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Joey Saldana earns first Wayne County All Star victory since 1999
ORRVILLE, OH (July 1, 2017) - Despite 18 years separating Joey Saldana from his last visit to Wayne County Speedway, the result remained the same; a victory against the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
Saldana, aboard the Indy Race Parts/No. 71, led 15 of the 30 circuits on Saturday night to claim the $5,000 winner’s share at Orrville’s Historic Oval, utilizing a lap 16 restart to slingshot underneath early race leader, Chad Kemenah. The victory, his first Arctic Cat All Star victory since 2014 at Volusia Speedway Park, increased Saldana’s overall Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions win count to 72, five of which at Wayne County Speedway which ties “The Brownsburg Bullet” with Sheldon Haudenschild for the most all-time.
Lockbourne, Ohio’s Cole Duncan charged from seventh to finish second at Wayne County Speedway, followed by Chad Kemenah, Ryan Smith and pole-sitter Dean Jacobs.
“This just goes to show how important it is to be around a great team,” Joey Saldana explained in victory lane. “Sprint car racing is really tough, and it is really easy to get down on yourself. Tonight just goes to show that it’s not just you, it’s a whole team, and tonight I had a whole team. I raced with the All Stars for a long time. It was the feeding ground for the World of Outlaws. Racing with this Series did a lot for me. Luckily for me I was lucky enough to take that next step and move forward.”
Before Saldana made his winning move on lap 16, it was all Dean Jacobs and Chad Kemenah at the front of the running order. Despite a number of cautions halting action, one of which during the opening green resulting in a four car pile-up, Jacobs and Kemenah battled relentlessly, racing side-by-side nearly all the way around Wayne County Speedway.
Jacobs led the first six circuits officially, ultimately losing the lead to Kemenah on lap seven, only to regain control again to officially lead laps eight through 11. Kemenah drove back under Jacobs at the entrance of turn three to solidify himself back on top of the field on lap 12, only to be halted by red flag conditions on lap 13, and another caution on lap 16. By that point, Saldana had already worked his way into second, now setting his sights on the five-time and defending Arctic Cat All Star champion.
When green flag action returned, Saldana chased Chad Kemenah into turns one and two, ultimately setting up a drag race through turn three where Saldana would drove under the Hunter Racing/Seneca Energy/DKW Transport/No. 10H. From that point forward, “The Brownsburg Bullet” was the show, and despite one more caution pausing his momentum, Saldana would pull ahead to win by 3.3 seconds.
“It feels really good to be back here, and to be tied with Sheldon Haudenschild is pretty cool,” Saldana said. “He’s the next best thing in sprint car racing. He has a lot of talent.”
The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will continue competition on Saturday evening, July 8, with a visit to Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio; the second and final visit by the Arctic Cat All Stars in 2017, as well as the 100th overall appearance since the Series first made the trek to Hartford in 1970.
The 9th Annual Lou Blaney Memorial, honoring the late National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, will headline competition at the state-of-the-art facility on Saturday evening. The Arctic Cat All Stars will battle for a $5,000 top prize.
Sharon Speedway will open gates at 3:00pm on Saturday, July 8. Racing will hit the 3/8 -mile oval at 7:00pm, sharp. Those seeking additional news and notes should visit Sharon Speedway live on the Web at www.sharonspeedway.com.
Contingency Awards/Results: Wayne County Speedway - Saturday, July 1, 2017:
Group ( C )
Heat #1 - Group (A) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
Heat #2 - Group (B) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
Heat #3 - Group ( C) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
Heat #4 - Group (D) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
Dash #1 (4 Laps)
Dash #2 (4 Laps)
B-Main (12 Laps) - Top 4 Transfer
A-Main (30 Laps)
Current Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Standings (July 1, 2017):
Additional Arctic Cat All Star Series Info: