Dollansky Spoils Posse's Strong Showing in WoO Sprint Series Preliminary Feature at Williams Grove Mechanicsburg, PA -- May 26, 2005 -- The Pennsylvania Posse had been eagerly awaiting the return of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series to Williams...
Dollansky Spoils Posse's Strong Showing in WoO Sprint Series Preliminary Feature at Williams Grove
Mechanicsburg, PA -- May 26, 2005 -- The Pennsylvania Posse had been eagerly awaiting the return of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series to Williams Grove Speedway, but Mean 15 racer Craig Dollansky played the spoiler as he led the 25-lap Preliminary Feature from flag-to-flag Thursday night.
With a 45-car field full of Pennsylvania's toughest sprint car racers, Dollansky survived every qualifying step to start the feature on the pole, where he charged into the lead on the first corner and was just as strong after the race's only caution waved on the white flag lap.
As Dollansky, who won for the first time in his career at Williams Grove, smoothly worked through heavy traffic ahead of Lance Dewease, third-place running Tim Shaffer's left rear tire let go in Turn 1 on the final lap. It brought out a caution and knocked Shaffer out of an almost certain top-four finish that would have locked him into the Stacker 2® Dash for a chance at the pole Friday night.
Instead, with a green-white-checker finish, Steve Kinser surged into fourth on the restart and held on, meaning Dollansky, Dewease, Danny Lasoski and Kinser are locked into the Dash to set the top-six positions for the $12,000-to-win main event.
Don Kreitz, Jr. snuck into fifth ahead of Sammy Swindell, Fred Rahmer, Mark Smith, Daryn Pittman and Chad Layton. Only four Mean 15 racers cracked the top 10 against the always fierce racers from Pennsylvania.
"It's a very strong field all the way through," said Dollansky, a native of Elk River, Minn., who won a main event earlier this season in Bakersfield, Calif., and a preliminary in Phoenix. "Just trying to get through heat races is tough. To be locked in is nice, we're just going to have to pay attention to the racetrack, but it's definitely nice to be locked in.
"You hate to see a caution on the last lap. I felt like we had a pretty good car and things were going pretty good, but you have no idea how things are behind you and what's going on. We were fortunate to get the win tonight, we just got to keep working hard at it."
Dewease wasn't surprised by the strong performance of the Pennsylvania racers, especially in qualifying where they were particularly strong. Still, he's excited to be locked into the Stacker 2® Dash so he doesn't have to go through the qualifying process again.
"That's real important at this place," said Dewease, of Fayetteville, Pa. "It makes your day a lot easier tomorrow. We can work on feature setups only and not worry about qualifying and drawing and getting through the heats and all that good stuff so we can just concentrate on working on the feature setup and try to get a little bit better.
"Williams Grove is a little bit different from the other places they race at. Our local competition level here is pretty good. We're used to racing hard like that every week. I really wasn't worried as long as I didn't get held up in the first corner. We had a tire going down and we were just trying to get done and get to the end."
After a difficult season, Lasoski was thrilled to race his way into a top-four finish once again in a Preliminary Feature. He won the opening night event last month at Knoxville Raceway and a qualifying night at Parramatta City Raceway in Australia.
"We had nothing to lose," said Lasoski, of Dover, Mo., who has climbed back into the top-five in World of Outlaws points. "We gambled and put probably a little bit softer tire on than most guys because we knew we had to get in and get going with the season we've had. We haven't been very successful this year so right now we're pulling out all the stops to see if we can gain some positions and some points.
"We like the big, fast half-miles. My guys are working real hard with this Bass Pro Shops car to find out what the heck is going on because this is probably the worst year I've ever had in my racing career as far as not winning. We're getting frustrated, but [crew chief] Jimmy Carr keeps my head where it needs to be. He said, 'Man, you didn't forget how to drive a race car, we just got to work on this thing to get it better.' So I appreciate all that. We're just going to keep plugging away and seeing what we can do."
