By Larry Boos
ROSSBURG, Ohio (April 28) – World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint driver Joey Saldana will be coming into Eldora Speedway’s Outlaw Thunder by Goodyear weekend (May 4 & 5) with momentum, renewed confidence and impressive statistics. In fact, he will be seeking a three-peat when he goes up against his WoO peers, and all challengers, Friday night on the famed Eldora high-banks.
Nicknamed “the Brownsburg Bullet”, the second-generation driver has captured the Eldora WoO opener in each of the past two years. Last year’s opening win was complemented with a triumph at the Four Crown Nationals.
Saldana’s Four Crown victory was especially satisfying and served as redemption of sorts. A devastating crash in July’s WoO sanctioned Kings Royal sidelined the popular driver, and dashed all hopes for a WoO crown, for two months with arm injuries. The September date was his second time back behind the wheel.
Those two wins moved Saldana into legendary company at Eldora. With a total of ten WoO wins, he is tied for third in the all-time win list with Doug Wolfgang. Only twenty-time WoO champion Steve Kinser with 35 wins and three-time WoO champion Sammy Swindell with 18 wins are ahead of them.
Still seeking that elusive WoO championship, Saldana will have steep company during the two-night Eldora swing, including veterans Kinser and Swindell.
Another driver figuring in the mix is current point leader and four-time WoO champion Donny Schatz. It took several seasons for Schatz to get into Eldora’s hallowed victory lane, a fete he accomplished with his 2007 Kings Royal triumph, but he now knows the road. With four WoO wins at Eldora, including a 2009 repeat in the celebrated Kings Royal, Schatz is hungry to increase that victory total.
Among the challengers seeking to idle Saldana’s momentum are All Star Circuit of Champions frontrunners Tim Shaffer and Dale Blaney. Shaffer, the defending All Star champion, turned the tables last season with a Knight Before the Kings Royal win, while Blaney, a former Kings Royal crown wearer is anxious to return to the WoO victory lane that he has been absent from since 2004.
A full program of WoO Sprint Car racing will take place Friday and Saturday in the Goodyear sponsored weekend, with Eldora’s Stock Cars completing the doubleheader program on Friday night and the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds on Saturday night. The event featuring being another flame, firework and pyrotechnic-filled weekend of sensory overloading excitement mixed with unleashed horsepower.
Tickets for the Outlaw Thunder by Goodyear, the Kings Royal weekend, and all other Eldora events are available through the track office at (937) 338-3815 or online 24 hours a day at www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Like us at www.Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway or catch all the behind-the-scenes preparation for the event on Twitter @EldoraSpeedway.