Barberville, FL — The wait for the 2010 World of Outlaws season opener is finally over, with anticipation at a fever pitch as the best sprint car drivers in the world have converged on Volusia Speedway Park for the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio. Craig Dollansky and Joey Saldana opened the sprint car portion of the event in Victory Lane on Wednesday and Thursday as they geared up for the World of Outlaws three-day lid lifter in the Sunshine State, which begins tonight and runs through Sunday.
For Dollansky, who has won the overall DIRTcar Nationals title in two of the last three years, the win on Wednesday in the event under the All Star Circuit of Champions banner was his fourth career triumph at Volusia Speedway Park. He followed that up with a runner-up finish on Thursday night to earn his 25th career Top-Five finish at the track.
“I’m real happy with this entire team and what we have assembled here,” Dollansky said on Thursday night. “Winning last night (Wednesday) was great for the team. Tonight (Thursday), about 10 laps into it while in lapped traffic the left sideboard (on the nose wing) got knocked off there on a lapped car. To hang on and run second tonight was great. We just have to keep working hard and keep digging.”
Following his win with the All Stars on Thursday, Saldana has won a total of nine times over the year at Volusia Speedway dating back to 2001 and has 30 career Top-Five finishes at the track. He has finished in the Top-Five in six of his last eight starts at the track. He is the second winningest driver at Volusia Speedway Park of the 17 full-time World of Outlaws competitors that will be in action for the next three consecutive days.
“The first two nights, I felt really good,” shared Saldana, after his win on Thursday night. “We didn’t start on the front row. We drew an eight and a five and had to work our way to the front. We passed some really good cars and that’s really good for myself. I feel real comfortable with the new tires and what we have. Now we have three nights to show we learned something these first two days.”
A very stout field of cars was in attendance on Wednesday and Thursday, with the majority of those drivers sticking around for the remainder of the DIRTcar Nationals, the level of competition will continue to be at an all-time high. Dollansky, who pilots the Big Game Treestands Maxim, is confident heading into the three World of Outlaws events, with how strong his car has been. He set fast time on Wednesday night and was third quick on Thursday with over 40 cars taking to the track each night.
“Everyone is coming into these races with everything they have,” stated the native of Elk River, Minnesota. “That’s what this deal is all about. Every team here is here to win the race. It’s been a great start to the season. I can’t thank everyone enough. There is a great group of people behind this race team. My crew has done a great job preparing this team all winter long. We just going to keep after it and hope to get a good start to the World of Outlaws season.”
After winning 20 A-Feature events last year aboard the Budweiser Maxim for Kasey Kahne Racing while finishing third in points in the closest three-way battle in series history, Saldana looks to content for a World of Outlaws championship again in 2010. In addition to winning on Thursday night, Saldana turned in the second fastest lap in time trials of the 41 cars that took to the track, with his team putting a large emphasis on qualifying this season.
“We have a great car,” said Saldana. “We have been working hard at qualifying better, which these first two nights are definitely better than what we did last year down here. We’ve addressed the problems that we had last year and one of those was qualifying and now we just have make sure we don’t have DNF’s (did not finish). We try to do the best we can and bring the best race car we can to the track and hopefully get a good result.”
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off tonight at Volusia Speedway Park and continues with full racing programs on Saturday and Sunday. To purchase tickets online visit: http://www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 386-985-4402. Each ticket purchased is also a free fan pit pass.
Race fans unable to make the annual trek south to Volusia Speedway Park for the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, need not worry. All 12 nights (Feb. 2nd-13th) of the Nationals will air LIVE once again on www.dirtvision.com beginning approximately at 7pm each night.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Goodyear Tires (Official Tire), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, KSE Race Products, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, S&S Volvo; Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Don Ott Racing Engines, Kistler Engines, Shaver Specialties and Speedway Engines; and Chassis Builder’s Challenge participants J&J Auto Racing, Maxim Racing and XXX Race Company.