Steve Kinser will be looking for his third consecutive victory when the green flag drops on the main event. He has been on an impressive streak of finishing either first or second in 10 of the past 12 races to open a 187-point advantage in his quest for a 20th series championship.
"We had a little luck," Kinser said. "We weren't very good all night. I messed up qualifying both laps, but we got locked in so it wasn't a total disaster."
When the race restarted, Kinser was in fifth, one spot out of being locked in. He pushed hard when the green flag waved with two to go and dove to the low side to get past Don Kreitz Jr. and Sammy Swindell to secure fourth.
"I knew Danny and Sammy had been running the top and I didn't think they were going to get off there," Kinser said. "If I followed them on the top, [Kreitz] was going to go by me. I went down on the bottom and cut a good lap off the green and got into fourth. I was still having trouble, but I had some lapped cars sort of blocking stuff so we got pretty fortunate to get the fourth spot."
In the Stacker 2® Dash, Dollansky started on the outside of the front row, where he surged into the lead and captured the checkered flag to earn the pole position for the Preliminary Feature.
After racing his way through a heat, Tim Shaffer found himself on the pole for the second Dash and picked up the win to earn the starting position on the outside of Row 1 in the feature.
In the B-main, fast qualifier Greg Hodnett had the pole and led the way through Turns 1 and 2 as a furious threew-wide battle developed behind him for the other three transfer spots to the feature. Eventually the field fell in line with Hodnett winning and Mark Smith, Jason Meyers and Brian Leppo earning spots in the A-main. Jason Solwold and Travis Rilat finished in the top two positions in the C-main to start at the rear of the B-main.
In the first heat race, Joey Saldana started on the pole and slid into the lead going into the first turn. He took the checkered flag as Dollansky, Paul McMahan, Daryn Pittman and Lasoski earned transfer spots. Fast qualifier Greg Hodnett wound up eighth in the heat, marking the third consecutive race where the fastest qualifier has failed to transfer out of his heat.
In Heat Race No. 2, Steve Kinser shot into the lead going into Turn 1 and easily won his heat despite a caution for Keith Kaufman's flat right front tire. Kinser easily shot back in front on the restart as Sammy Swindell held off Jason Meyers for the final transfer spot.
The third heat was a wild race, with Jason Johnson winning after Tim Shaffer mounted a remarkable run to earn a transfer spot. Earlier, Shaffer, Mike Erdley and T.J. Stutts got together in Turn 2 on a restart. Erdley was unable to rejoin the heat while Shaffer went to the back of the field and still raced his way into a fifth to qualify for the feature, along with Don Kreitz Jr., Alan Cole and Mean 15 racer Jason Sides.
"Any time you come here and make it out of your heat race and into the feature, it makes it nice," said Sides, of Bartlett, Tenn. "It's tough here. Qualifying is the biggest thing here. If you don't qualify well, you're in the back of the heat and that makes it tough all night long."
Donny Schatz commanded the fourth heat from flag-to-flag while Kevin Swindell drove his way into the feature with a third-place run. The finish was made all the more exciting as Mechanicsburg native and Mean 15 racer Brian Paulus tried to make the cut with a hard charge off the final turn, just missing the transfer position by 0.075.
Greg Hodnett, the 1993 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, paced the 45-car field with a lap around the 1/2-mile oval in 17.596 seconds at 102.296 mph. Terry McCarl was the quickest of the World of Outlaws with a lap of 17.681 seconds. Brian Paulus established the single-lap record of 16.140 seconds on April 26, 2002.
"I think it was more circumstance," said Hodnett of his quick time. "The track came in late. Everybody that went out late was faster. Once the sun went down, the bottom really came in."
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series concludes its event at Williams Grove Speedway Friday night before heading Saturday to Hagerstown Speedway, Monday to Lebanon Valley Speedway and Wednesday to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
All the action from Williams Grove can be seen at 8 p.m. ET on June 8 on The Outdoor Channel. This Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The Outdoor Channel, catch the action from the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway.