Despite 18 years separating Joey Saldana from his last visit to NAPA Wayne County Speedway, the result remained the same; a victory against the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions. The victory, his first Arctic Cat All Star victory since 2014, increased Saldana's overall Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions win count to 72, five of which at NAPA Wayne County Speedway which ties "The Brownsburg Bullet" with Sheldon Haudenschild for the most all time at 'Orrville's Historic Oval'. Lockbourne Ohio's Cole Duncan charged from 7th to finish second 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's 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 the 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 the 3/8 mile oval. Jacobs led the first 6 circuits officially, ultimately losing the lead to Kemenah on lap 7, only to regain control again to officially lead laps 8 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 5 time and defending Arctic Cat All Star champion. When green flag action returned, Saldana chased Kemenah into turns one and two, ultimately setting up a drag race through turn three where Saldana would drive under Kemenah's ride.
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.''
All other class' were battling for Mid Season championships and for the Kar Connection Super Late Model feature, J R Gentry would blast into the lead from his pole starting position and set the pace for the opening 8 laps when he suffered a flat tire, sending him to the pits for a new one and putting him on the tail. Wooster's Doug Drown would inherit the lead from his 5th starting slot. Despite a couple of cautions sprinkled throughout the rest of the feature, Drown and his Hall's Auto Sales, Kar Connection and ABR Farms #240 would pull away for his second win of the season.
The battle for the rest of the top five saw two, 2 car battles going on as Ryan Markham and Jim Nicely consistently went back and forth for second the last half of the race. With the white flag out, Nicely lead Markham into turn one after some contact, Nicely spun but Markham was charged with the caution for making Nicely spin. Nicely got his spot back and would finish as the runner up. Larry Bellman and Ben Mott had their own race going for 4th with Allan Baker right behind. Bellman and Mott would slip out of the top five as Gentry worked his way back to third and Baker would power past with four laps to go to secure fourth. Al Farriss would motor past both Bellman and Mott with three laps to go to claim 5th. Heat winners were Bellman and Gentry.
Jordan James would lead the opening lap of the Lowes Super Stock feature and then it was all Kyle Moore. The early part of the race was marred by several caution but the last six laps went clean as the Arnold Motorsports, Moore Motors and Tye Twarog racing #11 would hold off the challenges of fellow Mansfielder, Bob Daugherty, as Moore posted his 1st NAPA Wayne County Speedway win. James would finish third with Gary Hensel Jr. taking 4th and Brandon Craver claiming 5th in his first night out. Moore and Hensel Jr. posted the heat wins.
Starting ninth, Smithville's Brad Hensel quickly moved up to the point in less than four laps of the WQKT 104.5 Mini Stock main and park the JoyRide Transportation and DJ Directional Services #28 in the Summit Racing victory circle for the third time this season. Corey Staley started 21st and picked his way through the pack and grabbed second with three lap to go to finish second while Michael Stewart, Dustin Bedlion and Colin Slykhuis filled out the top five. Heat wins were claimed by Justin Cranmore, Brad Hensel and Wes Staley.
Racer's were once again chasing after awards and prizes thanks to the Contingency Connections Racer Rewards program.
Action continues next Saturday night, July 8th with the second week end of the Attica Raceway Park/NAPA Wayne County Speedway Super Late Model Series while the Fisher Performance Sprints will race for their Mid Season championship. The Lowes Super Stocks and the WKQT 104.5 Mini Stocks will also be on the racing card.
Go to www.waynecountyspeedway.com for more info on the track.
