Saldana Joins Short List Of WoO Contenders
CONCORD, N.C. – All Joey Saldana wanted was to show some improvement on the race track this season.
He just had no idea it would be so much, so soon.
Saldana, a veteran World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver for Motter Motorsports, thought his team made solid progress late last year.
They’d become pretty strong at season’s end – even winning a race – but nothing like what the No. 71m car has accomplished this season. Three wins and 12 fastest qualifying times through May 23 put Saldana second in the standings, a single point behind defending champion Daryn Pittman.
“I’m very surprised, honestly,” Saldana said. “I know a lot of the bigger teams have a lot of engines. We have four engines. One is three years old. It’s not like we’re out spending half a million dollars on an engine program. We’re just taking what we have, refining it, and being competitive.”
Saldana’s no stranger to winning races, though.
He won 20 events for Kasey Kahne Racing, one of the series’ premier teams, in 2009. After KKR and Saldana went in different directions prior to 2013, Saldana found himself with a team aching to reach the top of the sprint-car mountain. It reminded Saldana of when the 42-year-old Indiana native was an eager young driver ready to prove his worth.
“Maybe this style of team just suits me better,” Saldana said. “We’re low key, we don’t really get a lot of exposure unless we run really well like we have been. This type of team is the type I’ve been with a lot. I’m the type of old-school racer who does things like my dad (former IndyCar and sprint car driver Joe Saldana). Whatever you accomplish, you do it on the track and you let your racing do the talking for you.”
Saldana’s performance speaks volumes. Things have come together for Motter Motorsports, one of the throwback World of Outlaws teams. They don’t have the budgets afforded to big-name organizations like KKR or Tony Stewart Racing.