Craig Dollansky Rolls to Victory in Gold Cup Opener Chico, CA -- Sept. 8, 2005 -- Craig Dollansky's crew built him a new car on Wednesday. On Thursday at Silver Dollar Speedway, he used it to break the track record, win the pole and hold off Tim...
Craig Dollansky Rolls to Victory in Gold Cup Opener
Chico, CA -- Sept. 8, 2005 -- Craig Dollansky's crew built him a new car on Wednesday. On Thursday at Silver Dollar Speedway, he used it to break the track record, win the pole and hold off Tim Shaffer for 30 laps, capturing the opener of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway for his third World of Outlaws Sprint Series preliminary feature win this season to go with two A-feature victories.
On a night dominated by caution flags from heats through the main event, Dollansky kept calm and was able to put his VMAC/Karavan J&J anywhere he needed in the main event. Often it was locked into the bottom groove on the quarter-mile oval, but when traffic became an issue, Dollansky smoothly worked the cushion, not allowing Shaffer a chance to sneak by.
Shaffer, who started sixth in the Casey's General Store Maxim, was within striking distance for much of the A-main after a power move early on to go past Tim Kaeding and Jason Meyers in Turns 3 and 4. Then Meyers, in his Elite Racing Team Craviotto Drum Company Maxim, cut past Kaeding and the top three began to pull away, eventually finishing in that order. The fourth caution with 16 laps down bunched the field, but Dollansky was fast on the bottom, not allowing any of the contenders running the top a chance to slide past him.
With the top three edging away, Donny Schatz, who had brought out the first caution when he slipped over the top of the cushion in Turns 3 and 4 one lap into the race, mounted a charge back through the field. He put his ParkerStore J&J on the top, middle and bottom as the situation dictated and grabbed fourth on the final lap with Brooke Tatnell, driving the Castrol/Steel Dreams Eagle with a broken right hand, winding up fifth.
It was clear from the start that Dollansky was relaxed in the knowledge that his new J&J was working perfectly, especially when he paced the 42 cars that went through time trials with a lap around the quarter-mile in 11.281 seconds that broke the 11.307-second record previously held by Jonathan Allard. It was the second time this year his crew gave him a new car and the next day Dollansky put it in Victory Lane, duplicating his night in July at Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis.
"You can be a lot more relaxed when you've got a racecar that's cooperating," said Dollansky, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn. "My crew did a great job to build a brand new car. We changed a lot of things up with this week. It's not a coincidence to come out and get quick time, win the dash and win the feature. We just have to stay on top of our game and keep producing racecars like that and there's a lot that we can accomplish. We made the switch to J&J this year and it has been a bit of a learning curve for us but J&J builds a real good racecar, along with Charlie Garrett motors, Hoosier tires and everything that goes along with it.
"When you've got a car that's operating, those are things you're able to do, something we've been missing for quite some time. I feel like we're getting back on track. We have a little ways to go on different types of racetracks, but [crew chief] D.J. Lindsey and Brian Sundby did a great job for me. It's just a good win for our car owner Scott Boyd, Karavan and VMAC and all the people who support this race team."
It was tough to hide Lindsey's smile after seeing what Dollansky was able to do with his creation, assembled not in their Fox Lake, Wis., race shop but rather just a few feet from the back of their transporter in a parking lot.
"We carry everything we need with us, but we had a couple of overnight packages sent to us," Lindsey said. "It makes you feel good."
Shaffer's second-place run was his fourth top-five finish in the past five races, including preliminaries.
"The biggest thing is that we're gelling together and it's fun," said Shaffer, a Mean 15 racer from Aliquippa, Pa. "It's a team effort, everybody is doing their part. It's been a lot of fun lately. Everybody is enjoying themselves and working hard together.
Aside from his move on Kaeding and Meyers in the main event, Shaffer also grabbed a spot on the final lap of the second heat race when dove to the bottom in Turn 1 just after taking the white flag and forced his machine under Doug Lippincott's to steal second.
