Dollansky Takes Eagle Nationals Opener EAGLE, NE (June 20) - Craig Dollansky spoiled Stevie Smith's near-perfect performance Thursday when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opened the 19th Annual Eagle Nationals, passing him early in the 17th...
Dollansky Takes Eagle Nationals Opener
EAGLE, NE (June 20) - Craig Dollansky spoiled Stevie Smith's near-perfect performance Thursday when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opened the 19th Annual Eagle Nationals, passing him early in the 17th lap on his way to winning the preliminary feature.
Smith, the fastest qualifier in the 38-car field, earned the right to start the 30-lap feature on the pole by winning the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Heat Race. The 1990 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award winner led the first 16 1/3 laps, but was .22 seconds behind Dollansky at the checkered flag.
"What a great job by Craig Cormack and his whole crew preparing the race track," Dollansky said. "It was about 100 degrees out here today, but he gave us a perfect race track. This is a first-class facility.
"I just want to thank everyone involved with Karavan Motorsports. Maxim chassis makes a great race car, these Hoosier tires were perfect and Charlie Garrett builds us some great motors. I have a great crew chief in D.J. Lindsey, and my brother Troy Dollansky works with the motors, and we got Brad Rash this year. Dick Johanic, who owns Polydome, is here tonight and I'm just glad we got one for him."
Smith, who passed fellow Pennsylvanian Tim Shaffer for seventh place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings with the runner-up run, blamed himself for not winning the race.
"My guys gave me a good car tonight," Smith said. "I guess it was just driver error on my part. The car was a little tight at the end of the race, but I think Craig's was the same way, so I think it was just the driver tonight. The biggest thing we'll do tomorrow is just watch and see what the race track's like. It was really fast tonight, but you never know what you're going to get with a dirt track."
Smith drove David Helm's #11H Vivarin Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the feature, only to have Jason Sides hit the front-straightaway retaining wall and Second Heat Race winner Paul qMcMahan flip as he tried to avoid Sides. "B" Feature winner Danny Wood was also involved in the crash, and restarted the race with the nose wing missing from the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim.
Smith burst into the lead when the green flag replaced the red, and was one second ahead of his closest pursuers when he entered lapped traffic five laps into the evening's main event.
Dollansky, who passed two-time defending Eagle Nationals champion Mark Kinser for second place early in the second lap, started challenging Smith for the lead in lapped traffic four laps later.
Brad Furr and Jac Haudenschild exchanged fourth place during the eighth and ninth laps. Furr won a backstretch drag race with the 1989 Eagle Nationals champion, but Haudenschild regained the position high in turn four the next time around.
Smith was .4 seconds ahead of Dollansky in dense lapped traffic midway through the race. The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion steered the #7 V-Mac/Polydome Maxim to the lowest point in the second corner to take the lead two laps later.
"I just kept working the bottom there, and finally got by Stevie," Dollansky said of the winning pass. "We got held up in traffic, so I moved to the top. I saw Stevie up there a couple of times, but that's just kind of how these races go."
Furr challenged "The Wild Child" for eight laps before regaining fourth place with an inside move between turns three and four late in lap 19. Furr drove his #2 Sanmina/SCI Eagle past Kinser in the same spot four laps later.
"Jac and I had a pretty good race there most of the night, and then I got by Mark toward the end," Furr said. "I like this place. It doesn't matter if it's fast or slow, this is a good place to race."
Smith almost regained the lead with two laps remaining, racing wheel-to-wheel with Dollansky through the third and fourth corners. Dollansky, only 002 seconds ahead at the finish line at that point, took the checkered flag with .22 seconds to spare.
Furr held off Kinser for third place. "The Wild Child" finished fifth, ahead of Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Gumout Series points leader Tyler Walker, Shaffer and Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Danny Lasoski.
Swindell had been missing from the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series since early March. The series' three-time champion qualified 14th quick and drove Dennis Roth's #83jr Beef Packers Eagle into seventh place from inside the fifth row in the preliminary feature.
Johnny Herrera made amends for a disappointing qualifying effort by winning the First Heat Race and racing past nine cars to finish 14th in the evening's main event.