BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Veteran sprint car racer Joey Saldana is getting into the oil tank business.
Saldana, a winner of 105 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series races, has acquired Godfrey Autosport’s Spike Oil Tank division from John Godfrey. The business will be rebranded under the Saldana Racing banner.
“We’ve been working on it the last two months,” Saldana told SPEED SPORT by phone on Monday morning. “We finally got her done last week to where we can finally say it’s mine and, hopefully, we can make it run.”
The decision for Saldana to acquire Godfrey’s oil tank business comes as the 47-year-old racer winds down his driving career. After only competing in 15 events last season, Saldana said he was looking for a way to remain involved in the racing industry.
“It just seems like 2016 through the last few years it’s just been tough to find a secure ride at a high level,” Saldana said. “I just kind of felt like I’d worked hard to get to that point, running with the Outlaws and that’s really where my heart was and what I want to do. But if I can’t do it the right way…it takes a lot of time and energy and you’ve got to be away from your family a lot. It’s tough. It’s a huge commitment.
“I love racing. It’s all I’ve ever done. My dad raced. I just wanted to be somewhat involved in racing and not be totally out of it. I can’t handle not being a part of racing in some capacity.”
Saldana is no stranger to the parts business. In the past he’s worked for men like Godfrey, Lee Osborne and Donnie Ray Everett, so acquiring Godfrey’s oil tank business seemed like a logical next step for Saldana.
“I kind of talked to John Godfrey about it. He’s talking about retiring. I told him where I was and what I wanted to do and it was just a good fit for both of us,” Saldana said.
Saldana’s list of clients for his new oil tank business is an impressive one. Among them are Spike Chassis, Tony Stewart Racing, Speedway Engine Development, Fisher Racing Engines, HP Engines and Ostrich Engines, to name a few.
“Numerous big-time engine builders were behind me if I did it (bought the business),” Saldana said. “I just felt like it was a good time. The timing was right and having John in your corner, who has already been doing this for a while, and hoping my name can sell some tanks…it’s like well, let’s see if it’ll work.”
So does all of this mean that Saldana, one of the top sprint car competitors in the United States for the last 15 years, is hanging up his helmet? Saldana admits he doesn’t have the answer to that question.
“Paul McMahan asked me that last night,” Saldana said with a laugh. “We got the press release from Brett Anderson and I sent it over to Paul to see what he thought. He said, ‘It’s great, I love it, but do you want people to get the impression that you’re not racing anymore?’ You know, that was a good question he asked me because I love racing and I want to race, but I only ran 15 times last year. I kind of feel like if it’s no racing or 15 races, it’s almost the same thing when you’re accustomed to racing 75 to 100 times a year.
“I think that’s why I want to get into this, just because I can see my future in running with the World of Outlaws is slim to none,” Saldana continued. “It’s getting harder and harder to find a good ride. It’s hard, it’s expensive. The younger guys are coming up. I did my thing when I had my opportunities.
“If I get the opportunity to run a good car like I did last year at the Nationals, I might do something like that. I don’t want to say I’m retiring because man, that’s so definite. I don’t want to be someone that says, ‘Hey, I’m done,’ and then I come back and race again. As of right now, if I don’t race again I don’t race again. I’m happy with what I’ve done and where I’m at.”