Joey Saldana. - Serena Dalhamer Photo
Joey Saldana. - Serena Dalhamer Photo
Joey Saldana. – Serena Dalhamer Photo

From Susan Arnold


McCool Junction, NE — (August 13, 2013) — Netting the pole position for the prestigious World of Outlaws Knoxville Nationals proved to the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M team and driver Joey Saldana that they were headed in the right direction with their new GF1 chassis.


The team was anxious to race at the NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Shootout at Junction Motor Speedway to get more laps on the car and accumulate more tuning data.


The Junction Motor Speedway track record of 13.872 seconds was set last year by Sammy Swindell.  Tonight, 17 drivers eclipsed that record with Daryn Pittman leading the field, setting a new record of 13.586 seconds.


Saldana lapped the 3/8-mile oval in 13.656 seconds, placing him fifth in the qualifying order.


Rolling off third on the grid of the second heat, Saldana came out of the second corner fifth, challenging fourth place competitor Brandon Wimmer.  Kerry Madsen led the pack followed by Kraig Kinser and Paul McMahan.  The track was lightning fast with a very narrow groove and a choppy cushion, making passing very difficult.  The field finished the way they started and Saldana earned a transfer spot to the A-Main.


Following the conclusion of the heat races and again before the A-Main, officials spent time grooming the track in an effort to widen it.  The 71M team made changes on the signature yellow Sprint Car prior to the start of the feature.


In the feature, Saldana was in the 11th starting position. At the green, second place starter Steve Kinser grabbed the lead followed by Justin Henderson, Kerry Madsen, and Donny Schatz.  With three laps complete the leaders had already encountered traffic and were picking their way through slower cars.  In the first half of the event, Kinser and Henderson were racing for the lead until Madsen took second with a slide job to pass Henderson.  Saldana and Sammy Swindell were busy challenging each other, trading 10th position.  With three laps to go, Madsen passed Kinser for the lead but Kinser regained the lead coming off the fourth turn heading for the white flag.  At the checkered flag it was Kinser with the victory, Madsen second and Schatz third.  Saldana finished 10th in the all-green 30-lap feature.


“We missed the fourth qualifying position by one thousandth of a second tonight,” said team owner Dan Motter.  “That would have locked us into a second row starting position in the dash. Instead, we missed the dash and started the A-Main in eleventh position on a track that was very difficult to pass on tonight. There are not many other sports where one thousandth of a second can have such a dramatic impact on your results.”


“There just wasn’t a lot you could do on the track tonight to work your way forward and reel in a lot of the competition,” said Saldana.  “You were just sort of in a hornet’s nest of fast company.  We managed to steal one position to lock in a top-10 finish.”


Next on the agenda is Grand Forks, N.D. where Saldana is a two-time winner.