World of Outlaws–Saldana Holds Off Schatz on Green-White-Checkered Finish to Win Cedar Lake Outlaw Sprint Car Showdown

Saldana Holds Off Schatz on Green-White-Checkered Finish to Win Cedar Lake Outlaw Sprint Car Showdown
Victory is first in team’s 22-year history at Cedar Lake Speedway
NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – July 12, 2015 – Amidst the jubilant victory celebration on Sunday night at Cedar Lake Speedway, the team owner found his driver, embraced him and said thank you. In an impressive 35-lap charge to the checkers, Joey Saldana erased 22 years of frustration for Minnesotan Dan Motter by putting his #71M machine into victory lane at the Wisconsin dirt oval for the first time in World of Outlaws Sprint Car competition.

Winning was far from easy. On a night when red-hot Donny Schatz, already a 20-race winner this season, earned the pole for the feature, Saldana started fourth, quickly grabbed third, then boldly charged past Schatz and into the lead on lap six with a deep run in turns one and two.

Schatz kept the pressure building in traffic until Rico Abreu slid Schatz and came after Saldana. A mechanical issue with two to go forced Abreu out of the affair and put Schatz on Saldana’s tail for a green-white-checkered finish.

While the crowd held its collective breath to see what kind of move Schatz would make to try and sweep the Cedar Lake Outlaw Sprint Car Showdown after winning the opener on Saturday, Saldana would have none of it. He blasted the top side of the 3/8-mile track on the final restart of the race and never looked back, earning his second victory of the season and the 93rd win of his career.

“I don’t think you go out expecting to win, especially when Donny is as good as he is,” said Saldana, of Brownsburg, Ind. “You just go out and race your own race and do the best job you can do. That’s what we did tonight. I had a really good car. I don’t know if I had the best car all 35 laps, but I had a good enough car to win the race. I put my car in the right spot, that’s one thing I haven’t been doing.

“I think if you start to worry about the 15 or the 2 or whoever you’re definitely not going to win. I don’t worry about anybody except Joey and the 71M. I’m either doing a good job or a bad job. It’s easy to do a bad job out here, but tonight we did a good enough job.”

Schatz tried every line possible on the track to close the gap to Saldana, but eventually settled for second place. It was his 12th consecutive race finishing either first or second.

“The driver gave the crew the wrong information, I led the guys down the wrong road on what we needed to do. It’s my fault and I’ll pay the price for it,” said Schatz, a six-time series champion from Fargo, N.D. “I can’t do it over so the nice part is knowing what we needed to do different to be a lot better. That’s the way it goes. Some nights you win them, some you lose them. This team does a phenomenal job. They always do. I thought we had a chance for him, we just couldn’t quite get there. The racetrack changed a little bit different than what I expected. I’ll take the blame for that one and try again on Wednesday in the Brad Doty Classic.”

Danny Lasoski wound up finishing third after some furious charges during the green-white-checkered finish. Brad Sweet was fourth after starting 19th, and Kerry Madsen rounded out the top five.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars kick off the Month of Money on Wednesday night with the Brad Doty Classic at Limaland Motorsports Park then invade Eldora Speedway Friday and Saturday for the Kings Royal weekend.