LOOKING BACK: Saldana’s Triumphant Gold Cup

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Joey Saldana, seen here in 2018, won the 2009 Gold Cup Race of Champions with a last-lap pass. (Jacob Seelman photo)

SPEED SPORT has been reporting on and covering motorsports happenings from all over the world for 85 years, so we thought it would be fun to take a look back in the archives to see what happened 10, 25 and 50 years ago each week.

So check out what SPEED SPORT was covering 10, 25 and 50 years ago this week in Looking Back!

10 Years Ago (Sept. 16, 2009): Joey Saldana led only one lap of the 56th Gold Cup Race of Champions, but it was the most important one. Driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, Saldana passed Jason Sides on the last lap to earn a $50,000 victory at Silver Dollar Speedway. It was his 17th victory of the World of Outlaws season and the 56th of his career. A restart on the 29th lap led to an 11-lap shootout, with Saldana using a run on the top in turn four to slingshot his way around Sides and beat him to the finish line.

Other Happenings: Ohio’s Bart Hartman won the prestigious World 100 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, earning more than $42,000; Denny Hamlin put together a dominant performance to win the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at his home track, Richmond Int’l Raceway; Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing signed a letter of intent to merge the two teams for 2010; Tony Stewart won the Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt late model race at his own track, Eldora Speedway.

25 Years Ago (Sept. 14, 1994): Rookie Jacques Villeneuve outran Al Unser Jr. to earn his first victory in the PPG Indy Car World Series at Road America. Paul Tracy started from the pole and led 35 laps, but engine problems sidelined him. Villenueve, meanwhile, shot by Tracy and Unser to take the lead during a restart on lap 36 and never looked back. Unser, meanwhile, played it safe and crossed the line second to clinch the PPG Indy Car World Series championship for Roger Penske.

Other Happenings: Terry Labonte came out on top of a lengthy battle with Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace to win the Miller Genuine Draft 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway; Billy Moyer won the World 100 at Eldora Speedway for the third time, earning $27,000; Dave Darland won the inaugural Non-Wing Sprint Nationals at Lincoln Park Speedway; Kenny Wallace picked up the NASCAR Busch Grand National win at Richmond; Damon Hill won the Italian Grand Prix.

50 Years Ago (Sept. 17, 1969): Richard Brickhouse won the inaugural running of the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway as most of NASCAR’s top stars sat out the race after the Professional Drivers Ass’n boycotted the track for safety reasons. Brickhouse resigned from the PDA in order to compete, taking over the No. 99 Dodge that was originally going to be driven by Charlie Glotzbach. He earned $25,450 for his win. Meanwhile, drivers from the PDA who chose not to race were told by NASCAR’s Bill France they would be required to post a sizable bond before being allowed to race again.

Other Happenings: Dan Gurney won a USAC National Championship 200-mile event at Donnybrooke Int’l Speedway, with Don White picked up a victory in USAC Stock Car action at the same track; Ken Rush won the first race run at Alabama Int’l Motor Speedway, winning the NASCAR Grand Touring ’Bama 400; Sonny Strupp snapped a five-year drought win a win at Orange County Fair Speedway; Harry Peek won thee New York State Late Model Championship Race at Fonda Speedway.