Dollansky Takes Mini Gold Cup for First World of Outlaws Win of 2011
Big Game Treestands driver holds off Schatz and Saldana at Silver Dollar Speedway
We had a few of them get away from us in Florida at the DIRTcar Nationals but we were able to put together the whole deal here tonight.
CHICO, Calif. - March 12, 2011 - The last two times Craig Dollansky led the most laps in a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event this season, he came up just short of the checkers. The third time proved to be Dollansky's charm as he drove away from the field on Saturday night in the exciting 35-lap Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway.
"This truly is a team effort," said Dollansky, a native of Elk River, Minn., who led all 35 laps to win in his Big Game Treestands/ Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim. "We had a few of them get away from us in Florida at the DIRTcar Nationals but we were able to put together the whole deal here tonight."
Heavy rain in the area led to track conditions that rewarded patience. Donny Schatz was able to power is STP/Armor All/Chevrolet/J&J to the pole position by virtue of an impressive win in the dash. From the outside of the front row at the high-banked quarter-mile oval, Dollansky had a big jump to lead until the first caution on Lap 7. With the field reset for a double-file restart, Dollansky chose the outside lane and charged out from the field again.
A late-race red flag bunched the field once more with nine laps to go. On the double-file restart, Kasey Kahne Racing star Joey Saldana made his presence known in the Red Bull Maxim by making an daring pass to the outside of Schatz in Turn 1. Saldana tried to carry his momentum to get around Dollansky, but there was nothing Saldana could do as the Dollansky surged ahead and cruised to victory.
"We really gave it a shot tonight and we were competitive out here," said Saldana, a former Gold Cup Race of Champions winner at Silver Dollar Speedway. "That's a great feeling to have and we're feeling really good about the rest of the races out west."
Schatz managed to get back around Saldana in the closing laps to finish second.
"It certainly was a great night for us," said Schatz, who also is a former Gold Cup Race of Champions winner on the high-banked quarter-mile in northern California. "We just came up one spot short."
The action wasn't limited to the drivers up front as the entire field traded positions back and forth. Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate Cody Darrah spun early in the A-main and was able to race his way back to the 17th position. The season's winningest driver, Steve Kinser, stumbled early yet managed to bring the Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet/Maxim home in the 13th position to maintain his lead atop the championship standings over Saldana. California native Paul McMahan charged to fourth while Sammy Swindell rounded out the top five.
Jason Meyers, the defending Gold Cup Race of Champions winner at Silver Dollar Speedway who was making his first start in his native Golden State as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, finished eighth and is now third in the championship standings.
With the Mini Gold Cup in the review mirror, the Outlaws continue their California swing two nights of action next weekend beginning Friday (March 18) at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., and Saturday (March 19) at Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, Calif. The World of Outlaws California Spring Break then heads April 1 to Merced Speedway and April 2 to Calistoga Speedway.
MINI GOLD CUP NOTEBOOK
QUICKTIME - Sammy Swindell was the night's fastest qualifier at a 12.545, earning five more championship points. Lucas Wolfe, Paul McMahan, Jason Meyers and Kraig Kinser also earned qualifying points.
WINNERS - There have been eight World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature event winners in 2011. They include Steve Kinser (2-Volusia Speedway Park, Pike County Speedway, the Dirt Track at Las Vegas); Craig Dollansky (1-Silver Dollar Speedway); Jason Sides (1-Volusia Speedway Park); Sammy Swindell (1-Royal Purple Raceway); and Joey Saldana (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas).