Eldora speedway

By Larry Boos

ROSSBURG, OH (Sept. 22) – Joey Saldana is returning to Eldora Speedway Friday night (Sept. 23) for the opening leg of the Four Crown Nationals with confidence and a huge morale booster after capturing Wednesday’s World of Outlaw (WoO) Sprint Series victory at Hartford Speedway. Wednesday’s run was his first time back in the cockpit after July’s devastating crash during Eldora’s Kings Royal left him with serious injuries that were thought to have brought an end his 2011 racing campaign.

Undaunted and determined, Saldana fought back and underwent an extensive rehab program, with an intent to return and return stronger than ever.

From Hartford’s victory lane, an optimistic Saldana said, “several drivers have been in accidents like mine and never will crawl back into a car. I am very lucky and blessed to be here tonight and to come away with a win is huge.”

Saldana’s motivation and sense of looking ahead rather than back brings him to Eldora, a track that he has conquered successfully many times. With nine WoO wins on the massive one-half mile clay oval, he ranks fourth on the all-time win list, only one shy of tying the legendary Doug Wolfgang. In fact, his current fourth place standing places him in strong company. The three ahead of him share the most storied history in Outlaw racing – Steve Kinser (35), Sammy Swindell (18) and Wolfgang with 10 wins.

Of those nine wins, two were Kings Royal triumphs and two more came in this very same race, the final appearance of the season for the travelling WoO series. Combine that with 11 All Star Circuit of Champions checkered flags and a sole victory in NRA (National Racing Alliance) Sprint Invader competition, and Saldana knows full well that the job can be done.

The competition will be tough; however, as a grueling cumulative points battle also comes into play, with defending WoO champion Jason Meyers clinging to a slim 127 point lead over 20-time champion Steve Kinser. Kinser, in turn, holds an even slimmer seven point margin over another former champion, Donny Schatz.

The one-night WoO show, combined with the UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Modifieds, will be leg number one of the 30th annual Four Crown Nationals, with Saturday’s slate featuring the three National divisions of USAC (United States Auto Club) – Midgets, Sprints and Silver Crown.

Rounding out the weekend will be the Vintage American Race Cars (VARC) with their display and on-track exhibition runs.