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World of Outlaws: Disastrous 'DNFs'

The World of Outlaws will race 75 nights this season. For a driver chasing the season points title, a few bad nights -- on the surface -- does not sound all that damaging. Outlaw driver Joey Saldana, who is chasing Donny Schatz for the circuit's ...

The World of Outlaws will race 75 nights this season.

For a driver chasing the season points title, a few bad nights -- on the surface -- does not sound all that damaging.

Outlaw driver Joey Saldana, who is chasing Donny Schatz for the circuit's season points title, isn't so sure about that.

"We've had four DNFs; that's killing us more than anything," said Saldana, one of the top racers with the Outlaws. "We've had a couple of flat tires; we broke a U-joint with five laps to go, which cost us 42 points; and we were crashed out by our teammate.

"That's racing. Everyone has bad luck. But with the World of Outlaws, there are so many races. Things usually come full circle."

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Despite the lengthy season, which stretches from February to November, there still is little margin for error for the Outlaws as Saldana has experienced so far this season.

Saldana and Schatz -- a three-time series champion -- will headline Friday night's WoO show at River Cities Speedway, where as many as 6,000 fans could turn out to watch the country's best sprint car drivers.

Schatz leads Saldana for the season points lead by 50 points after 26 nights of racing. But the season has a long way to go. When the Outlaws race in Burlington, Iowa, in three weeks, it will mark the halfway point of the season.

"There is quite a bit of racing left," Saldana said.

And Saldana has had quite a bit of success at RCS in his two races at the quarter-mile bullring known for its constant passing and aggressive driving.

Saldana won the WoO inaugural event in 2007 before finishing third last year.

"That's a cool facility," Saldana said of RCS. "It was pretty awesome race (in 2007). We swept that night. We had the quick time, won the heat, the dash and the feature."

But Saldana barely won that feature, holding off Jac Haudenshild by 0.056 seconds -- one of the closest WoO races in 2007.

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"And I had a shot at winning last year, too," Saldana said. "We were coming pretty good at the end."

Schatz, however, won last year's WoO show. Schatz is currently the circuit's top driver as the Fargo driver is shooting for his fourth straight season championship.

"Performance-wise, we're as good as he is," Saldana said. "It's nice we're keeping (Schatz) in check."

But the four DNFs have Saldana sitting in second place, even after winning twice last week in Dodge City, Kan.

There are approximately 15 full-time WoO drivers this season.

Steve Kinser, the WoO 20-time champion, is third in season points while Jason Meyers and Jason Sides round out the top five.

"You never know what can happen (with the Outlaws)," said Saldana, who has 10 wins this season, the most of any WoO driver. "Anyone can win on any given night."

Meet and greet set

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There will be a meet-and-greet session with the World of Outlaws tonight at CanadInns in Grand Forks.

The meet-and-greet will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Fans will be able to meet WoO drivers in addition to local sprint and late model drivers.

WoO autographed posters will be given away and there will be free face painting and balloon art for kids.

WoO tickets and Splasher water park passes at CanadInns also will be given away.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

World of Outlaws

Where: River Cities Speedway.

When: Friday night, time trials at 6:30 p.m., racing, 7:30 p.m.

Ticket prices: Adult reserved $35 ($32 in advance); adult general admission $32 ($30 in advance); children (12-and-younger) $15.

Classes: RCS late models also will race.

Of note: The winner of the 40-lap feature will receive $10,000. Donny Schatz won last year's race.

Related Topics: WORLD OF OUTLAWS
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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