Saldana Claims $50,000 First Prize at Kings Royal By Richard Day ROSSBURG, OH (July 20) – Joey Saldana drove the race of his life Saturday at Eldora Speedway to win the event he dreamed of winning for six years. “This is really unbelievable,” Saldana said after claiming the $50,000 first prize at the 19th Annual Kings Royal. “I was running the Mopar car here the year my friend, Johnny Herrera, won this race, and I thought, ‘man, it would really be something if I could get one of those some day.’ Tonight, we were able to get it done.”
Saldana, who set quick-time and started inside the fifth row, drove his family’s #17 Eagle Raceway/HEM Saw Eagle past Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Danny Lasoski late in the 20th lap en route to his third “A” Feature victory of the season. Ironically, Saldana’s Kings Royal victory came six years to the day after Herrera’s.
“I apologize for not doing doughnuts like P.J. (Chesson) did (during the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway), but I’m a lot more mellow person than he is,” Saldana said. “I really do appreciate this win tonight.” Speed Channel taped the event for a telecast scheduled for September 5th at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
Lasoski, who won the Second O’Reilly Auto Parts Dash, passed pole-sitter Kasey Kahne as the green flag fell in the 40-lap main event. Jac Haudenschild and Steve Kinser, who have combined for seven Kings Royal victories, crashed with Paul McMahan in the second corner, however, nullifying the original start.
“The Dude” drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart’s #20 J.D Byrider Eagle into the lead as the green flag replaced the red. Shane Stewart and Saldana passed Kahne during the opening lap. Saldana continued his run to the front the next time around, passing Stewart in the low groove between turns one and two. Saldana was 12 car-lengths behind Lasoski when the leaders entered lapped traffic five laps into the race, but caught him in dense traffic three laps later. Stewart lost third place early in the 14th lap when he spun to avoid the flipping Phil Gressman. Brian Paulus, who was running fifth, suffered a damaged top wing in his own wall hitting shunt.
Defending Kings Royal champion Mark Kinser steered the #5M Mopar Maxim to the lowest point in turn three to pass Kahne for third place soon after the race resumed. “The Wild Child” crashed with Kenny Jacobs and provisional starter Stevie Smith in the second corner early in lap 16.
Donny Schatz, who drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J past 13 cars in the first 16 laps, passed Tim Shaffer and Craig Dollansky to take over sixth place as the green flag replaced the yellow. Schatz passed Paulus deep in turn two the next time around. Saldana, who caught “The Dude” early in the 20th lap, passed him in the low groove in the third corner and slid in front of him in turn four. Mark Kinser surrendered third place several seconds later when a flat tire caused him to hit the turn-two retaining wall. Paulus and Greg Hodnett collided trying to avoid Kinser.
Saldana opened a full straightaway advantage within four laps, only to have Lasoski narrow the gap to four car-lengths by lap 29. “The Dude” lined up behind Saldana after Stewart spun in front of them in the second corner two laps later.
Dollansky, who set Eldora Speedway’s qualifying standard and won the “A” Feature April 13th, eluded Daryn Pittman early in the 32nd lap and passed Schatz for fourth place one lap later. Dollansky continued his run toward the front with 1 2/3 laps remaining, claiming third place when Kahne bounced off the wall in turn two. Schatz passed the NASCAR Busch Grand National racer for fourth place late in the final lap.
Saldana took the checkered flag as Lasoski raced into the third corner. “We started off good with quick time, and then I drew a six for the dash (inversion), and that put a lot of good cars back in front of us,” Saldana said. “When we ran here in June, I ran over a lapped car and last night I just didn’t do a good enough job to get the win. But when I got to second so quickly tonight, I knew I had to take advantage of it, because you don’t get opportunities like that all the time. I just put my car up on the high side, because that’s what I thought the fans wanted to see, and this race track was great tonight.”