ARCTIC CAT ALL STAR CIRCUIT OF CHAMPIONS & OHIO SPRINT CAR SERIES SPRINTS
Fast Qualifier Cole Duncan 14.621 seconds
Heat 1 Dean Jacobs, Joey Saldana, Ryan Smith, Andrew Palker, Jordan Harble, Mitch Harble, Dan Kuriger, Brandon Matus, Nate Reeser, Tyler Dunn
Heat 2 Brandon Spithaler, TJ Michael, Trevor Baker, Ryan Myers, Tyler Esh, Brent Matus, Josh Davis, Clay Riney, Kris Davis
Heat 3 Max Stambaugh, Jordan Ryan, Lee Jacobs, Sean Zemunik, Caleb Helms, Brad Haudenschild, Troy Kingan, Jordan Mackison, John Garvin
Heat 4 Danny Mumaw, Chad Kemenah, Caleb Armstrong, Cole Duncan, Danny Smith, Nick Patterson, Hunter Mackison, Dylan Kingan, Jarrett Gerber
Dash 1 Dean Jacobs, Brandon Spithaler, Danny Mumaw, Cole Duncan, Andrew Palker
Dash 2 Chad Kemenah, Joey Saldana, Jordan Ryan, TJ Michael, Max Stambaugh
B-Main Mitch Harble, Dan Kuriger, Brandon Matus, Jordan Mackison, Tyler Dunn, John Garvin, Nick Patterson, Josh Davis, Hunter Mackison, Nate Reeser, Troy Kingan, Clay Riney, Brent Matus, Kris Davis, Jarrett Gerber, Brad Haudenschild, Dylan Kingan
Feature Joey Saldana, Cole Duncan, Chad Kemenah, Ryan Smith, Dean Jacobs, Caleb Armstrong, Lee Jacobs, Danny Mumaw, Max Stambaugh, Tyler Esh, Caleb Helms, Jordan Mackison, Sean Zemunik, Mitch Harble, Brandon Matus, Brandon Spithaler, TJ Michael, Jordan Ryan, Andrew Palker, Ryan Myers, Danny Smith, Jordan Harble, Trevor Baker, Dan Kuriger
KAR CONNECTION SUPER LATE MODELS
Heat 1 Larry Bellman, Allan Baker, Al Farriss, Ben Mott, Brett Bee, Randy Davis, Cody Scott, Charlie Duncan, Thomas Baker
Heat 2 JR Gentry, Doug Drown, Jerry Aber, Jim Nicely, Nate Potts, Ryan Markham, Blaine Aber, Andrew Myers
Feature Doug Drown, Jim Nicely, JR Gentry, Allan Baker, Al Farriss, Ryan Markham, Larry Bellman, Ben Mott, Brett Bee, Thomas Baker, Jerry Aber, Blaine Aber, Nate Potts, Cody Scott, Andrew Myers, Randy Davis dns, Charlie Duncan dns
LOWES SUPER STOCKS
Heat 1 Kyle Moore, Bob Daugherty, Paul Holmes, TA Perrine, Tod Bevilacqua, Don Rutt, Todd Gallion, Jamie Gibbs, Steve Ott
Heat 2 Gary Hensel Jr., Jordan James, Jon Preston, Brandon Craver, Tyler Nicely, Chris Albright, Richard Grogg, Trae Schonauer, Ryan Tope
Feature Kyle Moore, Bob Daugherty, Jordan James, Gary Hensel Jr., Brandon Craver, Tyler Nicely, Trae Schonauer, Tod Bevilacqua, Chris Albright, Richard Grogg, Jon Preston, Steve Ott, Jamie Gibbs, Paul Holmes, Ryan Tope, TA Perrine, Todd Gallion, Don Rutt dns
WQKT 104.5 MINI STOCKS
Heat 1 Justin Cranmore, Dustin Bedlion, Randy Gibson, Brianna Hensel, Taylor Mazzoleni, Jim Burns, Eugene Arkenburg, Zain Dick, Clayton Evans, Jessica James
Heat 2 Brad Hensel, Sean Rush, Colin Slykhuis, Brent Boreman, Jeff Slykhuis, Gary Lewis, Doug Hensel, Johnny Bruce Jr., Lance Smith
Heat 3 Wes Staley, Michael Stewart, Buzz Bender, Dustin Smith, Wayne Newberry, Johnny Bruce Sr., Corey Staley, Katie Sams, Keith Rush
Feature Brad Hensel, Corey Staley, Michael Stewart, Dustin Bedlion, Colin Slykhuis, Brent Boreman, Dustin Smith, Jessica James, Zain Dick, Clayton Evans, Buzz Bender, Brianna Hensel, Randy Gibson, Taylor Mazzoleni, Eugene Arkenburg, Wes Staley, Sean Rush, Jim Burns, Justin Cranmore, Wayne Newberry, Gary Lewis, Katie Sams, Johnny Bruce Sr. dns, Johnny Bruce Jr. dns, Jeff Slykhuis dns, Doug Hensel dns, Lance Smith dns, Keith Rush dns