"It was one of those deals where it's all or nothing," Shaffer said. "These races likes this, the points mean so much. Tonight we had a good point count because we qualified second, ran second in the heat and second in the feature so more than likely we're going to be locked into the feature with a good starting spot on Saturday and that's big. In the heats it makes you run hard because you need every point you can get because you can go from starting third to starting 10th."
Jason Meyers, a Clovis, Calif., native with much experience at Silver Dollar Speedway, was consistent all night, but given the number of cautions that gave the leaders clear track it was difficult to make a run on first.
"Especially on a track like this, you like to see the yellows to get yourself out of traffic when you're leading," said Meyers, a Mean 15 racer who is second in the Outlaws championship standings. "That probably helped Craig a little. He got bottled up on a couple and then he'd get through and we would get bottled up. It's a narrow racetrack. You get two cars racing side-by-side and there's no holes. He did a great job and Tim [Shaffer] was a little better than we were tonight.
"What Chico is known for is being sticky and rough, but I haven't seen that for the last five years and the way they have the track right now is gets real slick to the curb and it's a fine line getting into the corners. You have to get in there and catch it just right and if you don't you're over the top and once it gets barely over the top there's no saving it, it's gone. To be fast you needed to get up there and pound it. You just needed to be able to do it 30 times in a row without messing up and that's hard to do."
Donny Schatz's run was one of the most stunning of the night because the cautions, five in all, gave the leaders clear track, often trapping lapped cars among the top 10 and making it more difficult to catch Dollansky. That didn't seem to affect Schatz. He started eighth and drove hard into Turns 3 and 4 on the first lap when he slipped over the banking and spun out. Restarting 24th, he picked off car after car before finally motoring into fourth on the final lap.
"I drove in there and I couldn't see a thing," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D., who won the Gold Cup title in 2004. "I was staring into a light on that building [beyond Turn 4]. It's kind of dark on the top and that thing's so narrow I blazed in there too hard and couldn't see and I got off and spun around. I've always been a come from behind racer. Just because you do something like that doesn't mean the race is over. I had 29 laps and we salvaged it the best we can.
"I don't think it's any question that the racecar is good enough that no matter where it starts inside the top 10, in 40 laps you can put it where you want it."
Brooke Tatnell gutted out a fifth-place run with his injured right hand, which was broken during a heat race last weekend at Calistoga Speedway when a rock hit him. He kept his car rolling around the top, which for many was the fastest lane around the track.
"We weren't as good in fresh air as a lot of guys were, we were better in traffic," said Tatnell, a Mean 15 racer from San Souci, NSW, Australia. "We tried to roll the top and I was actually half decent there. I got a little cautious, not because I was worried about crashing or hurting my hand or anything, I just thought if I slowed myself down I'd turn better laps. Sometimes you have to slow yourself down to go fast. You slow yourself down, you hit your lines better and you make more corner speed."
After completing the Gold Cup on Saturday night, the series heads back east Sept. 12 to Rocky Mountain Speedway in Commerce City, Colo., for a one-night Brownfield Promotions' event and onto Eagle Raceway Sept. 16-17 for the 1/3-mile Championship in Eagle, Neb.
GOLD CUP NIGHT ONE NOTEBOOK
* Craig Dollansky paced the 42 cars in time trials with a record-breaking lap of 11.281 seconds. Dollansky had broken the single-lap record last season, too, but Jonathan Allard had since bettered that mark and set the bar at 11.307 seconds, which Dollansky easily surpassed.
"It's definitely as good a start as you can get," Dollansky said. "You get points for everything you do here, time trials, heat races, and features so getting fast time is heading in the right direction."
