In sprint car racing no stage shines brighter than Knoxville Raceway. On Saturday, Craig Dollansky and the rest of the World of Outlaws made their first of two visits to the historic half-mile in preparation of the biggest sprint car weekend in the world in August.
Although no rain in the forecast that has plagued the season up to this point, a cloudy, chilly Iowa day great for producing horsepower greeted 42 competitors who signed into the pit area for the Mediacom Shootout. In qualifying the Big Game Treestands #7 was the first car out and put down a solid lap of 14.953 seconds which stuck as 3rd fastest. After earning a transfer spot in heat #3, a six-pill inversion put Dollansky outside of row two for the dash where the MobileStar Maxim advanced two positions to finish 2nd in the 6-lap event.
“We didn’t have a real good car qualifying and actually made it worse come heat race time,” explained Dollansky. “Once we got in the dash we made some changes and had a pretty decent car.”
In the 25-lap A-Main the Aggressive Hydraulics #7 started outside pole. Following a red flag on the opening lap, a complete restart saw Dollansky drag race with Brian Brown down the frontstretch for the lead with Brown taking the spot. The Elk River, Minnesota driver then lost second a couple laps later and ran third before another red flag on lap 3. Following another stoppage on the restart, the Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products backed sprinter began to charge as ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ pounded the highside closing in on Brown and teammate Sammy Swindell who were battling lapped traffic for the lead until a caution with 6 circuits remaining. After racing past Brown on the ensuing double-file restart, Dollansky ran out of laps chasing down Swindell but still took the checkered flag in 2nd to record a 1-2 finish for Big Game Motorsports.
“We made some changes come feature time and had a good car late in the race and were getting better as the race wore on,” commented the driver who earned his fifth top-five finish of the World of Outlaws season. “I wish it would have gone to the checkered flag without that last caution flag as things were going to get interesting. As it was we had a restart and were able to get into 2nd and we can build off of that for when we go back in June and August.”
The Big Game Treestands #7 team will now return to their shop in Princeton, MN before a long stretch of racing out East gets underway this coming weekend with two events at Eldora Speedway in Ohio.