2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Craig Dollansky Concord, NC -- Jan. 25, 2007 -- With how strong he was running at the end of 2006, Craig Dollansky did not want to see the season come to an end. He was one of the most consistent drivers down the...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Craig Dollansky
Concord, NC -- Jan. 25, 2007 -- With how strong he was running at the end of 2006, Craig Dollansky did not want to see the season come to an end. He was one of the most consistent drivers down the stretch and finished a career best second in points when the checkered flag dropped on the World of Outlaws season October 28 in Las Vegas.
The native of Elk River, Minnesota won a career best six World of Outlaws A-Feature events last season along with two preliminary features. On top of that, he racked up an impressive 33 Top-Five finishes. Of those, he finished third an amazing 19 times. He led 283 laps on the year, was tied for the series lead with eight dash wins, to go along with eight pole positions, and claimed over $243,000 in prize money.
After the season ended, he made a trip to New Zealand to compete during the month of December, picking up a couple of victories along the way. He then returned home to continue preparations for the season opening 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park, February 9-11.
"We've been getting the cars ready to go and I am really looking forward to it," said Dollansky.
The veteran driver will have Rob Hart back as crew chief this year. Hart joined the team last year around the time of the Knoxville Nationals and his addition quickly paid dividends, as they won the Harvest Classic at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, followed by a preliminary feature triumph on the opening night of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway, and a dominating win at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.
"We had a pretty slow start to the season last year, and I'm hoping we can avoid that," Dollansky said. "I definitely feel good about the way things are coming together for the upcoming season. There's been a lot of hard work put in by Rob Hart and Craig Stevens getting things ready to go. I feel real good about how we are prepared for the season. Last year we made quite a few changes that I hope we don't have to deal with anything like that this year. We can go in and concentrate on racing each night and not having to change anything."
The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series Champion is prepared to face the stiffest of competition each night out this season. He is excited to visit some tracks for the first time this season including: Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as well as Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario, and Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee. Various tracks back on the schedule this year include: Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., along with Houston Raceway Park, Pike County (Miss.) Speedway, Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway, and Heartland Park Topeka among others.
"I feel like if we can be in that 80-something race range that is a good number for us to race," he commented. "It looks to me like it's a pretty good schedule that has been assembled. There are a lot of new additions and it will be good to go to some of those new venues."
Dollansky knows that there will be many benefits that come with the added exposure that he and the rest of the World of Outlaws will receive this season as eight races will be broadcast on ESPN2 as part of the "Summer of Money," along with 12 additional events on SPEED.
"I think it's very important for the series and for sprint car racing in general," explained Dollansky. "It definitely should create some more marketing power for these race teams as well as the series itself. It will be bring us into some homes of people and fans that would have not seen us otherwise. I definitely feel that it is a move in the right direction, and something we are very happy with."
While plenty of work goes into building new cars during fast moving off-season, Dollansky and his team also built a new shop that kept them very busy over the winter. With the season fast approaching the crew is ready to embark on the always grueling schedule that awaits them. Dollansky is confident they have all the pieces in place to contend for wins night in and night out.
"The guys went home over the holidays," Dollansky said. "We built the new shop up here and they have been up here working in the new shop, and getting things prepared. They have really done a great job, and I am very happy with what they have done. They are excited to get the New Year going as well. There's a lot of hard work that goes into the off-season, and we're really just trying to prepare ourselves to make sure we are prepared for anything that can come at you during the year as best as we can. They're doing a great job and I'm looking forward to the season. Hopefully we can start it off right."
For each of the last three seasons, Dollansky has improved in the championship point standings. In 2004 he was fourth, he bettered that to third in 2005, and after his runner-up finish last year that leaves one more spot to gain.
"We're definitely focused on winning the championship," said Dollansky. "We've been close, and we just try to learn from some of our mistakes along the way. I'm really hoping that this team is prepared the way it needs to be, to try and accomplish that. We're working hard at it. I myself, as well as the crew. We have a good team assembled here and I am looking for good things out of it. I can tell you that we will be working hard at it and try to do our job each night and see what we can do."