LAS VEGAS (Feb. 6, 2013) –The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars hit the dirt oval in the magnificent Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex on a cold night in the desert, with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour.
Dan Motter, owner of the 71M team, was enthusiastic about some changes their team had made following the season-opening events in Volusia two weeks ago.
“We were able to make some adjustments that we think will improve our performance immediately,” said Motter.
And Dan Motter’s prediction was correct.
Saldana was the number three qualifier for the Outlaws in Vegas, turning his best lap in 14.880 seconds, earning three qualifying points for the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear team.
“The wind plays with the car off two of the turns,” said Saldana, “and you have to be on your toes to keep it pointed where you want it to go. The wind tends to dry out the track and it will continue to change throughout the night.”
Saldana started on the outside of the second row in the third heat and worked the track high and low, trying to find the best racing groove, collecting a fifth place finish to transfer to a spot in the dash and the feature.
In the six-lap dash, Saldana started seventh and finished seventh.
In the feature, once again Saldana started seventh. The gutsy driver continued to drive the track trying to find the fastest groove while in a fierce battle with Tim Kaeding for sixth place. On lap 13 Rick Abreu made contact with Saldana. While Abreu bobbled on the backstretch heading into turn three, Saldana was able to keep the yellow 71M under control and continued to fight for position with the front runners. After the first 12 laps, the race was marred by several yellows with two to three-lap sprints between cautions. At times racing three wide, Saldana continued to fight for position and at the checkered flag, brought the Motter Motorsports car home in the seventh position, capturing his first top ten finish of the season.
“The performance tonight was leaps and bounds better than Florida,” said the driver known as the Brownsburg Bullet. “We qualified well and salvaged a seventh place finish. I am so focused on making sure I convey everything I’m feeling the car do to our crew chief Davey Whitworth. He’s seeing what I’m feeling, so that’s good. I know we will continue to get better.”
Donny Schatz won the feature. Of note was Kerry Madsen’s march through the field. Madsen started last in the feature and worked his way to a fifth place finish.