Series 2008 drivers preview - Craig Dollansky

2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Craig Dollansky Ever since joining forces with Larry Woodward Racing in early December, Craig Dollansky has been counting the days until the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of...

2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Craig Dollansky

Ever since joining forces with Larry Woodward Racing in early December, Craig Dollansky has been counting the days until the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener, the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.

He has just about three weeks left to wait, as the first green flag of the season will wave on February 8 at the half-mile in the Sunshine State.

"I am very happy with how things have come together," Dollansky noted. "Everybody has been working very hard and I think we are prepared. We have a little more work to do, but come that first race in Florida, we'll be ready to go."

After winning three times with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2007, Dollansky traveled to New Zealand in the off-season, where he was victorious at Western Springs Speedway. He is currently in Australia where he will compete three consecutive nights this week at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway.

"It's always good to get some wheel time in the off-season and stay in race trim," said Dollansky. "It's been a couple of years since I ran in Australia, so I am really looking forward to that and then getting ready to race in Florida."

While Dollansky will be with a new team this year, there will be many essential pieces in place from 2007. He will have Mike Woodring back as crew chief, along with crew member Lester Groves, who joined forces with Dollansky during the second half of the 2007 season. Rob Beattie also has joined the team as the third crew member. The team will utilize a Maxim chassis with Charlie Garrett engines, the same combination that Dollansky ran last season.

"The team has come together very well, and having the same chassis and motor program as well as having Mike back as crew chief has us very excited about this race team for the new season," said the native of Elk River, Minnesota.

In 2007, Dollansky recorded 48 Top-10 finishes en route to a seventh-place finish in championship points. It was the sixth time in his career that he finished in the Top-10 in the final standings. He was one of just six drivers to lead more than 150 laps of feature racing competition during the year, on his way to wins at Skagit Speedway in Washington, Lake Ozark Speedway in Missouri and I-96 Speedway in Michigan. He also won the 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.

"A lot of the things we did last year will be part of the team we have assembled for this year," explained Dollansky. "We're just trying to adjust to some of the areas that plagued us last year, some of the things were in our control and some were not in our control. We expect to go out and work hard each night this year and have a good strong year. I'm excited for the team as well as all of the people involved in it."

Last season, Dollansky opened the year with consistency in Florida to claim the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals title at Volusia Speedway Park, after competing in all six nights of sprint car racing. He earned five Top-10 finishes during the week and firmly entrenched himself in the Top-10 in the championship standings with the series.

"It's always good to get off on the right foot in Florida, but you also have to carry that all through the season," said the former World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion. "Last year we had a pretty good start, not as good as we could have been as far as winning races, but we did win that title down there. I've won races before at Volusia and East Bay (Raceway) and you just want to go down to Florida and get your equipment sorted out as quick as possible. We did change a few things with our program that will make us better for the upcoming year, so we will be working on some of that kind of stuff and just try to get things rolling as quick as we can."

Dollansky and the team, which is based out of his state-of-the-art shop in Minnesota have been working hard all winter to make sure they are ready for the always demanding World of Outlaws season which stretches from February until early November. Among the dates on the 2008 schedule, is a two night show at Princeton Speedway in his home state of Minnesota in October, which he and his wife Julie will help promote again this season.

"I feel that 85 or so races is a good number for the World of Outlaws and that is basically what we are used to," he said. "It looks like it has come together a little bit better this year as far as logistics go. It's a matter of being prepared for that long schedule and having everything in order as best as you can."

Dollansky heads into this season with one major goal and that is to contend for the World of Outlaws title. In his career, he has finished fourth or better in points on five occasions, including in consecutive years from 2004-2006.

"We fell short last year in the championship point race as far as where I thought we should have been," said Dollansky. "We've been working hard here and trying to work on some of the areas that we struggled with last year. We have to stay focused on having a good strong season and contending for the championship. I wasn't happy with our season last year. 2006 was a good season for us and we need to be more in line with that this year. We'll be focused on working hard on our entire program and going out there and winning races."

The 2008 season will mark the 50th year that Larry Woodward has been involved in racing, and Dollansky and the team will help him celebrate the feat. During that span, he has not only owned cars, but also driven in some races and promoted events.

-credit: woo

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Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Craig Dollansky