Dollansky Beats McMahan in Knoxville Prelim By Richard Day KNOXVILLE, IA (April 27) -- While the World of Outlaws Gumout Series opened its second season in Pennsylvania, the series' best two drivers from a year ago shined brightly in the...
Dollansky Beats McMahan in Knoxville Prelim
By Richard Day
KNOXVILLE, IA (April 27) -- While the World of Outlaws Gumout Series opened its second season in Pennsylvania, the series' best two drivers from a year ago shined brightly in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' preliminary program Friday at Knoxville Raceway. Defending Gumout Series champion Craig Dollansky won his second Preliminary Feature of the season, leading all 25 laps and beating 2000 runner-up Paul McMahan under the checkered flag by .3 seconds. "Thank God we made it to the end of this one," Dollansky said. "We lost a cylinder at the very first, and I couldn't believe we were staying out front. It seemed like we were slowing down more and more, but these Fisher motors are strong no matter what. "My crew (Scott Mudra, Scott Benic, Todd Splain) did a great job, and I can't say enough about this Maxim chassis and Hoosier tires." McMahan credited the Gumout Series for his recent success. "Running the Gumout series last year really helped; it was such a confidence builder," McMahan said. "I came out here in 1997 and basically got my butt kicked every night, and when that happens you wonder if you can still drive a race car. We got to win some races last year, and me, Craig (Dollansky), Brad (Furr) and Jason (Meyers) have all had some strong runs this year." Defending and 16-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion Steve Kinser threatened to pass Dollansky for the lead for five laps, but suffered a flat left rear tire during the 20th lap. "I think Steve had me there in turns one and two (during lap 16)," Dollansky admitted. "I slid up and hit the cushion and the car kept bogging down. Then, on the restart, I was scared to death it wouldn't take off." Dollansky, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 54-car field, won the First O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the right to start the Preliminary Feature outside the front row by following McMahan across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash. Dollansky burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event. Kinser, whose crew replaced the engine in his #11 Quaker State Maxim after the CHANNELLOCK Dash, raced past McMahan deep in turn three late in the opening lap. Dollansky was .4 seconds ahead of Kinser when he entered lapped traffic five laps later. McMahan, whose crew replaced the engine in the #U2 United Expressline Eagle before the Preliminary Feature, held off defending Knoxville Raceway champion Terry McCarl, then passed Kinser for second in the low groove between turns one and two early in the seventh lap. Seven-time Knoxville Raceway champion Danny Lasoski drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle past McCarl deep in turn one to claim fourth place three laps later. McMahan and Kinser caught Dollansky in dense lapped traffic midway through the race, and the leaders raced nose-to-tail for a full lap. Kinser took the inside line into the fourth corner to pass McMahan late in the 13th lap, then almost passed Dollansky for the lead in turn one 2 1/2 laps later. "The King of the Outlaws" exchanged second place with McMahan during the 18th and 19th laps before making another run at the lead. Kinser used a slide move to pass Dollansky in turn one, only to have Danny Wood's second-corner flip early in the 20th lap nullify the move. Kinser restarted at the rear of the field after his crew replaced his flat left rear tire during the red period. Lasoski challenged McMahan for the runner-up spot while Kinser raced back through the field. McMahan escaped "The Dude" and caught Dollansky during the final lap, but was .3 seconds behind at the checkered flag. "I had a real good shot (at Dollansky) there on that restart," McMahan said. "I just should have followed him for a lap and kept my momentum up; I just tried a little too early. The main thing is being locked in tomorrow where we can just run the dash and the A main." Lasoski held off McCarl for third place. Second O'Reilly Heat Race winner Tim Shaffer finished fifth, ahead of Mark Kinser, Don Droud, Jr., Joey Saldana, 18th-starting Brad Furr and Steve Kinser. "The King of the Outlaws" paced the qualifying session with a 118.773-m.p.h. lap around the legendary semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval. Donny Schatz, the runner-up in the 2000 Amoco Knoxville Nationals, used a provisional to start the Preliminary Feature and passed eight cars to finish 17th.