Meyers Masterful at I-55 Raceway: Wins Thriller Over Dollansky Jason Meyers has had strong starts to the season in the past, but nothing like the consistency and strength that he and his team have shown this year with the Advance Auto Parts...
Meyers Masterful at I-55 Raceway: Wins Thriller Over Dollansky
Jason Meyers has had strong starts to the season in the past, but nothing like the consistency and strength that he and his team have shown this year with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, as they compete against the best sprint car drivers and teams in the world night after night.
After winning a thrilling battle with Craig Dollansky on Saturday night at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri that saw him win by just mere inches on the track, Meyers now has three wins in the first five Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series events this season driving the GLR Investment KPC, including two consecutive.
"It's amazing the kind of start we have had this year," said Meyers, who now has 21 career A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws. "It's certainly something we worked hard all winter for and hoped to achieve. It's something that usually is very hard to achieve and all of the hard work is paying off now. These guys are working hard day in and day out."
The race began with Dollansky in a specially painted Snap-on Tools Maxim, leading from the pole, with Tim Shaffer and Joey Saldana in-toe. Meyers used a strong start to move all the way from the eighth spot on the grid to fourth, getting around Daryn Pittman, Danny Lasoski, Jac Haudenschild and Kerry Madsen.
By just the fourth lap of the 40-lap contest, Dollansky was already in traffic, as he set a blistering pace. At this same time, Meyers dove under Saldana to take the third spot. The first stoppage of the night would follow on the seventh circuit, as the red flag flew for a Billy Alley flip.
Dollansky quickly began to pull away on the restart, with Meyers battling Shaffer for the runner-up position. Saldana retook the third spot from Meyers on the ninth lap and set his sights on Shaffer.
Meyers closed back in on Saldana and after several laps running side-by-side, he took the third spot. After battling with Shaffer for a couple of laps, Meyers moved into second coming off the fourth turn on the 23rd circuit.
One lap later, the red flag flew for the second time on the night, as Kraig Kinser had something break on his car, leading to him getting upside down. On the ensuing restart, Dollansky opened a slight lead as Meyers and Shaffer battled for the runner-up spot.
Dollansky encountered heavy traffic as the laps wound down, opening the door for Meyers, who took the lead exiting the fourth turn on the high side of the track on the 32nd lap. After opening a few car length lead, Meyers was then bottled up in traffic, giving Dollansky a shot at him.
Over the last few laps, Dollansky gave it everything he had on the top side of the track as he chased down Meyers. With just a couple of laps remaining, Dollansky charged off the fourth turn and used the momentum to get side-by-side with Meyers nearly taking the lead.
As the pair took the white flag, Dollansky again used the momentum on the top side of the high-banked 1/3-mile to make a charge for the win, coming up just inches short at the line. For the victory which was his second consecutive with the series and third of the 2008 campaign, Meyers pocketed $10,000.
Joey Saldana aboard the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI, Tim Shaffer driving the Casey's General Stores Maxim and Jac Haudenschild in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim rounded out the Top-Five.
For Meyers, it was his fifth Top-Five finish of the season with the World of Outlaws. Dating back to last season, he has seven consecutive Top-Five finishes. Overall, he has 25 consecutive finishes of ninth or better, dating back to last October, including two starts in Australia.
"We have a long season ahead of us and we'll keep pushing and try to stay ahead," he noted. "We have one goal this year and that is to win the championship. There is a lot of great competition out here and it won't be an easy task. This is a good start for that. We have a good platform and hopefully we can continue to build on that."
Dollansky led the first 31 laps of the race, after winning the Crane Cams Dash to earn the pole position. He set a blazing pace early in the race, as he put cars a lap down. He endured extremely heavy traffic late in the race, as he chased his second win of the season.
"We got held up by a lot of those lapped cars and it really cost us some time and that allowed the (No.) 14 to get by us," said Dollansky. "It was a good strong run us. Once I went to the top, we got beside him there at the checkers. It would have been nice to have had another lap to get back there. It was a good run, especially for all of the Snap-0n people that were here tonight."
Meyers earned the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award for starting eighth and picking up the win. He was quick to point out that lapped traffic played to his advantage on a night that saw the red flag fly early in the race and then just after the halfway mark.
"Traffic was definitely important," said the native of Clovis, California. "That is where we got Craig (Dollansky). In open air we were as good as he was, but I don't think we could have passed him. The traffic definitely played in our favor tonight."
