Ironman Three-Peat for Dollansky
August 4, 2013 | 2:23 A.M. EST
Dollansky led laps 13-23 and 30-55. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
The Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway is one of the most unique annual events on the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series tour each season, but Craig Dollansky proved once again he has the muscle to get to victory lane.
For the third consecutive year, Dollansky and his Big Game Treestands team powered to victory in the tough 55-lap event at the high-banked, 1/3-mile oval just south of St. Louis, and collected $20,000 for winning.
Dollansky, who started on the pole, and Jac Haudenschild waged a fierce battle up front as the action was wild throughout the field. Haudenschild led the first 12 laps before Dollansky slid in front on a restart. Haudenschild went back to the lead on lap 24 and held it until he climbed the wall and tumbled on a lap-29 restart, turning the lead back over to Dollansky, who ultimately had to hold off hard-charging Donny Schatz down the stretch for the win.
“That’s racing at Pevely, just action everywhere,” said Dollansky driver of the EyeCon Trail Cameras Maxim from Elk River, Minn. “We were running in lapped traffic and just trying to pace ourselves with this long 55-lap race. Ray Marler and his crew do a great job with this track and putting together a good track for the fans. It’s awesome to get the third win here. It’s such a tough race to win. To get another one here and with our teammate Sammy getting a top three as well that’s not easy to do with this field of cars.”
Schatz started 13th in the A-main and carefully picked his way up to the front to finish second, a remarkable run through the field in his STP/Armor All J&J, a car that hasn’t finished worse than third since its debut last month at Williams Grove.
“It’s fun to be able to come through the field,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “I wish we had a little better chance to win. I couldn’t get the tires going or I had a shock give up and I just couldn’t get the drive I needed. I had a restart with Craig with 10 to go and you’ve got to let the leader go. You put him on the top like this when it’s tricky and he just won’t make a mistake, so I wouldn’t say I needed a restart, but I needed lap traffic.”
Sammy Swindell earned a third-place finish, joining his Big Game Treestands teammate Dollansky on the podium, after fighting a loose race car when his right rear tire started losing air on a restart.
“We lost some air pressure on those two long reds and I just couldn’t get it back up,” said Swindell, of Germantown, Tenn. “If we could’ve got another pound and a half of air in the car it would have made it much better. It was a good night for us and we were strong all night. I would have liked to have seen a few of the restarts that we came out second stay green, but the caution kept falling.”
Paul McMahan earned a strong fourth-place finish despite contact with Tim Kaeding that resulted in Kaeding violently wrecking down the front stretch with 10 laps to go. Kaeding was OK other than a few tough feelings he promptly expressed to McMahan on the track.
Cody Darrah held on to round out the top five after running strong for much of the feature before catching a piece of debris off Haudenschild’s crash in turn two on a lap 29 restart, causing damage to Darrah’s wing.
Haudenschild looked to be the class of the field up until lap 13 when Dollansky got around him on a restart the first time. Haudenschild again took the lead on 24 and looked strong until wrecking out of the event on the lap 29 restart.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship points leader Daryn Pittman was sixth, and now owns a 71-point lead in the standings over Schatz as Pittman tries to win his first series championship as a driver and the first series title for car owner Kasey Kahne.
Steve Kinser brought out the first caution of the night rolling to a stop in turn three after contact with the wall broke the front axle. The Bad Boy Buggies crew was able to get a completely new front end on the Maxim chassis in the allotted two minutes and Kinser was able to remain in the show. It was the first of nine total cautions during the feature.
Next up, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series invades the Knoxville Nationals beginning on Wednesday night. Three days of qualifying events set the stage for Saturday’s huge $150,000-to-win main event, which Schatz has won six of the past seven years.