Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dollansky dominates at 34 Speedway

Photo Courtesy of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars
34 Speedway in Burlington Iowa is a 3/8 mile, high banked, pure clay oval track. Its last Outlaws date was in 2009.  Friday the Outlaws returned, and they came like gangbusters and fireworks on the 4th of July. The field was stacked with heavy hitters from the Outlaw regulars to visitors Brian Brown, Danny Lasoski, Ian Madsen and Terry McCarl. However, the brightest and fastest rocket belonged to Craig “The Crowd Pleaser” Dollansky who literally dominated the night.

Qualifying for the 43 car field went quickly. The track record held by Steve Kinser, and set in July of 2008 was 12.250 seconds or 110.204 mph, would stand. Quick Time would go to Daryn Pittman, who was the next to the last car to go out. Pittman would turn a lap of 12.411 seconds or 108.774 miles per hour. The Quick Time honor would break the season tie between point leader Pittman and Paul McMahn for Quick Time awards. The rest of the top-five were Terry McCarl, Sammy Swindell, Paul McMahan and Cody Darrah.

The first heat was dominated by Donny Schatz, who was chased to the flag by Cody Darrah, Kerry Madsen, Daryn Pittman and Kraig Kinser, who all transfer to the A Main. Cody Darrah showed a resurgence of the promise he has shown in the past with a strong performance on a track he'd never raced on before Friday.

The second heat race showed great promise for David “Super Sub” Gravel as he took the checkers over Sam Hafertepe, Terry McCarl, Josh Schneiderman and Steve Kinser. Gravel, who has struggled since the return of Bill Rose and is trying to adapt his equipment to the Bill Rose Racing team, showed a strong and dominate performance in the heat race that seemed to signal a change in directions for the young man from Watertown, Connecticut. It is important to note here that Gravel drives the only MOPAR powered car on the Outlaws circuit. Rose’s car is Kistler powered or generic Chevrolet style power.

The third heat race would be won by Joey Saldana. Saldana was chased to the line by Jason Johnson in his Stenhouse/Roush Ford number 41. Sammy Swindell, Tim Kaeding and Jason Sides would round out the top five to transfer to the A Main. Saldana who has been struggling of late in the legendary Motter Motorsports 71M, had been looking forward to returning to 34 Speedway for just this reason, “This is a cool track,” said Saldana, “and the last time we raced there Donny Schatz and I battled and traded the lead. It was a lot of fun and exciting side-by-side racing through traffic. I led the first 11 laps and then Donny got the lead, but I got the lead back with four laps remaining and held on for the win. It would be nice to have an encore performance at 34 Raceway.”

The final heat race was an exciting one. Perhaps more exciting than Bronson Maeschen would have liked. Maeschen would start on the pole but on Lap 7 of the ten lap heat, while running in the second spot, Maeschen clipped the wall and lost the right rear wheel. He went full speed into the pit area through the backstretch entrance with very little control of the car. Luckily neither Maeschen nor anyone in the pits was injured. The race would be won by Craig Dollansky. Paul McMahan, Brian Brown, Lucas Wolfe, and Dusty Zomer would round out the top-five. 

The C Main was a showcase of local talent. Scheduled to start ten cars, Bret Tripplett and Dave Getchell were unable to make the call leaving eight cars to start the C. The winner would be Chris Martin who was followed closely by Jordan Goldesberry to the line to transfer to the Last Chance Showdown. Perhaps the most important thing that came from this race was the reassurance that the next generation of Sprint Car drivers is indeed talented and with some seasoning will be contending for A main spots through the heats with the Outlaws. 

The Dash was a ten lap domination by Craig Dollansky and it was telling of what was to come. Dollansky jumped out to the lead and never looked back. Even second place Cody Darrah could not close on Dollansky. Surprising in the dash was the steady fall through the field by current champion Donny Schatz. Schatz would start fourth, climb to second and finish seventh. 

The Last Chance Showdown saw a return to the track by Bronson Maeschen, and he picked up where he left off in the heat race. Maeschen would win easily over Ian Madsen, Chad Kemenah and Danny Smith. Ian Madsen, who was a race away from an Australian championship when the season began in the US, showed why he was that close. Madsen, who’s older brother Kerry is an Outlaws, regular showed the same iron will and car control that Outlaws fans have come to expect from a Madsen.

The A Main was, from the drop of the green, a lesson in domination taught by Craig Dollansky. He was on the average a second faster per lap than the rest of the field. The first red flag would fly on Lap 6, when David Gravel would flip between turns one and two. Gravel was uninjured and asked that the car be taken back to the work area for repairs. With the two-minute clock ticking Gravel’s team would come up short trapping Gravel in the work area on the green. The restart would see Sam Hafertepe Jr. hit the wall in turn one and get upside down. Hafertepe would climb from the car unhurt but his night was done. The quick caution allowed David Gravel’s team to finish repairs and get him back on the track for the restart. Since no laps had been completed he returned to the track as the last car on the lead lap and continued the race. 