With the laps winding down, Meyers was focused on running his line and not making any mistakes. With his car working extremely well, he was able to use negotiate traffic using both the top and bottom of the track.
"I kind of heard him coming at the end," said Meyers. "In lapped traffic, I just wanted to be careful and take the right line. I didn't want to leave the door open for him."
After having heavy rain for most of the last week, including on Friday, the track crew at I-55 Raceway worked all day Saturday to make sure the racing surface was in the best shape possible for the World of Outlaws.
"Ray Marlar and the guys working on the track did a great job," noted Dollansky. "I think they did it how they needed to. They approached it the right way by having the modifieds go out and then reworking it. For all the rain they had, they did a great job."
Dollansky kept pace with Meyers as the only two drivers to have earned Top-Five finishes in all five A-Feature events this season with the World of Outlaws. He also has qualified first or second in time trials at each event, and has a commanding lead in the Qwik Liner Cup standings, which runs through the 13th event of the season.
"We just have to keep working hard," said the former World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion. "It's been a very strong start to the season and that is very important when you are trying to keep yourself in the hunt for the championship chase. We're just going to be focused on winning races and working hard. Mike (Woodring), Rob (Beattie) and Lester (Groves) are doing a great job and we have a great support system behind this team. I'm probably as happy as I have been in a long time with our race team and our race program."
Saldana earned his fifth Top-10 finish of the season with a third-place run on Saturday night. The 2007 race winner at I-55 Raceway lined up fourth for the 40-lap A-Feature and found himself battling Meyers, Shaffer and Jac Haudenschild for the entire race.
"If we are struggling like we feel we are right now and finish third with these guys, then that is not too bad," said Saldana. "To come home third is a good run and we can't wait to get a win for this Budweiser team."
Saldana tried a couple of different lines during the course of the A-Feature, and found a lot of speed late in the race as he tracked the leaders down, especially in traffic.
"When I started running up top, I started running them down and thought I really had a shot at them," said the native of Brownsburg, Indiana. "We were really tight and when Craig (Dollansky) moved up there, that took away all of my momentum. If those two would have raced each other a little more toward the bottom, I may have had a shot. At least we were there."
Tim Shaffer picked up his first Top-Five finish of the season with a very strong fourth-place effort on Saturday night. The 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year finished second in the Crane Cams Dash to earn a front row start spot in the main event, the same spot in which he ran for over half the race.
"We were a little too good too early," said Shaffer. "We were really good in the heat race and the dash. You live and learn. We ran a little bit different set-up than we normally do and we just missed it a little bit. We just couldn't move around as much as we needed to."
The remainder of the Top-10 was Chad Kemenah, who was quickest in time trials, in sixth aboard the Kantor Oil Company Maxim, Daryn Pittman in seventh driving the Titan Garages Maxim, two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz in the Armor All J&J in eighth, Shane Stewart in the DTR Transport JEI in ninth and Danny Lasoski in the American Compressed Steel JEI in 10th.
The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns to action on Friday, April 11 at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, for two full nights of racing.
I-55 RACEWAY NOTEBOOK
* CELEBRATING 30 YEARS: As part of the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series 30th Anniversary celebration, Chuck Amati, who competed in the first-ever series event in 1978 at Devil's Bowl Speedway, as well as a number of races that season was in attendance at I-55 Raceway on Saturday night. Amati, who was nicknamed the "One Armed Bandit" competed at I-55 a number of times in the 1970's and 1980's. He met with fans and shared some of his memories from the 1978 inaugural World of Outlaws season. For more information on the World of Outlaws 30th Anniversary celebration visit www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint/history.aspx.
* FAST QUALIFIER: Chad Kemenah paced the 27 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked 1/3-mile oval at 11.292 seconds at 106.164 mph. For his qualifying effort, Kemenah earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Craig Dollansky (4), Kerry Madsen (3), Joey Saldana (2), and Jason Meyers (1).
* UP NEXT: A stop at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio for two full nights of racing on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.
