Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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A few laps into the race, Joey Saldana began a search to find more speed. He was successful in his search, and it translated into another win for Saldana on the World of Outlaws' trail. Saldana passed Steve Kinser for the lead with 16 laps to go, then held off Jac Haudenschild to win Sunday night's 35-lap WoO feature at River Cities Speedway before an estimated crowd of 4,000 fans. It was Saldana's second WoO win at RCS. The Brownsburg, Ind., driver won the inaugural WoO race in Grand Forks in 2007. "Steve had a great start," Saldana said.
Steve Kinser is getting older, but he's just as fast as ever. The same can be said for Jac Haudenschild and Sammy Swindell. Kinser captured Saturday night's 40-lap World of Outlaws feature at River Cities Speedway before an estimated crowd of 5,000, conquering yet another track in his illustrious sprint car career. The 56-year-old driver from Bloomington, Ind., took the lead with four laps to go, muscling his way past Craig Dollansky on a restart. From there, Kinser pulled away for his 555th career win. The win was a special one for Kinser as well.
Everything was ready to go. But rain put the brakes on Friday night's World of Outlaws racing at the River Cities Speedway. A late-afternoon light rain forced WoO officials to postpone the opening night of the two-day show at the quarter-mile track. Rain began falling around 4 p.m. and officials called the event roughly an hour later. But two race programs are still scheduled. Friday's show will be made up Sunday. Sunday's racing will begin at 5:30 p.m., with hot laps and qualifying beginning at 4:30 p.m. Tonight's racing begins at 7:30. Hot laps and qualifying begin at 6:30.
California driver Jason Meyer likes racing on bullrings, the kind he'll race on tonight when the World of Outlaws compete at River Cities Speedway. "We raced on a lot of bullrings in California and I like them," Meyers said. "But they can be really nerve-wracking, too." And the bullrings -- known in racing circles as small tracks that feature aggressive racing -- can be costly, too. Meyers knows how costly a track like RCS can be. During the Outlaws' feature at RCS last August, Meyers was caught up in a wreck with Mark Dobmeier on the first lap.
Following a crash at Bulls Gap, Tenn., in March, Joey Saldana was told by doctors that his broken left hand would keep him out of a sprint car for six to eight weeks. Two weeks later, Saldana was back racing with the World of Outlaws. The field now is racing to catch Saldana, who leads the Outlaws as they prepare to race Friday and Saturday at River Cities Speedway. "We're hanging in there," said Saldana who led Jason Meyers by 32 points heading into Wednesday night's WoO race in Sedalia, Mo.
At the Knoxville Raceway, Mark Dobmeier is in the running for a season points title. But he won't race at the Iowa track this week. Instead, he'll run with the World of Outlaws on Friday and Saturday at River Cities Speedway. Dobmeier is fourth in season points at Knoxville, but the Grand Forks racer decided to skip Saturday's racing in Iowa to stay home and compete against the country's top sprint car drivers. "We have a lot of loyal sponsors and fans," said Dobmeier, the dominant driver at RCS for the last few years. "We want to stay home and put on a good show for them.
A week from today, presidents from the schools in the Summit League will fly to Chicago for a meeting -- one that is scheduled to take place at O'Hare Airport. UND's application for Summit membership likely will come up at some point, probably just before the boarding calls are made for the league's presidents. "Membership is always on the agenda," Summit commissioner Tom Douple said. But action on UND's membership likely won't follow. Nothing, it appears, has changed recently in UND's application to the Summit.
Admittedly, Dan McNamee didn't come from a racing background.
Since its move to Division I athletics, the search for permanent conference affiliation has been UND's top priority. The Big Sky Conference rarely has been mentioned as a long-term home for UND. The Big Sky, however, has provided UND a glimmer of hope that it could be the school's answer for stable conference affiliation. The league's commissioner, Doug Fullerton, said Thursday that UND is on the Big Sky radar as a possible future member.
The Grand Forks Royals have been together for only three days. But Grand Forks coach Gabe Dahl so far likes what he's seen. "Our pitchers threw strikes and our kids were aggressive," Dahl said. That summed up the season opener for the Royals on Wednesday night at Kraft Field.