News “Power Rankings” this week in the 10th spot as he chases his first career World of Outlaws title. He is currently just 17 markers behind Donny Schatz with 10 points paying events remaining in the 2009 season.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Saturday, September 19 with the series inaugural event at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota.