After putting on a show charging through the field on the Thursday qualifying night before suffering misfortune in the final hand full of laps, The Big Game Treestands #7 team converged on Knoxville Raceway on Saturday for the Super Bowl of sprint car racing, the 51st Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals, as Craig Dollansky made his sixteenth Nationals main event in nineteen attempts.
Since the lineup for the main event was set after Thursday’s event, the Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim accumulated the eighteenth most points to start outside row nine. The initial start would be short-lived as Austin McCarl got upside down in turn 2 but on the second attempt ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ would make his way up to fourteenth by the time the next stoppage came on lap 4. Racing resumed until lap 14 when Kerry Madsen got upside down on the backstretch at which point Dollansky lost one spot but regained it and another position by lap 23 and held the thirteenth spot until the competition caution came with 23 laps to go.
After the only ‘pit stop’ in sprint car racing due to the 50-lap event, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ restarted thirteenth and gained two spots by 14 to go. The remaining circuit would see the Karavan Trailers #7 race into the top-ten and cross the checkered flags in 10th. The strong finish marked the twelfth time Dollansky has finished in the top-ten at the Knoxville Nationals, an accomplishment that moves the Elk River, Minnesota driver up to 6th most all-time tied with Doug Wolfgang and Donny Schatz.
“It’s unfortunate that we had the troubles that we did on the qualifying night,” commented Dollansky. “We were going to be sitting pretty good but it is what it is and that kind of put us in a hole for Saturday night. We had a good car on our qualifying night but didn’t have a very good car on Saturday night and made the wrong tire choice for both segments and kind of maintained and advanced to make some progress. We salvaged a top ten out of it but it wasn’t what we were hoping for this year at the Nationals.”
Racing continues this coming Friday for the Big Game Treestands #7 team as they look to sweep 2011 World of Outlaws competition at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, a track Dollansky raced to victory in the two previous events in June.
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