The yellow flag would fly just two laps later when Terry McCarl hit a rut in the track and literally bounced all the way down the back stretch. Somehow McCarl kept it on all four wheels but spun to a stop bringing out the caution. McCarl refired the 24 and joined the field at the rear. 

The next stoppage would come on Lap 12 when Jason Johnson misjudged a slide job and clipped Daryn Pittman and put him into the wall on the back stretch. Pittman would suffer a flat right rear tire and go to the work area. Again the two-minute rule came to play. Pittman’s crew could not answer the two-minute clock and Pittman was trapped in the work area and suffered his first DNF of the season.  

From that point on it was green as grass and Dollansky literally ran away and hid. At the checkered flag he had lapped up to the eighth place car and the margin of victory for the win was 7.3 seconds. The closest to Dollansky was Paul McMahan who was a corner in front of Joey Saldana and Donny Schatz. Saldana and Schatz battled all the way to the line for the third spot with Saldana getting it by a half of a car length.

A very excited Craig Dollansky stated, “That car was fun to drive. I have a great team. We had a pretty heated meeting this week and I guess it did some good. These races are hard to win. So it feels great to have a car that was that good. The track was great on the top. I had fun out there.”

Paul McMahan said, “I tried the top in one and two but it (the car) just wasn’t good there so I dedicated myself to the bottom. Joey got a little out of shape and we got by. We just have to keep being consistent. The points will take care of themselves at the end of the year.”

For Joey Saldana the podium finish was a relief of sorts, “Yesterday we spent a lot of time in our Brownsburg shop making wholesale changes to our chassis setup,” said Saldana. “We were very enthusiastic tonight after winning our heat and finishing up front in the dash and now a podium finish in the A-Main. It seems we are headed in the right direction.” 

“This was a good effort by the whole team. We had a car capable of running up front. The World of Outlaws drivers are tough competitors and they don’t give an inch and they eat you up if you’re off just a little bit. We think we can make this car even better.” 

“We are excited to keep the momentum going into Kansas City tomorrow night, Nebraska on Sunday and beyond.”

There is a very big difference in winning a race and dominating one. When you dominate you leave little doubt who was the best driver with the best car on the night. Tonight Craig Dollansky taught that lesson beyond a shadow of a doubt. He was the fastest and brightest rocket on the track. Did he have some luck? Oh yeah he did. On the final restart he chose the top instead of the bottom as he had done all night. Joey Saldana jumped out to the lead into turn one. Brian Brown had jumped the start in the back of the field and so the start was called back. With the chance to do it again Dollansky went back to the bottom with the same results as he had had all night. Would the outcome have been the same? Without question it would have. Dollansky won the race by over seven seconds. He was a second faster than every other car on the track every lap. The second chance restart only insured that he didn’t have to try to chase down Saldana for the lead, but then again, catching them and passing them are two different things. In the end Saldana would lose the second spot to Paul McMahan so it leaves little consideration as to whether it was a second chance that won the race or just pure speed, talent and guts. 

Qualifying: 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 12.411; 2. 24-Terry McCarl, 12.475; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell, 12.502; 4. 51-Paul McMahan, 12.509; 5. 4-Cody Darrah, 12.535; 6. 49J-Josh Schneiderman, 12.549; 7. 83-Tim Kaeding, 12.570; 8. 82-Lucas Wolfe, 12.612; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.613; 10. 6-David Gravel, 12.638; 11. 71M-Joey Saldana, 12.645; 12. 7-Craig Dollansky, 12.680; 13. 29-Kerry Madsen, 12.703; 14. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 12.725; 15. 41-Jason Johnson, 12.727; 16. 96-Bronson Maeschen, 12.734; 17. 63-Chad Kemenah, 12.737; 18. 11-Steve Kinser, 12.753; 19. 7S-Jason Sides, 12.759; 20. 91-Dusty Zomer, 12.792; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 12.811; 22. 18-Ian Madsen, 12.816; 23. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 12.835; 24. 21-Brian Brown, 12.842; 25. 4S-Danny Smith, 12.851; 26. 6R-Bill Rose, 12.868; 27. 1M-Jim Moughan, 12.875; 28. 17B-Bill Balog, 12.880; 29. 33-Danny Lasoski, 12.924; 30. 7K-Dustin Selvage, 13.032; 31. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, 13.057; 32. 44X-A.J. Bruns, 13.078; 33. 44-Chris Martin, 13.134; 34. 65-Jordon Goldesberry, 13.238; 35. 84-Ben Wagoner, 13.338; 36. 22-Bret Tripplett, 13.340; 37. 53H-Matt Harms, 13.573; 38. 52F-Logan Faucon, 13.578; 39. 3-Matt Sutton, 13.610; 40. 88-Jarrod Schniederman, 13.690; 41. 16-Dustin Clark, 13.751; 42. 10T-Tim Moore, 14.091; 43. 83X-Dave Getchell, 14.228.

