SARVER, Pa. (July 16, 2013) – World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car racing picked up again on the East Coast tonight at Lernerville Speedway for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup twin 30-lap events.
Joey Saldana, a two-time winner at Lernerville and current track record holder, lapped the half-mile track in 12.893 seconds and secured the No. 2 qualifying position.
Saldana, driving the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M Sprint Car, rolled off fourth in the second heat. At the waving of the green flag, Saldana rode the high side to take third following leader Stevie Smith and second place Sam Hafertepe, Jr. There were no changes in the top three throughout the eight-lap heat. The top three plus fourth place finisher Tim Shaffer and fifth place Tim Kaeding all earned a starting spot in the A-Main. Saldana, Smith and Hafertepe, Jr. also earned starting berths in the dash.
Flashback: It is interesting to note that the winner of this heat race, Stevie Smith, won this event driving for Dan Motter in 1995, taking home a $26,000 winner’s share.
After the dash inversion draw, Saldana was consigned to the No. 5 starting position. At the green, Saldana ran low, then switched to the high side, running in sixth position. There was little passing in the event and Saldana finished sixth in the dash, and also started sixth in the first of the twin events.
The first 30-lap event was a traditional format with points awarded according to
World of Outlaws rules, regulations and scoring procedures. When the field broke, Chad Kemenah took the lead. Saldana was fifth, challenged by Brent Marks. Saldana held his line and was able to distance himself from Marks. As the bottom of the race track began to come in, there was a three-wide run for the lead between Jac Haudenschild, Donny Schatz and Chad Kemenah. Haudenschild put a well-timed slide on Kemenah to take the lead. In the meantime, Saldana was challenging Sam Hafertepe, Jr. for fourth place but was unable to make the pass. With 20 laps complete, the red flag was displayed for Stevie Smith who slid over the edge of the cushion and began to flip, ending up against the wall. Smith was okay. At the same time, this year’s Kings Royal winner Brad Sweet lost an engine and came to a stop on the track. After the restart, Schatz took the lead with Haudenschild second. Marks was able to slide by Saldana for fifth but Saldana was able to regain the position. At the checkered flag it was Schatz with the win, Jac Haudenschild second and Sam Hafertepe, Jr. third. Chad Kemenah led laps 1-10, Haudsenchild led laps 11-20 and Schatz led laps 21-30. Saldana finished fifth, his tenth top 5 finish of the season.
For the second 30-lap main, 19 drivers on the lead lap of the first A-Main were inverted and the remainder of the first 30-lap starters filled out the field in order of their finish. There were no World of Outlaws points awarded for this event, but the winner would take home $10,000. The overall winner of the two events would get a $5,000 bonus.
In this event, Saldana was the 15th starter. Pole sitter Jason Sides took the lead at the green flag followed by David Gravel and Craig Dollansky. On lap two, Jack Sodeman stopped on the track bringing out the yellow while Steve Kinser and Lance Dewease headed to the pits. Back to green. While the fans were focused on a three-wide drag race for second place, back in the pack Donny Schatz and Brent Marks made contact sending Marks flipping wildly. The red flag came out with three laps complete. Marks was okay. Back to green. On the restart the running order was Sides, Darrah and Dollansky. Darrah drove by Sides on lap 5 to set up a spirited battle. Sides charged back. Sides got by Darrah when Darrah got stuck behind a slower car, but Darrah was quickly able to regain the lead. Daryn Pittman meanwhile moved to third to challenge Sides, but putting on a real show was Kyle Larson who had come from the last starting position and was riding fifth. With three laps to go, the yellow came out for Danny Holtgraver who stopped on the track. On the restart, it was Darrah, Sides, Pittman,
Swindell and Larson but the red came out when Ed Lynch drove over the cushion in turn two and flipped. In the meanwhile Larson also drove over the cushion and while he was able to recover, he lost four positions. But since a lap wasn’t completed, everyone went back to the previous restart order. As they came around for the green again, it was apparent that Darrah’s right rear tire was very low. And once again before a lap could be completed, Dollansky got sideways and stopped. Back to green finally and Pittman got around Sides for second and came after Darrah. Pittman took the lead and Darrah’s tire disintegrated to bring out the yellow. Kyle Larson had moved to third place but with Darrah out of contention, Larson was now second. The race officially went 31 laps as the field came around for a green, white, checker finish with Pittman winning, Kyle Larson second and Sammy Swindell third. Saldana finished 13th.
Schatz finished seventh in the second A-Main and won the silver cup and the $5,000 bonus for the best overall finish.
The teams had a rugged night and have only two nights before three-in-a-row beginning with a Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Williams Grove and a Sunday event in West Lebanon, N.Y.