Bakersfield race report 2005-02-26

Dollansky Triumphs in World of Outlaws Sprint Series Return to Bakersfield Speedway Oildale, CA -- February 26, 2005 -- By Chris Dolack, World of Outlaws Senior Writer It took 10 years for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series to return to ...

Dollansky Triumphs in World of Outlaws Sprint Series Return to Bakersfield Speedway

Oildale, CA -- February 26, 2005 -- By Chris Dolack, World of Outlaws Senior Writer

It took 10 years for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series to return to Bakersfield Speedway, but it was worth the wait.

On a night where the track speed record seemed to drop with every qualifying run, Craig Dollansky slipped past Joey Saldana to collect $10,000 as he became the fifth different winner in five Outlaws feature events this season.

Dollansky started the 35-lap A-Main in third, directly behind the pole-sitter Saldana. In heavy traffic on the tacky 1/3-mile dirt oval, Dollansky methodically worked his way past second-place starter Brian Paulus and sized up Saldana.

After a caution on Lap 17, the two front-runners pulled away slightly from the wild pack behind them that was fighting for third. On Lap 22, Dollansky looked to make his move. He ducked low, trying to get inside of Saldana. It took two laps, but he kept his Karavan Motorsports machine on the bottom where the surface was rough and slid into the lead on the exit of Turn 4. Saldana tried to surge back in front on the outside but he tucked in behind Dollansky and fought the rest of the way to protect his position from the hard-charging Steve Kinser.

Following Kinser to the finish were race co-promoter Jason Meyers, Kraig Kinser, Paulus and Terry McCarl.

Dollansky's victory is his fourth consecutive top-six finish and the first in an Outlaws event at Bakersfield since Dave Blaney's1995 win. It leaves Dollansky only eight points behind series leader Steve Kinser in the overall standings.

"We've been communicating real well and it's making a big difference in this race team," said Dollansky, the inaugural Gumout Series champion in 2000 who was seriously injured in a 2003 crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We switched to J&J Chassis and that's working real well for us, and Charlie Garrett built a motor that is second to none. He works his butt off back home."

That chassis and horsepower faced a strong challenge at Bakersfield. At speeds in excess of 110 mph, it took only a couple of laps for the lead pack to reach the tail end of the field. Despite several cautions and red flags for flips by Tim Kaeding on Lap 10 and Jason Sides on Lap 14, Saldana was able to maintain a slight advantage.

With Dollansky setting his sights on Paulus early in the feature, Meyers made a daring move on the third lap when he went three-wide at the top of Turn 2 to get around Mark Kinser and Steve Kinser, drawing cheers from his hometown fans. Meyers reached as high as third before Steve Kinser eventually slid past him on the low side going into Turn 3.

Down the stretch, dodging cars by circling the bottom of the track, Dollansky went unchallenged because Saldana had his hands full with Steve Kinser in a wheel-to-wheel battle for second. With two laps remaining, Kinser tried again to take get second from Saldana, but Saldana battled back each time.

"There definitely was traffic everywhere, but the way this car was operating we were able to maneuver it," said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn. "They did a great job with this racetrack. There's nothing wrong when they get it a little rough and a little tackied up.

It makes for some good exciting racing. I just want to thank Jason Meyers and Guy Stockbridge and the Elite Racing Team for putting on a great show here."

A hot start to 2005 should help Dollansky stay near the top of the points chase all season. Now more than a year removed from his injuries at Indianapolis, Dollansky and his team are focused on a run at the championship.

"This is the best start we've ever had," Dollansky said. "I'd say this is the best I've felt going into a season, we're going into it strong. We just have to work hard at it and do our job every night. There's a lot of good competition out here. It's hard to win races. We'll just try to work at it every night to see what we can do in the points chase."

That competition was set earlier in the day when DIRT MotorSports announced it reached agreements with all the drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series' Mean 15. With that task completed, the focus once again can be on the breathtaking racing.

The action leading up to the feature was just as furious as the main event.

Forced into the B-Main after he was taken out in a heat race, Daryn Pittman started first and held off second-place running Danny Lasoski for a victory in heavy traffic.

In the first dash that set the inside top six positions in the feature, Saldana grabbed the lead from Mark Kinser at the drop of the green flag and drove off with the victory. In the second dash, Paulus cruised after getting the early jump on Sean Becker.

The heat races certainly were hot, especially the first one. Jason Sides tried to slip past top qualifier Pittman between Turns 3 and 4. The two collided, with Sides flipping toward the fence. The incident left Pittman with significant front-end damage, relegating him to the B-Main as Brian Coelho went on to win the heat.

Other heat winners included Paulus, Tim Kaeding and Jason Solwold.

The tacky track made for incredible speeds during time trials. One night after flipping in time trials at Thunderbowl Raceway, Pittman ran the fastest lap in Bakersfield history when he circled the 1/3-mile oval in 10.572 seconds at 113.394 mph.

"We were awfully good in hot laps and it felt that good, but the scary part is when it feels good it normally isn't," Pittman said. "When it feels that good you're afraid to look at the time because normally when it's that easy to drive you're slow. It was good to look up there and see that time."

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series action from Bakersfield Speedway can be seen on The Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern March 16.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series leaves California to race March 4-5 in the Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. It then rolls March 10-11 to The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals before racing March 18 at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., and March 19 at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

Even if fans can't get to a track to see the series, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on Dirtvision.com through the new DIRT Radio Network. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. Companies who are interested in advertising on the new DIRT Radio Network should contact Mark Noble, DIRT MotorSports VP Sales and Marketing, at 719-884-2141. For technical support or questions, e-mail webmaster@dirtvision.com.

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Kraig Kinser , Dave Blaney , Tim Kaeding