2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Craig Dollansky From the first drop of the green flag in 2007, Craig Dollansky showed that he would be a contender each and every night. After traveling to New Zealand and...
2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Craig Dollansky
From the first drop of the green flag in 2007, Craig Dollansky showed that he would be a contender each and every night. After traveling to New Zealand and winning in the off-season, as well as claiming a victory in early season action in Florida, he finished fourth on the first two nights of the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season at Volusia Speedway Park with a packed pit area of 50-plus cars in attendance each night. This performance earned him the Florida DIRTcar Nationals title for his performance over the combined six nights of sprint car racing on the half-mile.
This consistency followed Dollansky all season, as he racked up 48 Top-10 finishes, with 24 of those being in the Top-Five, along with three A-Feature wins en route to a seventh place finish in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship points. It was the sixth time in his career that he has finished in the Top-10 in points.
Dollansky was one of just six drivers to lead more than 150 laps of feature racing competition in 2007. He also won the Crane Cams Dash six times to earn pole positions in A-Feature events, along with setting a new track record at USA Race Park in Arizona in time trials.
"There definitely were a lot of race cars out there," said Dollansky of the 2007 campaign. "It started off with quite a few cars and a few dropped off, but it was a very competitive year. There have been a lot of other competitive seasons out here as well. At the end of the day, it comes down to if the driver is focused on what he needs to do and the entire race team."
Dollansky picked up his first win of the season in May at Lake Ozark Speedway in Missouri. This came in the midst of a stretch that saw him earn eight consecutive Top-10 finishes. During the first East Coast swing of the season in the spring, Dollansky welcomed veteran World of Outlaws crew chief Mike Woodring to the team and the addition quickly paid off with a fourth-place finish at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in New York. The pair earned their first victory together at I-96 Speedway in Michigan in July.
"There were a few things we needed to get sorted of out in terms of our equipment," he noted. "We got those things sorted out and headed in the right direction and Mike (Woodring) did a good job for us. We definitely worked hard at things. We had some things out of our control and had a race won with a lap to go and ran out of fuel. Just little things like that and there have been things in our control that we could have done better. As a team we have to keep learning and adjusting and try to move on."
During the Gold Rush Tour on the West Coast, the native of Elk River, Minnesota earned seven Top-10 finishes in eight events, including a $25,000 triumph at Skagit Speedway in Washington, with the cameras from SPEED rolling. He came within one lap of making it two wins in a row in the World of Outlaws return to Grays Harbor Raceway in Washington, running out of fuel on the last lap while leading.
"You don't cry over spilled milk," said the native of Elk River, Minnesota. "You work hard on your program to make the race car faster and to run up front every night."
Being a promoter himself, Dollansky knows the importance of bringing 410-sprint car racing to fans that normally do not get to see it, and that is exactly what the World of Outlaws did in two separate trips to Canada this season. He finished in the Top-10 on both nights at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, including a third-place performance in the finale, while also earning a Top-10 at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario.
"At the end of the day, it was a good thing," he said of the series return to Canada. "There are a lot of great race fans in Canada that don't get to see the World of Outlaws. For us to go up there and race in two different parts of Canada was real good."
In 2007, the World of Outlaws competed in front of the SPEED and ESPN2 cameras a total of 18 times, including live action on the final night of the inaugural Outlaws World Finals. In addition to his win at Skagit Speedway, Dollansky had several more strong runs with the cameras rolling.
"I think it was great," said the former World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion of the television coverage this season. "It definitely brought our sport to a wider area of fans and to a broader market. They did a great job putting the television package together and I look forward to that heading into next year as well."
In addition to competing full-time, Dollansky and his wife Julie also helped promote the inaugural World of Outlaws event at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa on September 12. He finished third in the event, which saw over 7,000 people jam the grandstands and help set a new attendance record for the Fair. The couple also promoted the PolyDome Princeton National again this season at Princeton Speedway, which also drew a standing room only crowd.
"The Clay County event was something that worked out real well," commented Dollansky. "It was pretty neat to see the start of it and the completion of it. To be a part of that was great. I enjoyed promoting those races and look forward to being a part of that next year."
This off-season will see Dollansky follow a similar plan as last season, as he will compete in New Zealand for Salter Motorsports at Western Springs Speedway. He won his first event at the track and was set to start on the pole position of the A-Feature last weekend when rain forced the postponement of the event. He will be in action again this weekend in New Zealand.
"I'll try to get a little time with my family, my wife and kids and my friends," he noted of the always busy off-season.