By Jeffrey Sachse
May 4, 2014; Oshkosh, WI. – Craig Dollansky was only off pace in his arrival at the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway as the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series presented its second event of the 2014 season. Arriving just in time for qualifying, Dollansky, the 2000 World of Outlaws series champion, was able to quickly adapt to the slick racing surface and after 25 laps of A-main action found himself recording his 10th career series victory outrunning a determined Steve Meyer by 8 car lengths for the win.
After a modest qualifying, effort Dollansky put on his “A-game” taking a victory in his heat race and then charging through the field from his 9th place starting spot. Taking the lead position from Mike Reinke who had looped his ride while leading in turn four as lap eight was about to begin.
Once Dollansky inherited the lead he would manage to keep a small lead through several restarts to collect the win. Meyer actually closed in the final laps as Dollansky reached lapped traffic but was unable to mount a serious challenge taking runner-up honors eight car lengths behind Dollansky’s tail tank. Scott Uttech rebounded from a wild tumble at Wilmot Raceway the night prior to today’s event collecting a solid third place performance.
“It was a long trip from Knoxville last night”, noted Dollansky on his arrival at the track just in time for the show. “We got ready as quick as we could. I was surprised how well the track held up for a day show. Starting ninth in the feature I wasn’t sure what to expect but the track had a couple nice grooves. Getting to the lead early on helped, later on it started rubbing up on the bottom and we just wanted to make sure would could get to the end.”
Meyer was happy with his second place showing. “For a slick race track it was actually a lot of fun. Craig ( Dollansky ) has a lot more time in the car than us, but I thought if I can just stay up there I’d have a good run”, said Meyer. “Toward the end of last year we really stepped up our program”, noted Meyer on his performance.
Rebounding from his accident at Wilmot Uttech was pleased with the third place run. “I love running at Oshkosh. When it gets slick it gets racy. It laid some rubber down in the bottom and we ran down there. It’s is pretty cool for us because we had such a rough night last night”, noted Uttech.
The late Sunday afternoon races took place under sunny skies and windy conditions contributing to a slick racing surface which required finesse to navigate with the 900 horsepower winged sprints.
Mechanical ills befell several teams which would whittle the field down to the 22 starters for the A-main.
2013 Rookie of the Year, Jeremy Schultz, sat on the pole for the contest with Reinke to his outside. Meyer took the green flag from the third position. The trio would square off on the opening laps each briefly holding the lead before Reinke and Meyer broke away running wheel to wheel. Reinke would officially pace the first lap before slowly gaining the upper hand in the challenging high groove.
Schultz was running in the third spot when he lost traction in turn two doing a quick 360 spin while the filed all successfully avoided his errant mount. He would resume the race from the tail of the pack with 20 cars still on the racing surface.
Rienke was back to setting the pace when action resumed again preferring the high line to repel the challenges of Meyer who held fast for second. Dollansky would tussle with Scott Biertzer for the third position. Biertzer, making his first start in nearly two seasons, made Dollansky work for every inch before finally succumbing to Dollansky’s challenges.
Dollansky now began to duel with Meyer for runner-up honors allowing Reinke to pull away. The runner-up battle intensified as Dollansky and Meyer traded the spot on several occasions before Meyer surrendered the position.
Dollansky now sought to close the gap on Reinke when Reinke suddenly slipped on turn four spinning his car but managing to keep it out of the racing groove as the field sailed past.
The spin would relegate Reinke to the tail of the field and Dollansky suddenly now found himself with the lead for the restart on lap eight.
With the green flag waving again Dollansky grabbed control of the pace with Meyer giving chase. Meanwhile Uttech found himself in the third position just ahead of a position swapping duel between rookie of the year contender, Scott Thiel, and six-time series champion, Bill Balog, who was seeking his fifth straight victory at Oshkosh Speedzone.
The race past the halfway point with Dollansky still showing the way and Meyer seemingly unable to close on the leader. Meyer would get his opportunity however on lap 14 when Schultz again tripped up this time taking a spin in turn three.
Action returned and the final 11 laps of the contest would go without interruption. Dollansky again got the jump on Meyer who spent the duration of the contest trying to close the gap on the high flying Dollansky.
Lapped traffic on the final two circuits allowed Meyer to close slightly but Dollansky was able to navigate the lapped cars as the white flag fell and spent the final circuit comfortably riding the cushion out front taking the checker eight car lengths over Meyer. Uttech worked the low groove to perfection throughout the contest to garner third.
