BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Officials from HE&M Saw announced Tuesday that the band saw manufacturing company will back veteran Joey Saldana as he returns to sprint car action.
Saldana will partner with Ohio car owner Jamie Miller to contest the FAST Championship Series, piloting the Miller Motorsports No. 6 that has been campaigned in recent seasons by Jac Haudenschild.
“It’s a pretty cool deal,” Miller told SPEED SPORT during a Tuesday night phone interview. “People have said that to me, and I’ve laughed and told them, look, I’ve had Jac Haudenschild in my car on and off for the last 15 years, and that’s pretty cool, but Joey and I have been friends for years. His dad drove my grandpa’s car a few times back in the 70s, and we’ve been intertwined and connected for a long time.
“When the opportunity came up to do some racing with Joey, I couldn’t pass up the chance.”
For Miller, the opportunity to bring Saldana onboard came about in part because of a racing helmet that Saldana was eager to add to his collection.
“So what brought this all together … is that Joey has a helmet collection and I had a Jack Hewitt helmet that he wanted in the worst way,” Miller said with a smile. “For the last couple of years, I’ve been texting him pictures of it and teasing him about it. Finally, in December, I asked him if he wanted to go down and run the All Star (Circuit of Champions) races at Bubba Raceway (Park, in Florida).
“We talked about it, and he said, ‘You know what? Why don’t we just skip that and put a deal together to race around Ohio?’ That’s how the discussion came to be, and now here we are.”
Miller was quick to point out that he believes Saldana will be able to bring home plenty of hardware in his cars this year.
“Any time you go to the race track, it doesn’t matter if it’s the guys running at the back of the feature or the guys winning races, all of them think the same thing – that it’d be cool to go win this race or be competitive,” Miller noted. “We’ll look to find some speed right out of the gate, and hopefully from there be able to contend all year long.”
In addition to his FAST duties, Saldana will compete in select 410 sprint car events this season at the wheel of the HE&M Saw-backed No. 17 sprinter, including the 59th annual Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway in August.
Saldana is looking to race roughly 30 times this year. He’ll be getting back behind the wheel for the first time since the World of Outlaws World Finals in November at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, when he drove for Jason Johnson Racing.
HE&M Saw has an 18-year history with Saldana, sticking with him across multiple teams, including the Roth Motorsports No. 83, the Motter Motorsports No. 71, the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 9 and most recently, the Rudeen Racing No. 26.
Now, HE&M Saw moves with Saldana both to Miller Motorsports and to the No. 17, which seeks to tackle selected high-profile sprint car events during the season.
“I have to thank Doug Harris (President of HE&M Saw) for his support; he’s helped me for a long time in sprint car racing and he’s trying to do what he can for me so I can get back on the track,” Saldana said. “We plan to try and run some of the big races, but right now it’s a limited schedule we’re trying to do.”
The FAST Championship Series kicks off on April 6 at Atomic Speedway in Waverly, Ohio.