Joey Saldana. - T.J. Buffenbarger Photo

From Susan Arnold


Stockton, CA — (March 24, 2013) — World of Outlaws drivers took to the Stockton 99 Dirt Track tonight for the second time in history to compete in the FVP Western Spring Shootout.

Joey Saldana, who had three quick times to his credit this year coming into this event, shattered the Stockton 13.278-second track record in his Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop 71M and reset it with a stunning 12.869-second blistering lap around the semi-banked 3/8-mile oval. The Brownsburg Bullet was the first and only driver in the 12-second bracket. With this run, Saldana notched his fourth quick time of the season, more than any driver on the 2014 Outlaws circuit.

The distinctive yellow 71M with Saldana at the wheel lined up in the fourth starting position in heat one.  There was very little passing after the competitors completed the first lap.  At the end of eight laps, it was Rico Abreu with a flag-to-flag victory with Saldana finishing fifth, earning a spot in the dash as well as the A-Main.

After the inversion draw, Saldana was assigned the fourth starting berth in the dash.

When the green flew, Bud Kaeding grabbed the lead.  Saldana was able to capitalize on a bobble made by Rico Abreu to slide into second place.  At the end of the six lap event, it was Kaeding with the victory and Saldana with the second place finish.

For the second consecutive A-Main, Saldana would roll off on the outside of the front row.  The packed house provided an electric atmosphere for the start of the 30-lap feature.  When the field was unleashed, there was a side-by-side battle between Saldana and pole sitter Bud Kaeding for the lead. Saldana seized the early lead but with only two laps complete, the yellow was displayed when Brad Sweet, Daryn Pittman and Paul McMahan tangled in turns three and four.  On the restart, Kaeding wrestled the lead from Saldana but before a lap could be completed, Rico Abreu flipped down the backstretch bringing out the red flag.  Abreu was able to walk away from the crash. The lead would revert back to Saldana and he would lead the field down to the green on the restart.

Saldana maintained the lead with Kaeding trying to run him down.  Donny Schatz was on the move and was able to reel Kaeding in.  On lap 7, Schatz took the lead from Saldana.  Racing action was halted for a red flag with 13 laps in the books when Evan Suggs spun in front of Schatz.  On the restart, Saldana got the jump on Schatz to lead lap 14.  At the halfway point, the red was displayed again for an altercation involving

Cody Darrah, Sammy Swindell and Brad Sweet.  All drivers walked away and Outlaws officials declared an open red.

Engines were restarted for the third time as Saldana and Schatz formed the lead of the double file restart.  Saldana took the lead, but another red flag brought the formation down to a single file restart.  Green again and Saldana to the lead again.  The Brownsburg Bullet began to pull away from Schatz until lapped traffic allowed Schatz to catch up.  The battle raged between the two drivers with Saldana driving high and Schatz on the bottom.  Schatz made a calculated move to get past Saldana in traffic, but Kerry Madsen crashed everybody’s party by passing Schatz coming off the final corner.

The finish was Madsen, Schatz, Saldana.

“These races are very hard to win,” said the Brownsburg Bullet.  “I got a gift on a couple of the restarts.  Donny was running the middle and I was running the high side.   Madsen stuck it out on the bottom and got by Donny and me.

“We had good speed in our car tonight, we finished on the podium, and it has been a good solid Saturday night.”

Saldana led laps 1-6 and 14-26.

The Motter Equipment HE&M Saw Beltline Body Shop team will be in Merced, Calif. March 28 and at Silver Dollar Raceway in Chico, Calif. March 29, where the team earned a victory last year.