STOCKTON, Calif. – Continuing its swing through the West, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series makes two stops this week in Northern California.
On Friday night, March 22, the Outlaws will uncork their brand of sliding and hard charging ‘elbows up, hammer down’ electrifying driving on the new 3/8-mile Stockton 99 Dirt Track. The highly-anticipated show promises to play to a full house as reserved and box seats have been sold out.
Joey Saldana and the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M team will enter this event second in World of Outlaws point standings. With a heat race and dash win and a second place feature finish on their performance sheet so far this season, the team is actively pursuing their first A-feature win. Owned by Dan Motter who has returned as a car owner after a 15-year hiatus, the 71M team has made its mark as a serious contender for the championship. For a team that didn’t have a tool, an engine, a race chassis or transporter 45 days before the season began, Saldana and his veteran teammates have put in endless hours of work and are excited about having all the ingredients to mix it up with the other challengers.
“There has been a lot of buzz about this new track,” said Saldana. “There is a lot of excitement among the drivers and the fans. This is a first class facility, and we can’t wait to get on the track and put on a good show. We want to meet the fans’ expectations and enthusiasm for our series.
“It will be an advantage to have a seasoned crew chief in a situation like this because we will all be on equal footing as far as a blank sheet of paper and no previous data.
“We have a lot of confidence in our crew chief Davey Whitworth, but drivers and teams will be under a lot of pressure. You’ll only have a few hot laps to get a feel for the dirt surface before qualifying. Communication between the driver and crew chief will be key as well.”
After the conclusion of the inaugural Stockton event, the World of Outlaws teams will pack up and head about 140 miles north to Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico for a Saturday (March 23) show. Silver Dollar has a long history of sprint car racing dating back to 1979.
Saldana has conquered the competition on the high-banked Silver Dollar quarter mile three times, and two of those were Gold Cup Race of Champions victories (2007, 2009). Saturday night’s event is the Mini Gold Cup and Saldana says information gathered during this event will be very valuable when the team returns in September for the Gold Cup.
Saldana has 83 World of Outlaws victories to his credit and is seventh on the all-time win list. Davey Whitworth has notched many victories and is highly regarded as a crew chief.
“Because we’re a new team and a new driver-crew chief combination with a new Eagle chassis and new parts and pieces, we have to build a data base of information for the tuning set-up on different tracks under different conditions,” explained Saldana. “Davey has to get used to the way I am comfortable driving the 71M and tune accordingly. Fortunately he is a quick study. We are running up front and I think we’ll just continue to get better and better.
“We’re anxious for that first victory.”