Friday, March 8, 2013

Podium Finish for Saldana and 71M Team in Vegas



LAS VEGAS (March 7, 2013) – The desert winds calmed for round two of World of Outlaw STP Sprint Car Racing but the racing heated up as 40 cars vied for 24 starting spots in the final feature in Sin City.

Joey Saldana had another good qualifying effort tonight, guiding the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear car to the number five position with a 14.689-second lap.

The team made a couple of adjustments to the set-up of the 71M before sending the Brownsburg Bullet into action in Heat 1.  

“If we can finish in the top two in our heat, we can make the dash,” said owner Dan Motter to Saldana as he prepared to climb into the race car. “We have a tough heat, though. We start third but we have Tim Kaeding and Kyle Larson in front of us, Lucas Wolfe beside us, and Cody Darrah and Steve Kinser immediately behind us along with Terry McCarl, Greg Wilson, Roger Crockett and Jason Solwold.”

Saldana agreed he would have ‘heat’ all around and then strapped in and pushed off onto the dirt oval.

At the green, Saldana broke well and moved to the second position. Kyle Larson put up a ferocious battle trying to overtake Saldana and the two traded spots while battling for that coveted number two position. Finally, Saldana began to pull away and put a lock on the second place finish position at the checker. His stellar finish earned the 71M team a fourth starting position in the dash and assured them of a starting berth in the feature.

The dash wasn’t free of nail biting moments for the 71M team as there was contact between Saldana and Wayne Johnson coming out of turn two on lap two. Saldana salvaged the contact and had a strong run to a second place finish. To add to the behind-the-scenes drama, the 71M had a hole in the right rear tire after the heat race. World of Outlaws rules require teams to use the same right rear tire in the heat and the dash, so the 71M crew patched the tire for the dash.

Dan Motter paid tribute to his team for doing a masterful job keeping the tire inflated through the six-lap dash.  

The team was able to put on a sticker set of Hoosiers for the front row starting position in the feature. When the green flew, Saldana challenged for the lead then fell back to third, passed for second, then was third at the checker.

“What matters is we’re constantly improving,” said Saldana. “It’s a process. I thought we had a shot at winning, but we are happy with a podium finish. It was a solid effort all night and we were fast all night. You’ve got to run up front before you can win.”

Tim Kaeding won the A-Main and Jason Sides was second.

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