Joey Saldana. - T.J Buffenbarger Photo

By Susan Arnold


CHICO, Calif. (Sept. 7, 2013) – It was persistence and determination that kept Joey Saldana and the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear Beltline Body Shop team focused on obtaining that elusive race win.  All the hard work and digging deep paid off last night with a victory in the first night of Gold Cup Race of Champions competition that culminated tonight.


Friday night’s win put Saldana atop the provisional leader board in Gold Cup competition.  Both nights of racing were tallied up and the competitor with the best combined finish earned a $5,000 bonus


Joey Saldana. - T.J Buffenbarger Photo
Joey Saldana. – T.J Buffenbarger Photo

On the second night of Gold Cup competition, Saldana qualified second with a 12.429 lap around the quarter-mile high bank.  The track record set in 2009 by the Brownsburg Bullet (10.918 seconds) will stand for another season.


Next on the racing agenda was a series of five heat races.  Saldana started fourth in the second heat.  At the green flag, Dave Lindt drove up over the cushion and flipped bringing out the red.  He was okay. There was a successful restart with Jason Meyers leading the field followed by Craig Stidham, Saldana and Kyle Hirst.  Saldana made a run at Stidham but could not make the pass. In the meanwhile the Bullet was maintaining his position while being challenged by Hirst.  With seven laps complete, caution was displayed for Adam Brenton who stopped on the track.  On the restart, Stidham and Meyers banged wheels as Stidham slid by for the lead.  At the checkered flag, in running order, it was Stidham, Meyers, Saldana and Hirst.  The four drivers transferred to the A-Main and Saldana and Meyers earned starting berths in the dash.


After the dash inversion draw, the Bullet was consigned to the fourth starting position.

Front row starter Daryn Pittman jumped to the lead when the green flew, followed by Andy Forsberg, Sammy Swindell and Saldana. Racing was slowed by one yellow for Shane Stewart who hit the infield tire marker and spun around, hitting the wall.  The order of finish at the checkered flag was Pittman, Forsberg, Swindell and Saldana.


Their dash finish positions would also be the way they would start the A-Main.


Outlaws regulars who missed the A-Main were Jason Sides, Kerry Madsen, Brad Sweet, Chad Kemenah and Rico Abreu.  Donny Schatz and Craig Dollansky used provisionals.


Saldana was looking to equal last night’s performance.  With four career victories at Silver Dollar Speedway, he was looking for five.


At the green flag of the 40-lap A-Main, Pittman took control, followed by Swindell, Forsberg, Jason Meyers and Saldana.  With eight laps complete, Pittman narrowly missed a multi-car incident involving Schatz, Keith Bloom, Kyle Hirst and Bill Rose which brought out the caution.  On the restart, Meyers made a big move and jumped up to second.  Then Allard passed Swindell for third.  With 16 laps complete there was a yellow for Andy Gregg who spun.  On the restart, third place Allard made a huge move to briefly take the lead from Pittman, but Pittman regained the lead.  A four-car incident brought out the yellow again.  Restart order:  Pittman leading, Allard second, Meyers third, Forsberg fourth and Saldana now running ninth. But the green restart at the half-way point of the race morphed into a red flag when Steve Kinser and Shane Stewart made contact sending Paul McMahan upside down and gathering Brad Furr.  Re-rack the field: Pittman, Allard, Meyers, Forsberg and Kaeding with Saldana starting eighth.  Saldana gained a position because Shane Stewart, who was running in eighth, was involved in the accident.  This time when the green flag waved, Meyers passed Allard and Pittman to take the lead.  Kyle Larson also made a banzai pass to move into fourth.  Saldana was running tenth.  Larson improved one more position passing Forsberg but Larson was wrestling with a low tire and Forsberg regained third.  Saldana gained one position and was now ninth. On the white flag lap, Forsberg took second place from Allard and California drivers swept the top 4 finishes:  Jason Meyers was the winner, Forsberg was second, Allard third, Kyle Larson fourth and Daryn Pittman fifth.  Saldana finished ninth.


The Greatest Show on Dirt moves to Antioch, Calif. tomorrow night to end the West Coast swing.