by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Craig Dollansky almost came out on top this year, in his 12th season on the World of Outlaws sprint cars tour.
“We were leading from July into September,” said the former Elk hockey player, “but we ran into some problems and had a couple of DNF’s (did not finishes). It came right down to the wire. All in all, we had a great season.”
Dollansky, 46, who lives in Zimmerman and has his headquarters in Princeton, was runner-up in season points as Donny Schatz of North Dakota overtook him by 9,846 to 9,732. Sammy Swindell of Tennessee was next with 9,708.
“We had as good a shot as anybody,” Dollansky said. However, did-not-finish outings caused by both motor and tire failures tipped the scales down the stretch.
Dollansky had nine wins on the tour and one in an all-star event in Florida, putting him in rare company as double-figure winner in a season lasting from February to November.
“We have seven crown jewel events, and we won two of those,” said Dollansky, asked about season highlights. He referred to the Silver Cup in Pennsylvania in July and the Iron Man (“that is considered our most grueling race”) in St. Louis in October.
Also sweet was winning the lone Minnesota event on tour, at Spring Valley Sept. 15. “It was nice to see a lot of friends and family and win, too,” said Dollansky.
D.J. Lindsey, a Wisconsin native, has been his crew chief for two years.
This marked the second time Dollansky has been second in points, the other in 2006. He’s a frequent top-five finisher.
“Without a doubt, it would be great to win one,” he said.
A tour member since 2001, he travels with wife, Julie, who runs his website, and son Lucas, a pit crew member for three years. They also have a son, Garrett, 18, and daughter, Payton, 14.
Primary sponsor for three years is Big Game Tree Stands of Windom, with an additional sponsorship from Aggressive Hydraulics of Blaine.
After closing the season in North Carolina Sunday, the Dollanskys flew home Monday. Dollansky said they’ll relax, enjoy friends and family, and celebrate the holidays, and then leave during Christmas week for their annual two weeks of racing in Australia.