* The three-day Gold Cup Race of Champions uses a unique qualifying points system, splitting the field over the first two days of the event before bringing it together on Saturday for the finale. Because of the format, the teams will earn a flat 75 points in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series standings following the action on Saturday night. For the event itself, drivers earn a maximum of 200 points for time trials, dropping two points by position; 100 points in heat races, dropping three points by position; and 250 points in the feature, dropping four points by position. In the C-main, drivers who fail to transfer will earn a maximum of 90 points, dropping four points by position and in the B-main drivers who fail to transfer earn a maximum of 150 points, dropping four points by position. Dollansky, who was the fast qualifier, finished third in his heat and won the A-main has an unofficial total of 544 points (200-94-250).
* Championship points leader Steve Kinser and former champion Danny Lasoski, who raced Thursday in an International Race of Champions event at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., will qualify on Friday night. In the IROC race, Lasoski finished seventh and Kinser eighth, with Kinser leading two laps. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racer Mark Martin was the winner.
* Craig Dollansky's victory Thursday night was his third preliminary feature victory of the season to go with two A-feature wins. There have been 17 different A-feature winners this season. Including preliminary events, 22 different drivers have visited Victory Lane. -- Steve Kinser's victory on Sept. 2 at Calistoga Speedway was his fourth preliminary feature win of the season. He leads the series with 17 A-feature victories. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Donny Schatz's victory on Sept. 4 at Calistoga Speedway was his sixth of the season. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora and Aug. 14 at Knoxville Raceway in the Nationals' non-qualifiers event. -- Daryn Pittman won his second A-feature of the season Aug. 21 at BMP Speedway in Billings, Mont. -- Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 at Cottage Grove Speedway and has three preliminary feature wins. -- Fred Rahmer won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.
* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky three times (Manzanita/Williams Grove/Silver Dollar), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser four times (Eagle/Billings/Elma/Calistoga), Danny Lasoski three times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Fred Rahmer once (Knoxville), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville).
* The Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway is on a quarter-mile oval. The series has raced eight times this season on tracks that size, including preliminary features. Steve Kinser won April 16 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.; Tim Kaeding won June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park in Sheboygan, Wis.; Kraig Kinser won June 14 at Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, Ind.; Brooke Tatnell won July 29 at Princeton Speedway in Princeton, Minn.; Steve Kinser won July 30 at Princeton; Kraig Kinser won Aug. 3 in Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 in Cottage Grove, Ore.; and Craig Dollansky won Sept. 8 at Silver Dollar Speedway
* In the Stacker 2® Dash that set the inside top six rows of the feature, Craig Dollansky got a great jump and easily drove to victory with Brooke Tatnell, Roger Crockett, Jason Statler, Kevin Plyant and Willie Croft rounding out the field.
* In the second Dash that set the outside top six rows in the feature, crowd favorite Tim Kaeding of San Jose slid past Tim Shaffer early on and raced to the checkered flag. Jason Meyers picked off Shaffer at the finish to steal second with Donny Schatz, Paul McMahan and Shane Stewart rounding out the field.
* Dennis Moore Jr. captured the B-main on a night where luck was going against Kraig Kinser. The third-fastest in time trials, Kinser was relegated to the B-main when contact knocked him out of his heat. More trouble in the B-main prevented him from transferring as Brent Kaeding, Matt Shelt and Danny Ochs picked up the transfer spots behind Moore. Brent Miller and Billy Cornwell transferred from the C-main to the B-main.
* The heat race action was dominated by cautions and red flags. Nobody was injured as Jason Meyers, Donny Schatz, Jason Statler and Tim Kaeding earned victories.
* After completing the Gold Cup on Saturday night, the series heads back east Sept. 12 to Rocky Mountain Speedway in Commerce City, Colo., for a one-night Brownfield Promotions' event and onto Eagle Raceway Sept. 16-17 for the 1/3-mile Championship in Eagle, Neb.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 7 the show from Grays Harbor Raceway, Sept. 14 the Harvest Classic from Calistoga Speedway and Sept. 21 the Gold Cup from Silver Dollar Speedway.