* UPCOMING EVENTS: April continues with a visit to Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana on April 19, before a trip to Huset's Speedway in Brandon South Dakota on April 25 and Knoxville Raceway in Iowa on April 26.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; I-55 Raceway; Pevely, MO; April 5, 2008
1) 8K-Chad Kemenah 11.292
2) 2-Craig Dollansky 11.321
3) 55-Kerry Madsen 11.366
4) 9-Joey Saldana 11.382
5) 14-Jason Meyers 11.383
6) D1-Justin Henderson 11.389
7) 21-Daryn Pittman 11.423
8) 5-Danny Lasoski 11.463
9) R19-Jac Haudenschild 11.474
10) 6-Tim Shaffer 11.503
11) 15-Donny Schatz 11.522
12) 18-Tony Bruce Jr. 11.535
13) 20-Kraig Kinser 11.549
14) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 11.557
15) 83-Shane Stewart 11.560
16) 11-Steve Kinser 11.560
17) 7S-Jason Sides 11.622
18) 22-Billy Alley 11.628
19) 4-Danny Smith 11.628
20) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 11.640
21) 97-Tommy Worley 11.664
22) 5C-Chad Hillier 11.922
23) 24-Terry McCarl 11.939
24) 12-Jerrod Hull 11.993
25) 58-Wade Oliver 12.133
26) 35-Jimmy Hurley 12.140
27) 57D-Tom Dickerman 12.238
28) 3B-Brad Greer -.---
29) 44-A J Bruns -.---
Heat 1 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 21-Daryn Pittman
2) 6-Tim Shaffer
3) 8K-Chad Kemenah
4) 9-Joey Saldana
5) 11-Steve Kinser
6) 20-Kraig Kinser
7) 5C-Chad Hillier
8) 58-Wade Oliver
9) 3B-Brad Greer
10) 4-Danny Smith
Heat 2 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 5-Danny Lasoski
2) 2-Craig Dollansky
3) 15-Donny Schatz
4) 14-Jason Meyers
5) 7S-Jason Sides
6) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
7) 24-Terry McCarl
8) 35-Jimmy Hurley
9) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
Heat 3 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) R19-Jac Haudenschild
2) 55-Kerry Madsen
3) 18-Tony Bruce Jr.
4) 83-Shane Stewart
5) 22-Billy Alley
6) D1-Justin Henderson
7) 97-Tommy Worley
8) 12-Jerrod Hull
9) 57D-Tom Dickerman
10) 44-A J Bruns
Crane Cams Dash (8 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting
positions of A-feature)
1) 2-Craig Dollansky
2) 6-Tim Shaffer
3) 55-Kerry Madsen
4) 9-Joey Saldana
5) R19-Jac Haudenschild
6) 5-Danny Lasoski
7) 21-Daryn Pittman
8) 14-Jason Meyers
9) 8K-Chad Kemenah
10) D1-Justin Henderson
B-main (12 laps, top 4 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 4-Danny Smith
2) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
3) 5C-Chad Hillier
4) 24-Terry McCarl
5) 12-Jerrod Hull
6) 97-Tommy Worley
7) 44-A J Bruns [$200]
8) 58-Wade Oliver [$180]
9) 3B-Brad Greer [$175]
10) 35-Jimmy Hurley [$160]
11) 57D-Tom Dickerman [$150]
A-main (40 laps) - Starting Position [#]
1) 14-Jason Meyers [$10,000]
2) 2-Craig Dollansky [$5,500]
3) 9-Joey Saldana [$3,200]
4) 6-Tim Shaffer [$2,800]
5) R19-Jac Haudenschild [$2,500]
6) 8K-Chad Kemenah [$2,300]
7) 21-Daryn Pittman [$2,200]
8) 15-Donny Schatz [$2,100]
9) 83-Shane Stewart [$2,050]
10) 5-Danny Lasoski [$2,000]
11) 55-Kerry Madsen [$1,500]
12) 11-Steve Kinser [$1,200]
13) D1-Justin Henderson [$1,100]
14) 18-Tony Bruce Jr. [$1,050]
15) 7S-Jason Sides [$1,000]
16) 24-Terry McCarl [$900]
17) 5C-Chad Hillier [$800]
18) 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$800]
19) 20-Kraig Kinser [$800]
20) 4-Danny Smith [$800]
21) 22-Billy Alley [$800]
22) 97-Tommy Worley [$800]
23) 12-Jerrod Hull [$800]
24) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [$800]
Lap Leaders: Craig Dollansky 1-31, Jason Meyers 32-40
KSE Hard Charger Award: Jason Meyers
Chicken Hawk Hot Lap Award: Craig Dollansky
Penske Power Position Award: Joey Saldana