Dollansky Wins 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Title Craig Dollansky is a firm believer that races are won and lost in the shop during the off-season. After joining the Larry Woodward Racing team last December, his crew led by crew chief...
Dollansky Wins 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Title
Craig Dollansky is a firm believer that races are won and lost in the shop during the off-season. After joining the Larry Woodward Racing team last December, his crew led by crew chief Mike Woodring, along with Rob Beattie and Lester Groves, put in countless hours in their shop in Minnesota, as they geared up for the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season.
In his debut with the team over the last week as part of the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, all of this hard work paid off, as Dollansky earned six finishes of sixth or better in the same number of starts to claim the overall Alltel DIRTcar Nationals title for the second consecutive season.
Among those strong runs, was a win last Friday night in the 30th anniversary season opener for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, in which he led all 30 laps.
Dollansky's visit to Volusia Speedway Park began last week, with three consecutive Top-Five finishes with the All Star Circuit of Champions. He continued to build on an impressive resume at the half-mile that includes 30 Top-10 finishes, dating back to 1996. In 11 of his last 12 starts at the track he has finished in the Top-Six.
During the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, drivers earned points each time they took to the track for time trials, heat races and their corresponding feature event. With a majority of the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series driver competing in all six nights of racing, Dollansky faced stiff competition each time he hit the track.
"It's a total team effort to be the overall champion for the second year in a row," said Dollansky, who pilots the Auto Value Maxim. "The crew guys worked so hard for six straight days. They really deserve to win this and it is quite an accomplishment for them. I am very proud of our entire Woodward Racing team."
On opening night with the World of Outlaws, he set fast time with a very solid 46-car field in attendance. He finished second in the first heat, which earned him a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he also finished second. In the A-Feature, he took the lead on the opening lap and would go on to pace all 30 laps to earn the 22nd A-Feature of his career with the series.
That consistency continued last Saturday night, as the former World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion was second fastest in time trials, won the first heat and finished fourth in the Crane Cams Dash. In the A-Feature that night, he ran in the Top-Five for the entire 30-lap distance and came home fifth.
In the finale of the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals on Sunday night, Dollansky again was fast in time trials, turning the second quickest lap of the 41 cars that took to the track. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the second heat race and a second-place effort in the Crane Cams Dash. He finished the three-day event with a runner-up finish in the A-Feature.
"We really have a good team here," noted the veteran driver. "We have a strong team put together and I am excited for head into the rest of the year to run up front and be where we were this week for the rest of the year."
With over 80 races still remaining on the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws schedule, Dollansky and his team have build a solid foundation for the rest of the campaign. He currently leads the series championship standings by 10 markers over Jason Meyers. He is tied for the series lead in laps led, and has won the most money in the opening three events. He is one of just two drives that earned Top-Five finishes in each of the three World of Outlaws events during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals.
"Getting a good start to the season is very important and I am happy with that as well," said the native of Elk River, Minnesota. "I know that if we do our job and work hard at things we are capable of winning a championship. We're just going to keep working hard at it all year long. We have to keep everything together, with our motors and stay fresh in our cars."
The field assembled for the 2008 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals was one of the strongest and deepest in the 37-year history of the event. Of the drivers entered, they accounted for well over 800 career A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws, 23 series championships and numerous other titles from coast-to-coast.
"You have some of the best teams in the world here, outside of the World of Outlaws teams," said Dollansky. "You have the Pennsylvania Posse guys and drivers from other areas, and to win this two years in a row is a pretty special accomplishment."
Dollansky, who joined the Larry Woodward Racing team in December, is helping the longtime car owner celebrate his 50th year in the sport. Adding even more to the satisfaction of his strong runs at Volusia Speedway Park, was the fact that Woodward was in attendance for all six nights of racing and was able to celebrate the team's first win together.
"I am happy to be hooked up with Larry Woodward and I look forward to the rest of the season," Dollansky said.