HAUBSTADT, Ind. – April 21, 2012 – Nope, no full moon.
That didn’t stop the World of Outlaws drivers from taking part in a feast-or-famine feature on Saturday at Tri-City Speedway – arguably the smallest track the series has competed on this season.
Craig Dollansky survived a couple of run-ins and a heavy dose of thick lapped traffic to pick up his second Outlaws victory of the season and the $10,000 prize. It also extended his streak of claiming each World of Outlaws feature at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval during even years since 2006.
“I don’t know what there is to that,” he said. “It takes a team to win races and a great team, especially on this tour. It’s not easily done.
“At Haubstadt, there’s definitely a lot going on at this race track. There was a lot of back and forth, and sliding back and forth. It was great racing and that’s what you see here.”
After winning the dash, Dollansky started the 40-lap feature on the pole. Once the green flag waved, it was a no-holds-barred match between the 24 drivers in the bullring setting.
Several drivers were three wide and a couple popped wheelies on the opening lap as Dollansky took charge of the top spot. He chose the bottom line on a trio of double-file restarts in the first five laps before lapped traffic began to play a role.
With fifth-place starting Joey Saldana a close second, Dollansky entered lapped traffic on lap 11. Saldana closed within inches on several occasions as both drivers tried to maneuver around the slower cars. However, Saldana’s night ended on lap 16 when contact with Dollansky sent him airborne.
As the duo exited turn four a handful of laps prior to the midpoint of the feature, Dollansky worked toward the bottom of the track to avoid a slower driver. Saldana shot for a similar opening, but his car made contact with the left rear tire of Dollansky. The impact launched Saldana, whose car flipped several times across the finish line to bring out the red flag.
“I was working on some lapped cars and we got to the 66 car (of Alex Shanks),” Dollansky said. “I got to him a couple of times, but couldn’t get him cleared and he got us a little bit sideways on the frontstretch. As I was trying to get corrected and get going down the frontstretch, Joey was on my left rear there. I hate it for him. I hated to see him break an axel and get tipped over there. You never want to see that kind of stuff.”
After hopping out of his mangled car, Saldana found Dollansky parked in turn three during the stoppage. Saldana marched across the infield toward Dollansky to the roar of the crowd and the duo exchanged words before Saldana walked to his pit as the cars refired.
Brady Bacon dove to the bottom on the restart to capture the lead, which he relinquished a couple laps later after a broken fuel valve forced him to the infield with a 21st-place finish.
Dollansky regained the top spot and he manipulated traffic for the final 22 laps en route to the victory.
Dale Blaney capitalized on the final restart two laps before the midpoint by charging from seventh to third. After Bacon fell out of the race, Blaney advanced to the runner-up position to earn a season-best finish with the World of Outlaws.
“If you were a little bit better than a guy you could slide across and make a guy lift pretty easily,” he said. “If your car was really good you could maneuver a little bit.”
Championship leader Sammy Swindell, who entered the race with an eight-point advantage over Saldana, salvaged a third-place finish after fighting a broken right front shock for most of the race.
“I had a great car,” said Swindell, who now leads Donny Schatz by 36 points in the standings. “We just had a problem where we did a wheelie and broke a shock. I got the front up and I let it drop down too hard. We salvaged it with a third-place finish.”
Cody Darrah earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 18th to fourth and Steve Kinser finished fifth.
Stevie Smith was sixth, Lucas Wolfe seventh, Kraig Kinser eighth, Schatz ninth and Jason Sides rounded out the top 10.
Swindell, who has five World of Outlaws feature wins at Tri-State Speedway – including last season – timed in quickest with a top lap of 11.766 seconds.
David Gravel, Blaney and Kraig Kinser each won a heat race, and Geoff Dodge claimed the Last Chance Showdown.