Dollansky Flexes Muscle In Edmonton
EDMONTON, Alberta — It took Craig Dollansky a while to reach Victory Lane on a chilly Friday, but it didn’t take him long to start celebrating.
Dollansky released a loud roar as he climbed onto the back of his sprint car after leading all 30 laps on the opening night of the sixth annual Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway. It was his seventh World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season and gives him a 35-point advantage in the standings.
“It was one of the best cars we’ve had in a while so it was a lot of fun to drive,” he said. “It’s fun to be up here with these Canadian fans, getting the win in front of them tonight.”
Dollansky, who started the feature on the outside of the front row next to arguably the hottest driver in the country – Donny Schatz – powered to the lead on the opening lap. Kerry Madsen then got around Schatz, who had won four of the previous seven events, for second place at the flag stand on lap nine.
The first 17 laps went caution free before the second half of the race was slowed because of five cautions, including a red flag with three laps remaining.
Marc Duperron brought out the first caution when he stopped in turn four on lap 18. Dollansky, who chose the outside lane on every double-file restart, rocketed to the lead with Madsen in tow and Schatz a close third.
Cautions occurred when Bill Rose stopped in turn four on lap 22 and when Dennis MacEachern slowed in turns three and four with front end damage on lap 23. Kraig Kinser then came to a stop on the backstretch on the restart.
“The race got a little bit long there with some of the yellow flags, but each restart I felt like we were getting a good restart,” Dollansky said.
Dollansky entered traffic on lap 27 before Wheeler Boys flipped after catching the cushion in turn three on the ensuing lap to bring out the red flag.
Joey Saldana and Sam Hafertepe Jr. capitalized on the late restart and both found grip on the bottom to propel them into podium finishes.
Saldana, who entered the event with a series-leading three wins at Castrol Raceway, diced from fourth to the runner-up position in the final three laps.
“I knew if I could get a good run around the bottom, get a run and get back to the cushion, I’d be all right,” Saldana said. “I actually wish we could have had a restart there at the end. Craig, I don’t think he even knew it was there. I think it would have been in my favor.”
Hafertepe Jr. also maneuvered toward the front late in the race and was on Saldana’s heels during the closing laps.
“The top was going away enough to where I felt like some guys were getting runs on me down low,” Hafertepe said. “I ran down there a few laps in a row and it felt really good. A lot of guys hadn’t caught on to it in front of the pack and we were able to get by a few guys.”
Cody Darrah passed Madsen for fourth place at the flag stand as they took the checkered flag.