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [2]; 2. 4-Cody Darrah [3]; 3. 29-Kerry Madsen [1]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [4]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 6. 63-Chad Kemenah [5]; 7. 33-Danny Lasoski [8]; 8. 44-Chris Martin [9]; 9. 53H-Matt Harms [10]; 10. 16-Dustin Clark [11]; 11. 4S-Danny Smith [7].

Heat 2 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 6-David Gravel [2]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr [1]; 3. 24-Terry McCarl [4]; 4. 49J-Josh Schneiderman [3]; 5. 11-Steve Kinser [5]; 6. 18-Ian Madsen [6]; 7. 6R-Bill Rose [7]; 8. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [9]; 9. 10T-Tim Moore [11]; 10. 52F-Logan Faucon [10]; 11. 7K-Dustin Selvage [8].

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 71M-Joey Saldana [2]; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [1]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell [4]; 4. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson [6]; 7. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [8]; 8. 3-Matt Sutton [10]; 9. 84-Ben Wagoner [9]; 10. 83X-Dave Getchell [11]; 11. 1M-Jim Moughan [7].

Heat 4 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 7-Craig Dollansky [2]; 2. 51-Paul McMahan [4]; 3. 21-Brian Brown [6]; 4. 82-Lucas Wolfe [3]; 5. 91-Dusty Zomer [5]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [7]; 7. 22-Bret Tripplett [9]; 8. 96-Bronson Maeschen [1]; 9. 44X-A.J. Bruns [8]; 10. 88-Jarrod Schniederman [10].

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 7-Craig Dollansky [1]; 2. 4-Cody Darrah [5]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [2]; 4. 6-David Gravel [3]; 5. 24-Terry McCarl [7]; 6. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [4]; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman [8]; 9. 41-Jason Johnson [10]; 10. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr [9].

C-Main - (10 Laps - Top 2 finishers transfer to the B-feature): 1. 44-Chris Martin [1] [-]; 2. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [2] [-]; 3. 52F-Logan Faucon [6] [$125]; 4. 84-Ben Wagoner [3] [$125]; 5. 53H-Matt Harms [5] [$125]; 6. 16-Dustin Clark [8] [$100]; 7. 10T-Tim Moore [9] [$100]; 8. 3-Matt Sutton [7] [$100]; 9. 22-Bret Tripplett [4] [$100]; 10. 88-Jarrod Schniederman [11] [$100]; 11. 83X-Dave Getchell [10] [$100].

Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 96-Bronson Maeschen [1] [-]; 2. 18-Ian Madsen [3] [-]; 3. 63-Chad Kemenah [2] [-]; 4. 4S-Danny Smith [5] [-]; 5. 33-Danny Lasoski [9] [$200]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [8] [$180]; 7. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [11] [$175]; 8. 44-Chris Martin [13] [$160]; 9. 7K-Dustin Selvage [10] [$150]; 10. 6R-Bill Rose [6] [$150]; 11. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [14] [$150]; 12. 44X-A.J. Bruns [12] [$150]; 13. 77X-Wayne Johnson [4] [$150]; 14. 1M-Jim Moughan [7] [$150].  

A-Main - (34 Laps): 1. 7-Craig Dollansky [1] [$10,000]; 2. 51-Paul McMahan [6] [$5,500]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [3] [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [7] [$2,800]; 5. 83-Tim Kaeding [13] [$2,500]; 6. 4-Cody Darrah [2] [$2,300]; 7. 29-Kerry Madsen [15] [$2,200]; 8. 41-Jason Johnson [9] [$2,100]; 9. 11-Steve Kinser [18] [$2,050]; 10. 1-Sammy Swindell [11] [$2,000]; 11. 7S-Jason Sides [19] [$1,500]; 12. 63-Chad Kemenah [17] [$1,200]; 13. 24-Terry McCarl [5] [$1,100]; 14. 96-Bronson Maeschen [16] [$1,050]; 15. 6-David Gravel [4] [$1,000]; 16. 18-Ian Madsen [22] [$900]; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser [21] [$800]; 18. 49J-Josh Schneiderman [12] [$800]; 19. 82-Lucas Wolfe [14] [$800]; 20. 21-Brian Brown [23] [$800]; 21. 91-Dusty Zomer [20] [$800]; 22. 9-Daryn Pittman [8] [$800]; 23. 4S-Danny Smith [24] [$800]; 24. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr [10] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Craig Dollansky 1-34. KSE Hard Charger Award: 11-Steve Kinser [+9]. 

Margin of Victory 7.3 seconds.


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