By Susan Arnold: MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (July 20, 2013) – World of Outlaws Summer Nationals competition got underway tonight at Williams Grove Speedway following Friday’s night’s rain out. The Morgan Cup was also on the line with the Outlaws having won one event, and the Pennsylvania Posse one event, heading into tonight’s tie breaker.
Joey Saldana, with a 2002 Summer Nationals victory on his resume, went out about midway in the qualifying order and lapped the half-mile track in 18.441 seconds, putting him nineteenth in the qualifying order.
“The track slowed down through qualifying and there are a lot of us in an uncustomary position in the back of the qualifying order,” said Saldana. “It is going to make for a very interesting night.”
The first challenge of the evening came in the heat race where Saldana started in the fifth position. By the second lap, the Brownsburg Bullet prevailed in a three-wide battle for third place and advanced two positions. He then set off in pursuit of leader Chad Kemenah and second place Greg Hodnett but couldn’t improve. At the end of the eight-lap heat, it was Kemenah with the victory, Hodnett second and Saldana third, all earning starting berths in the A-Main.
It was a tough night for the Outlaws. Paul McMahan and David Gravel started the A-Main with provisionals and Steve Kinser and Kerry Madsen did not earn transfer spots nor could they use provisionals.
Saldana started 19th on the A-Main grid. At the drop of the green Lance Dewease
took the lead and set the pace with Jason Sides, Greg Hodnett and Donny Schatz in hot pursuit and trading places. Soon Sides was passed by Hodnett and Schatz who were
swapping second and third, still trying to run down Dewease. On lap 17, Hodnett took the lead with Dewease and Schatz jockeying through lapped traffic. On lap 27, Schatz took the lead and held on for the win. Hodnett was second and Dewease was third.
Schatz was two for two at Williams Grove, counting the May event. With Schatz’s victory, the Morgan Cup stays with the Outlaws for the third consecutive season and will continue to be displayed at the World of Outlaws headquarters in Concord, N.C. for another year.
On a track that endured yesterday’s rain along with the heat and sun, it was difficult to pass. Saldana finished 18th.
The Motter team will travel to Elbridge, N.Y. for tomorrow’s event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.