The Big Game Treestands #7 team opened up racing in California on Saturday as they returned to Silver Dollar Speedway for one of the biggest events each year in ‘The Golden State’, the Mini Gold Cup, an event Craig Dollansky finished fourth in 2009 when the World of Outlaws last sanctioned the event.
With a stout field of 38 sprinters signed into the pit area, the Karavan Trailers Maxim was the final car out to qualify but still turned the 11th quick time to earn a front row starting position in heat race action. In the third heat race, Dollansky powered the Aggressive Hydraulics #7 out to the early lead front the outside pole and never looked back leading all ten laps. Luck was in favor of Dollansky for the dash inversion as the six pill was drawn, meaning ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ would start outside the front row where he would go on to finish 2nd.
“We drew the last pill for qualifying but it didn’t really hurt us, quick time was fairly early in the qualifying order,” said Dollansky. “We ended up getting 11th quick which put us in a good position for the heat race inversion. After winning the heat race it got us in the dash mix and we got a good draw for the dash to put us on the front row.”
Scheduled to go 35 laps for the Mini Gold Cup, Dollansky lined up along side Donny Schatz and got a great start to lead the field into turn one. The native of Elk River, Minnesota set a strong pace as he opened up a one second lead by lap four and began encountering lapped traffic by just the seventh circuit before the first caution came out. On the double-file restart, Dollansky chose the outside line to bring the field up to speed and pulled away to maintain the lead. After a caution on lap 26 was followed by a red flag, the Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products #7 again widened the gap in the remaining nine laps to cruise to the checkered flag and record the first victory of the 2011 season for the #7 team.
“Starting position was in our favor all night long but we’ve been on the flip side of that coin this year as well so it was good to get a good start and capitalize on it,” commented Dollansky who scored his fourth win at Silver Dollar. “We had a great car all night long and this was a great team effort. We weren’t real good in Las Vegas but we learned some things there to help us at Chico and applied that. This was our second night back with the Morrison motor and we also learned some things there that caused us trouble in Florida. It’s good for the entire team to get a win fairly early in the season.”
Two nights of racing await the Big Game Treestands #7 team this coming weekend as they return to Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway on Friday for the first time since 2003, followed by their annual trip to Thunderbowl Raceway the next night on March 19th.
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