FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday, February
Joey Saldana Announces Western Plans
- Brownsburg, IN. 02/16/04 …Joey Saldana is focused on competing at the
highest level of sprint car racing in his 17th season behind the wheel of
an 800 horsepower machine. Despite the temporary hiatus of his own racing
team to, "gauge the climate in major sprint car racing once the 2004 season
gets rolling", Saldana has held his foot to the throttle in Red Stauffer's
#2s. Dirt track open-wheel action in Florida is a February tradition, and
Saldana made the most of his Southern stay winning five of the eleven features
he strapped-in for during 'Speedweeks'. Prior to that, the Brownsburg, Indiana
professional racer spent December and January 'down-under' in Australia,
keeping his driving skills precise.
Aided by the off-season that wasn't an off-season,
Saldana has come 'out of the box' hot in the States in Stauffer's "local"
Florida sprinter. Once the Florida racing finished, Saldana figured to be
rideless for prominent upcoming events at Manzanita Speedway (Phoenix, AZ.),
Kings Speedway (Hanford CA.), Perris Auto Speedway (Perris CA.), and Las
Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I can't afford to sit home when there are
races to be raced", said the 31 year-old. "I don't need two weeks of rest
but I didn't have sponsorship to bring my own stuff all the way from Indiana
to the West Coast." Saldana's ride riddle was solved this weekend with an
'eleventh hour' deal. Beginning Friday at Manzanita, Saldana will drive
a Maxim sprinter with Gary Stanton MOPAR engines for the team of Rick Fowzer,
Brian Sperry, and Saldana MotorSports.
The red and yellow #17 is being constructed
at Fowzer's Manteca, CA. race shop by Sperry. The former World of Outlaws
Crew Chief of the Year is now scrambling to make the car as comfortable
for Saldana as possible. "We'll get the frame adjusted to fit the MOPAR
engine, and get 'er painted. Like any driver, Joey has preferences and that's
fine. We want him to be ready to jump in so he can just 'gas the thing'."
Sperry added, "Steve Harris of World Environmental and Energy, myself, and
Fowzer made a deal with Joey to run six races spanning two weeks. Joey's
success in Australia and Florida made us feel like it was worth the money,
the effort and the gamble to do this."
"Finding a sponsor willing to commit to a
winged sprint car operation is hard to do in 2004" said Saldana. "I am a
racer. I have a family and I need to eat, so I need to race. But I can't
hit the road without help, and Brian Sperry, and Rick Fowzer stepped up
on very short notice to make this deal go. Stanton's motor deal is huge,
and Hoosier Tires, and HammerDown! Race Gear are also contributing in unique
Saldana, the son of Indianapolis 500 veteran
'Lil Joe' Saldana, was the 2002 Kings Royal winner, and finished third in
the WoO driver standings in 2003. He won the World of Outlaws A-Feature
in Hanford in September 2000. Saldana plans to drive for Bruce Cox of Altoona,
Iowa, beginning at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, TX, March 12-13.