Unsung Heroes: DJ Lindsey – Crew Chief for Craig Dollansky
Each week throughout the season we will provide a Q&A with a team member within the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. This week we chose DJ Lindsey, who is the crew chief for Craig Dollansky.
Name: DJ Lindsey
Hometown: Rubicon, Wis.
Team: Craig Dollansky Racing
Title: Crew Chief
Background: DJ has been a familiar face on the World of Outlaws circuit since 2000. His passion for racing began in high school with stock car racing on the dirt and he fell in love with sprint car racing in the mid-80s when he began crewing for his brother, Dean.
What are your responsibilities for the team?
“I (take part in) everything on the car. I service the motors, drive the truck and trailer, everything. And I work with Craig on the setup. Some guys set the car up and have the driver deal with it, but I like to work with drivers one-on-one.”
Who are some of the other drivers you have worked with during your career?
“I’ve worked with Jason Meyers, Dale Blaney, Jeff Shepard, Jack Hewitt, Danny Smith, Kelly Kinser, Jeff Swindell and several others. I first came on the World of Outlaws tour full-time in 2000 with Dale Blaney.”
How did it all start?
“My brother actually had a car and he drove it. I started working on it. We started doing everything right from the get-go. I never really did like one certain thing like tires. We just did everything.
“We raced throughout Illinois. He raced for a few years and then all those guys raced for him.”
What’s the driving force to keep you chasing sprint cars across the country?
“It’s just the most exciting kind of racing there is. There’s just nothing like that feeling. When you’re standing there on top of that mule like down there at Volusia the other day, when you see your guy fire that thing off into the corner harder than everyone else does, there’s just nothing like that. I can’t describe what that feels like. It’s just unbelievable. It just makes you never want to quit doing it.”
As a crew chief for one of the top World of Outlaws teams, what’s your goal this year?
“One is to win races. We should have won more races last year and we gave a couple up. I would think to do as well in the points as we can do. Obviously to win it, which is not easy. I’ve been close before with Meyers. We finished second a couple of times.”
How hard is it to get that connection between crew chief and driver?
“Even though I never drove (a sprint car), I try to picture me in the car with the helmet on, looking at what he’s looking. And then get connected with how he thinks. Every word they say and how they say it, you listen to every little thing they say and how they say it and then you try to become what they are. You’ve got to think like they do and speak like they do. Next thing you know two is like one.”
What’s your favorite memory of being on the road?
“There’s a lot of them. One that always kind of sticks out is the first year of being on the road with Dale. We went and won the Kings Royal. That was really huge. That was pretty cool to win that big of a race your first year.”
What would you tell the average person what it’s like to be a crew member?
“I could give you an example. Craig and them were gone the week before we got ready to go to Volusia. A routine day for me is 8 to 8 at least. That’s seven days a week. The week before we go to Volusia we had a lot of little things to do. Me and (another crew member) put in 90 hours that week and didn’t even work on Sunday. Sunday morning I got in the truck and drove to Nashville, Tenn., from up here – 945 miles, 15 hours. That’s what you go through. That’s what it is. It’s still different than doing an 8 to 5 boring job.”
If you have a question for a team member within the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, e-mail PR Coordinator Shawn Miller at email@example.com with the person’s name and a question or two. We will do our best to provide inside access from as many people as possible during the 2012 season.