Thiel came out on top of the battle with Balog earning fourth place honors in a backup car as his main ride encountered mechanical ills earlier in the evening. Balog completed the top five and, though he was unable to contend for the win, became the only driver to record two top five runs this season.
Biertzer in his return to the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints netted a sixth place run just ahead of Bill Rose, the point leader heading into the contest.
Reinke blazed back through the field up to eighth after his earlier spin while Russel Borland and Lance Fassbender completed the top ten finishers.
18 cars were still on the track at the checker with 16 still on the lead lap.
In earlier action Dollansky, Reinke and Scott Neitzel collected heat race victories.
Balog set the pace in qualifying turning in a lap of 13.071 seconds for the fastest lap of the day. Phillip Mock was second quick with a 13.268 second trip around the third-mile semi-banked oval while Neitzel posted the third fastest lap with an orbit of 13.335 seconds.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints now head to Beaver Dam Raceway for their next show. The event will be held on Saturdaynight May 17th.
The 2014 Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series season will consist of 30 shows to be held at 15 different area tracks.
IRA proudly moves into 2014 backed by its long time supporting series partners led by title sponsor Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, and associate series partners Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Hoosier Tire, Cummins Onan, and Carriage Auto Body.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints are a featured member of Racetext.net a website dedicated to bringing fans the best possible coverage of local short track racing.
For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com or by logging onto the series Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/irasprints the series is also on twitter at #IRA_sprints.
Event # 2- Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway – Oshkosh, WI – May 4, 2014
Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 7X-Craig Dollansky; 2. 85M-Steve Meyer; 3. 7-Scott Uttech; 4. 64-Scotty Thiel; 5. 17B-Bill Balog; 6. 4B-Scott Biertzer; 7. 6-Bill Rose; 8. 02-Mike Reinke; 9. 23-Russell Borland; 10. 7F-Lance Fassbender; 11. 68-Dave Uttech; 12. 35-Ben Schmidt; 13. 79-Blake Nimee; 14. 4K-Kris Spitz; 15. 1M-Phillip Mock; 16. 53W-Bill Wirth; 17. 38-Allen Hafford; 18. 94-Brandon Thone; 19. (DNF) 5J-Jeremy Schultz; 20. (DNF) 43-Jereme Schroeder; 21. (DNF) 73-Dennis Weisner; 22. (DNF) 2W-Scott Neitzel
Weld Racing Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 7X-Craig Dollansky; 2. 85M-Steve Meyer; 3. 5J-Jeremy Schultz; 4. 17B-Bill Balog; 5. 7-Scott Uttech; 6. 4K-Kris Spitz; 7. 43-Jereme Schroeder; 8. 79-Blake Nimee
Diversified Machine Inc. Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 02-Mike Reinke; 2. 35-Ben Schmidt; 3. 7F-Lance Fassbender; 4. 53W-Bill Wirth; 5. 4B-Scott Biertzer; 6. 38-Allen Hafford; 7. 73-Dennis Weisner; 8. (DNF) 1M-Phillip Mock
All Star Performance Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 2W-Scott Neitzel; 2. 6-Bill Rose; 3. 23-Russell Borland; 4. 64-Scotty Thiel; 5. 94-Brandon Thone; 6. 68-Dave Uttech; 7. (DNF) 41-Dennis Spitz; DNS 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski
Osborn & Son Qualifying: 1. 17B-Bill Balog, 13.071; 2. 1M-Phillip Mock, 13.268; 3. 2W-Scott Neitzel, 13.335; 4. 7-Scott Uttech, 13.436; 5. 4B-Scott Biertzer, 13.506; 6. 6-Bill Rose, 13.626; 7. 85M-Steve Meyer, 13.638; 8. 02-Mike Reinke, 13.698; 9. 68-Dave Uttech, 13.743; 10. 5J-Jeremy Schultz, 13.776; 11. 38-Allen Hafford, 13.790; 12. 23-Russell Borland, 13.957; 13. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski, 13.997; 14. 7X-Craig Dollansky, 14.059; 15. 7F-Lance Fassbender, 14.144; 16. 94-Brandon Thone, 14.217; 17. 4K-Kris Spitz, 14.415; 18. 35-Ben Schmidt, 14.421; 19. 41-Dennis Spitz, 14.464; 20. 79-Blake Nimee, 14.472; 21. 53W-Bill Wirth, 14.558; 22. 64-Scotty Thiel, 14.685; 23. 43-Jereme Schroeder, 14.692; 24. 73-Dennis Weisner, 15.671; 25. (DNF) 95A-Ken Jay Fiedler