Dollansky finished in third place, ahead of Schatz, Kahne, Pittman, Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, 19th-starting Chad Kemenah and Tim Shaffer. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will continue its annual “Month of Money” Tuesday with the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway and a triple-program event at Williams Grove Speedway Thursday through Saturday. WoO 2002
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series 19th Annual Kings Royal Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH Saturday, July 20, Feature Program #42
Qualifications: 1. Joey Saldana, Saldana 17, 13.043; 2. Greg Hodnett, Apple 12, 13.146; 3. Brian Paulus, P and P Motorsports 28, 13.198; 4. Craig Dollansky, Karavan Racing 7, 13.231; 5. Danny Wood, Parsons 6, 13.280; 6. P.J. Chesson, Chesson 76, 13.290; 7. Chad Kemenah, Harble 15K, 13.300; 8. Butch Schroeder, Courtad 9x, 13.320; 9. Steve Kinser, Kinser 11, 13.331; 10. Mark Kinser, Kinser 5M, 13.334; 11. Jac Haudenschild, Forbrook 5, 13.336; 12. Daryn Pittman, Sher-Don Motorsports 21, 13.342; 13. Tim Shaffer, Roth 83, 13.345; 14. Danny Lasoski, Stewart 20, 13.352; 15. Kasey Kahne, Durst 51, 13.379; 16. Shane Stewart, Holbrook 8H, 13.384; 17. Phil Gressman, Miller 2x, 13.401; 18. Kenny Jacobs, Jacobs 6K, 13.416; 19. Paul McMahan, Johnson U2, 13.418; 20. Sammy Swindell, Roth 83jr, 13.422; 21. Jeff Swindell, Goodson 6S, 13.483; 22. Donny Schatz, Schatz 15, 13.493; 23. Kraig Kinser, Kinser 11K, 13.498; 24. Brad Furr, Furr 2, 13.522; 25. Todd Kane, Kane 78, 13.525; 26. Randy Hannagan, TH Racing 1x, 13.553; 27. Jeff Shepard, Ashworth 92, 13.567; 28. Stevie Smith, Helm 11H, 13.610; 29. Brandon Wimmer, Two Winners Racing 7TW, 13.645; 30. Ed Lynch, Jr., Lynch 2L, 13.649; 31. Dean Jacobs, Baker 34, 13.740; 32. Travis Rilat, Archer 1A, 13.788; 33. Mark Smith, Smith 22M, 13.800; 34. Dale Blaney, Andrews 72, 13.810; 35. Toni Lutar, Lutar 4x, 13.874; 36. Raymond Shank, Shank 7x, 14.115; 37. Tim Kuhn, Kuhn 2$, 14.273.
First Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Brad Furr, 2. Steve Kinser, 3. Shane Stewart, 4. Joey Saldana, 5. Phil Gressman, 6. Brandon Wimmer, 7. Mark Smith, 8. Tim Kuhn, 9. Butch Schroeder, 10. Todd Kane. (first five qualified for the “A” Feature)
Second Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Kenny Jacobs, 2. Mark Kinser, 3. Greg Hodnett, 4. Kraig Kinser, 5. Kasey Kahne, 6. Chad Kemenah, 7. Randy Hannagan, 8. Dale Blaney, 9. Ed Lynch, Jr. (first five qualified for the “A” Feature)
Third Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Donny Schatz, 2. Danny Lasoski, 3. Paul McMahan, 4. Jac Haudenschild, 5. Brian Paulus, 6. P.J. Chesson, 7. Jeff Shepard, 8. Dean Jacobs, 9. Toni Lutar. (first five qualified for the “A” Feature)
Fourth Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Sammy Swindell, 2. Tim Shaffer, 3. Daryn Pittman, 4. Jeff Swindell, 5. Craig Dollansky, 6. Danny Wood, 7. Stevie Smith, 8. Travis Rilat, 9. Raymond Shank. (first five qualified for the “A” Feature)
First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Kasey Kahne, 2. Tim Shaffer, 3. Jac Haudenschild, 4. Steve Kinser, 5. Joey Saldana, 6. Phil Gressman, 7. Brian Paulus, 8. Paul McMahan. (finish determined the inside starting positions for the first eight rows in the “A” Feature)
Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Danny Lasoski, 2. Shane Stewart, 3. Mark Kinser, 4. Greg Hodnett, 5. Daryn Pittman, 6. Craig Dollansky, 7. Kenny Jacobs, 8. Sammy Swindell. (finish determined the outside starting positions for the first eight rows in the “A” Feature)
B Feature (12 laps): 1. P.J. Chesson, 2. Danny Wood, 3. Randy Hannagan, 4. Chad Kemenah, 5. Stevie Smith, 6. Jeff Shepard ($500); 7. Travis Rilat ($450); 8. Brandon Wimmer ($400); 9. Dean Jacobs ($350); 10. Mark Smith ($300); 11. Raymond Shank ($250); 12. Toni Lutar ($200); 13. Todd Kane ($200); 14. Tim Kuhn ($200). (first four qualified for the “A” Feature)
A Feature (40 laps): 1. Joey Saldana  ($50,000); 2. Danny Lasoski  ($12,000); 3. Craig Dollansky  ($7,000); 4. Donny Schatz  ($5,000); 5. Kasey Kahne  ($4,000); 6. Daryn Pittman  ($3,500); 7. Steve Kinser  ($3,000); 8. Sammy Swindell  ($2,500); 9. Chad Kemenah  ($2,250); 10. Tim Shaffer  ($2,000); 11. P.J. Chesson  ($1,950); 12. Randy Hannagan  ($1,850); 13. Kraig Kinser  ($1,700); 14. Brad Furr  ($1,600); 15. Jeff Swindell  ($1,550); 16. Danny Wood  ($1,550); 17. Shane Stewart  ($1,450); 18. Stevie Smith  ($1,450); 19. Mark Kinser  ($1,350); 20. Brian Paulus  ($1,300); 21. Greg Hodnett  ($1,275); 22. Kenny Jacobs  ($1,250); 23. Jac Haudenschild  ($1,225); 24. Phil Gressman  ($1,200); 25. Paul McMahan  ($1,200).
Provisional starter: Stevie Smith
Lap leaders: Danny Lasoski 1-19, Joey Saldana 20-40 WoO