Series 2009 driver preview - Craig Dollansky

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Craig Dollansky Concord, NC-- January 21, 2009--After having his 2008 season cut short by an arm injury last September, Craig Dollansky has anxiously been awaiting the start of the 2009 World of...

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Craig Dollansky

Concord, NC-- January 21, 2009--After having his 2008 season cut short by an arm injury last September, Craig Dollansky has anxiously been awaiting the start of the 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series campaign. In addition to that, he joined Kasey Kahne Racing to pilot the No. 19 machine, as part of a two-car effort as a teammate to Joey Saldana and is ready to take to the track.

The World of Outlaws season will begin for Dollansky at Volusia Speedway Park with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, February 6-8. He won on opening night last season in the World of Outlaws portion of the event and is the two-time defending titlist of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at the blazing fast half-mile in the Sunshine State.

"I am very excited for the season and ready to head to Florida," said Dollansky. "I raced in New Zealand during the off-season and it was good to get back in the car after missing the end of last season. We are certainly ready for the season to begin."

For the third consecutive off-season Dollansky competed in a series of events in New Zealand during the month of December. He was victorious in the first race of that trip at TeMarua Raceway over his teammate Joey Saldana. That race was his first full event back since sustaining a compound fracture to his right arm on September 19 at Eldora Speedway that required surgery. Dollansky has now won in New Zealand in each of the last three off-seasons and has four career wins on Kiwi soil.

"To win the first night out after being out of the car for three months, felt really good for me," he shared. "My arm felt great and I felt great in the race car. It was a good feeling to get that first night back in the car behind me."

Helping ease the transition to Kasey Kahne Racing, Dollansky has his entire crew from last season with him in 2009, led by crew chief Mike Woodring along with Rob Beattie and Lester Groves. They have all be at the team's shop in Mooresville, North Carolina for the last three months preparing for the season which begins in just a little over two weeks.

"I have three great guys down there working hard in Mike (Woodring) Rob (Beattie) and Lester (Groves), along with the rest of the team at Kasey Kahne Racing," said the veteran driver. "There is a lot of preparation going on at the shop and I'll head down there before going to Florida. I'm looking forward to getting fitted in the cars and going down to Volusia."

Dollansky has competed against Kahne a number of times over the years in events with the

World of Outlaws, as well as with the All Star Circuit of Champions. Kahne's best career World of Outlaws finish was a fifth in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in 2002, an event that Dollansky finished third in and that Saldana won.

"Kasey is someone that I have a lot of respect for and I am definitely looking forward to driving for him," Dollansky said. "As for pressure, I don't see any added pressure. I put enough pressure on myself each night to go out and try to win races. I just want to go out and do the best job for the entire organization."

In his career at Volusia Speedway Park, Dollansky has two wins and 30 Top-10 finishes. He finished sixth or better in all six nights at the track last season. Dating back to the finale of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH in 2006, the veteran driver has finished sixth or better in 13 of his last 14 starts at the half-mile.

"It starts with preparation in the off-season and that is what my guys are doing right now," explained the native of Elk River, Minnesota of beginning the season strong in Florida. "You have to have everything ready when you get there. Volusia is a very fast race track and they always have it prepared very well. It's a track that I have always enjoy racing at. We'll probably run a few races prior to the Outlaws opener so that we can get things shaken out."

At the time of his injury last season, Dollansky was third in points on the strength of 44 Top-10 finishes, with eight overall wins. He wound up seventh in the standings, with the team finishing fourth in owner points, after Brooke Tatnell filled in for him after the injury. In 2008 Dollansky was one of just three drivers that led more than 300 laps of feature racing competition. He also was quickest in time trials on seven occasions and was tied for the series lead with six wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions in A-Feature events. He looks to build on all of those statistics this season against one of the strongest fields ever assembled in the 31-year history of the World of Outlaws.

"The competition has been stiff for the last few years and I don't see that changing anytime soon," noted Dollansky. "You have a few teams drop off the tour, but it always seems like you gain a couple as well. I'm sure it's going to be a very competitive season and one that we are greatly looking forward to."

In his first season behind the wheel of the No. 19 machine for Kasey Kahne Racing, Dollansky has one goal and that is to be in contention for the World of Outlaws title. He led the championship standings last season early in the year as he continues to chase his first series championship.

"It definitely starts with great preparation in the off-season and that is something that we are very focused on," he said of what it takes to win a championship. "We were definitely in the hunt last year for most of the year and ended up getting hurt. I feel great about this Kasey Kahne Racing team and everyone that supports it and my entire crew. We're going to go at it every night working hard and hopefully at the end of the year we're in the mix. I'd love nothing more than to bring home a championship for Kasey Kahne Racing."

The 2009 World of Outlaws season opens on February 6 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. For more information on the event, including tickets, visit: www.dirtcarnationals.com.

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Craig Dollansky , Brooke Tatnell , Joey Saldana