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Saldana Wins Night 1 in Vegas

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Brian Brown led the way early in Thursday night's FVP Outlaw Showdown presented by Dollar Loan Center at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas, but after some bad luck for Brown, Joey Saldana seized the lead and scored his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season.

The win is the first for Saldana with his new team, Roth Motorsports, and for newly minted crew chief Eric Prutzman.

“I haven’t been doing very good as a driver lately,” Saldana said. “Tonight it was all about staying patient and not doing anything stupid, and I didn’t make any mistakes so we are standing here on the front straightaway.”

The Brownsburg, Ind.-native started the 30-lap feature event in the third position in his Roth Enterprises/HR Livestock No. 83, as Brown led the field to the green in his FVP/Casey’s General Store No. 21.

Brown, who dominated the dash after he started from the pole-position, appeared to be the man to beat in the feature as well.

Saldana slid his way into the runner-up position after he passed second place starter and current series point leader Brad Sweet. Sweet settled into the third position just in front of teammate Daryn Pittman and Jason Johnson.

The top five remained consistent throughout the early part of the race, with Brown pulling out to a substantial lead early. Brown faced his biggest challenge once he approached lapped traffic as it brought second and third to his rear bumper.

Charging his way through the field, Shane Stewart piloted his American Born Moonshine/Eneos Oil No. 2 from his 15th place starting position to crack the top five. Stewart took advantage of the outside line as he gained 11 positions by the time the checkered flag fell. It was good enough for Stewart to claim the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award.

Up front, Brown continued to dominate the feature event until mechanical issues struck the leader on lap 19. With only 11 laps to go, Brown retired from the race handing the lead over to Saldana who had been running second the entire feature.

In a city built around luck and fortunes, it would be Brown’s misfortune that proved to be Saldana’s jackpot. Saldana took the lead on the restart, holding back the Kasey Kahne Racing teammates of Pittman and Sweet who had combined to win four of the first five races of the season.

Saldana stretched his lead on Pittman, who had made his way around teammate Sweet, as the laps winded down. Pittman never could get close enough to the leader to make a move as Saldana led the final 10 laps and claimed his first victory of the season and first since the final night of last season’s Bad Boy Buggies World of Outlaws World Finals.

“It was a great effort by everyone on this Roth Motorsports team,” Saldana said. “We qualified well, heat raced well and everything just went the way it was planned. And, as a driver, you have to be able to finish these things off and I haven’t been doing that.”

Finishing second for the third time this year, Pittman continued Kasey Kahne Racing’s streak of at least one car finishing on the podium.

“We’ll take second, we gave it all we had,” Pittman said. “We got a decent restart to get past Brad (Sweet), but that was all about where I was, the bottom was definitely better.

“The Great Clips guys did a heck of a job…we continue to unload fast race cars and be in the hunt. We have had a lot of really disappointing second place finishes this year but this isn’t one. We will take it as a good night.”

Rounding out the top three was Sweet who only has one finish outside of the top three all season long, which was a fourth place finish last weekend at Cotton Bowl Speedway.

“It’s good when you can say you’re disappointed with third,” Sweet said. “It shows just how good the team has been…I knew if I covered the bottom it was going to be really hard to pass.

“I just have to thank all my guys, Razorback Professional Tools and our new sponsor that just came on board Reibes Auto Parts. Without all those guys this wouldn’t be possible and as long as we are standing on the front stretch, we will be happy.”

The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continues action at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night for the finale of the FVP Outlaw Showdown Presented by Dollar Loan Center double-header.

Joey Saldana Hits Jackpot on First Night of Las Vegas Double Header - World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series News - MRN.com
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