Saldana Thrashes World of Outlaws at Tri-City!
By Steve Birmingham
May 15, 2004; Granite City, IL -Joey Saldana dominated Tri-City Speedway's quick half-mile Saturday, grabbing the $10,000 winner's check and posting his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series "A" Main of the season.
Saldana started outside front row for the 25-lap headliner but just as he and pole-sitter Craig Dollansky took the green Kraig Kinser and Erin Crocker farther backinthe pack, with both cars flipping. Both drivers emerged unscathed, but during the resulting red flag Dollansky discovered a broken rear end which sent him tothe pits for repairs.
A complete restart was called for with Paul McMahan inheriting the pole. However, Saldana got the drop on McMahan and blasted into the lead with McMahan, Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser in pursuit. The top four ran that way for several laps with Saldana stretching to a full straightaway lead over McMahan. The top three shook loose of Kinser and ran nose to tail while encountering lapped traffic. The traffic helped Lasoski as he dove below McMahan in turn two for second and his run at the leader. Two laps later Kinser sailed past McMahan for third, but it was over but the crying as Saldana stretched out to a 10-length lead at the checkers.
Chasing Saldana home were Lasoski, Kinser, McMahan, Jason Meyers, Brian Paulus, Brooke Tatnell, Tim Shaffer, Donny Schatz and Jason Sides.
"I cant thank Larry Woodward enough for giving me an opportunity to race with these guys," Saldana said in Victory Lane. "This teams done a great job. Mike Cool, Mike Briggs and Dave Brzozwski have worked really hard and the Charlie Fisher motors are running great. This is the third car Ive run on the Outlaw tour this year and its really fulfilling to know that I can still get the job done. I knew those guys were back there, but the traffic was really tight. Cars were weaving all over the place on the straightaways and I didnt want to do anything stupid to throw away a good finish."
Thirty cars took Time Trials with Steve Kinser setting quick time with a 16.497 tour around the flat half-mile.The qualifying heats were won by Danny Smith, Donny Schatz, and Jason Meyers. The first Dash was won by Dollansky with Saldana taking the second Dash. Brandon Wimmer won a crash-strewn "B" Main that saw Tom Busch and Brian Carlson collide on the front stretch while passing a slowing Mark Siciliano. Both cars went airborne, shedding parts all over the straightaway but both drivers escaped unhurt.
Brad Loyet won the 20-lap Micro Sprint Main with a stunning last lap move over challenger Travis Senter, Jr.
Loyet started on the pole by virtue of his first heat win and quickly moved to a 10-length lead over the field on tri-City's tight, quarter-mile bullring. Senter, starting deep in the pack, raced to the front and by lap three was dogging Loyet for the point.
Senter tried the leader low through the turns for several laps before finally making it stick in three. With half the distance to go Senter started putting lapped traffic between himself and Loyet. As the pair raced down the backstretch on the last lap Loyet got around Senter, just barely touching him. Once in turn three Senter made a daring attempt low but instead bounced off the leader and spun to the infield. Chasing Loyet at the checkers were Gary "Bubba" Altig, Clayton Robertson, Derreck King and Travis Senter, Sr.
Loyet, from St.Louis, thanked his dad, Joe Loyet, his crew and sponsors in Victory Lane and said it was tough one to win.
"We were really on it," Loyet said. "Senter was giving me a run for my money there but I couldn't let him take it from me, not here at home. We worked real hard and were watching the track and changing ht etires and shocks, and we hit right there in the feature. The car ran good all night."
The qualifiers were won by Loyet, Lance McKinney, Altig and Robertson; Tom Dickerman won the first B Main with Joey Boyd winning the second.