BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 26, 2013) – Following a three-race season opener in Florida, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series heads West to begin a six-week swing, making its first stop at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas March 6th and 7th, followed by the Wildcat Shootout Presented By NAPA Auto Parts at Tucson International Raceway March 9.
The World of Outlaws schedule is the most aggressive in motorsports, with over 90 events from February through mid-October. Occasionally the sprint cars compete seven times in one week. With this uncustomary two-week break between Florida and the West Coast swing, what do the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 7lM team and driver Joey Saldana do to fill the time?
“Really, I wish we were racing,” confided Saldana from the team’s Brownsburg, Ind.-based race shop. “But when I’m home, I work out consistently at PitFit Training in Indianapolis for an hour and a half each day. I start by doing a 24-minute 5K run to keep my heart rate up for an extended period of time, just to simulate the adrenaline rush under racing conditions. After my heart rate is up, then I continue to train for about an hour with PitFit instructors. I really feel this exercise program is beneficial and translates to better performance on the track. It helps keep you sharp and in good physical condition which is important when you take into consideration how rigorous this racing schedule is.
“Though Davey (Whitworth, crew chief) and I worked together about ten years ago, our 71M team is new and we’re learning to gel,” said the driver known as the ‘Brownsburg Bullet.’ “We have first-class equipment and we are indebted to Dan Motter (team owner) for putting this team together so quickly and giving us new Eagle chassis and a terrific engine program. But as a new team, we don’t have the data that some of the established teams have, so for us, each race is a learning experience and it’s critical to gather all the statistics and knowledge we can. The more track time for us, the better.”
Saldana won at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas in 2011 and draws upon past insight to summarize the conditions at the popular track where the WOO STP Sprint Series will be competing in a doubleheader Wed. and Thurs. nights, March 6 and 7.
“The track is deceiving. It’s a big fast half-mile, but it races pretty technical. You have to have the car under you to be successful and in two nights, you will undoubtedly have two totally different racing surfaces. Communication with your crew chief is essential to get a competitive set-up.
“In our type of racing, if you’re off just a bit, it exaggerates, so it’s critical that I tell my crew chief, Davey Whitworth, everything I feel the car doing so he can make appropriate adjustments.
“Now the Saturday night (March 9) show at Tucson International Raceway is a different story,” continued Saldana. “We raced there in 2006 and 2007 and not since then. So the teams are going there with a blank sheet of paper and we’ll all be pretty much in the same boat just trying to figure out the set-up.
“Another variable the teams are working with this year are the new Hoosier tires. They are great tires, but they grip a little differently from the Goodyears we ran in previous years.
“So to summarize, we have terrific experienced tuning talent, first-class equipment, and we’re just excited to get out and make some laps and race.”
Saldana tallied his eighth top-five finish, placing fourth in 2012 World of Outlaws Sprint Car point standings. He added five victories to his resume, boosting his total to an impressive 83 career wins, placing him seventh in all-time victories for the category.