Back in the saddle after battling through unforeseen challenges the previous night, Craig Dollansky and the Big Game Treestands #7 team wrapped up the sprint car portion of the 41st Annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals in ‘The Sunshine State’ on Sunday with a little luck on their side instead.
With two complete programs scheduled due to Friday’s rainout, racing got underway in the early afternoon as 32 cars took the green flag for qualifying with Dollansky timing in 8th quick. In the fourth heat the Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim started third and finished 4th to transfer into the main event.
In the 20-lap A-Main the MobileStar backed sprinter started inside of row eight with track conditions continuing to deteriorate as expected for a day race due to the sun, heat, and wind. Action in the feature wouldn’t stay green very long as three cars brought out the caution on the first lap. Now restarting in the ninth spot, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ muscled his way up to the 4th until two laps to go when the caution flag waved for flat tires on two cars. With tire wear an increasing concern for much of the field, Dollansky lost one spot in the remaining laps but nursed the #7 to the finish where the right-rear went flat shortly after taking the checkered flag.
After recording his 8th top-five and 11th top-ten finish in World of Outlaws competition at Volusia Speedway Park, Dollansky and the Big Game Treestands #7 team of DJ, Luke, Pete, and Brian prepared for the Sunday night-cap. Once the big half-mile track was reworked and ready for a whole new program qualifying got underway where ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ stopping the clock at 14.617 seconds, good enough for 9th fastest.
Making the 16-car heat inversion meant the Elk River, Minnesota native would start outside of row one in the first heat where he maintained the position to earn a spot in the dash. An inversion of eight for the dash saw the Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products Maxim line up outside of row two and motor up to second at the completion of the 6-lap event to earn a front row starting spot for the A-Main.
When the green flag waved on the 25-lap main event Dollansky raced wheel-to-wheel with Donny Schatz into turn one and claimed the lead down the backstretch. Setting a fast pace, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ held a second lead by the third lap and began to encounter lapped traffic a few circuits later. As the laps wound down Schatz continued his pursuit of the Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim and stole the lead at the exit of turn two with five to go. Not to be outdone, Dollansky fought back to reclaim the point out of turn four and didn’t look back taking the checkered flag to record his 5th career triumph at Volusia Speedway Park and 2nd of the weekend.
“This Big Game Treestands team is a great race team,” commented Dollansky in victory lane. “It’s a total team effort like I always say. It was a fun race and a heck of race with the track changing. It’s great to come home with a victory with the support of Big Game Treestands, Aggressive Hydraulics, and everyone behind this race team including my crew of DJ, my son Luke, Pete, and Brian, its fun winning with those guys. To end up with two victories this weekend is not easily done with this stout field of cars.”
The Big Game Treestands #7 team will now travel back to the shop in Princeton, Minnesota and prepare for the World of Outlaws early season West Coast swing that commences March 8th at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.