Progression is key in nearly everything. In racing it’s important to take care of the task at hand and continue to improve. For the Big Game Treestands #7 team, 2012 was a year of progressing in nearly every category and although the season had difficult outcomes on some nights, there were also many strong showings and stretches that highlighted the year. Here is a monthly recap of how it went…
February: With the season once again opening up in Florida, Craig Dollansky scored his first win on just the second night of action with the All-Star Circuit of Champions. Following trouble during the World of Outlaws opener, the #7 team persevered during a doubleheader by earning a top-five and victory to cap five-consecutive nights of racing.
March: The first West Coast trip saw the team endure Mother Nature which rained out two events. Of the five events completed, the Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim captured their best finish with a runner-up at Thunderbowl Raceway in California.
April: Traveling to the Midwest, inclement weather again played a role at a few events. Of the five races contested, the month was highlighted for ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ with his second Outlaws win of the season coming at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana where Dollansky scored his 4th win in the past 7 events at the ¼-mile bullring. The month came to a close on the 28th during the first visit of 2012 to the famed Knoxville Raceway where Big Game Motorsports put on a dominant performance finishing 1-2.
May: The season started gaining speed as ten events along the East Coast saw the #7 team also pick up momentum scoring 7 top-tens with 5 in the top-five including the victory and near sweep during a dominating performance at Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland.
June: Heading for the summer months and warmer temperatures, Dollansky scored his next victory at I-96 Speedway in Michigan. Running mainly in the Upper Midwest, the MobileStar backed sprinter totaled top-tens in 9 of the 10 events with 5 of those being top-fives.
July: With thirteen events on the docket, the schedule approached the halfway point and the team scored a huge win at Lernerville Speedway as part of the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30’s, along with earning the overall event champion. After picking up their next victory just five days later in New York, the Big Game Treestands #7 team captured top-fives in each of the next four events during the first Canada swing and ended July by soaring atop the World of Outlaws championship standings.
August: Nothing is bigger each year than the Knoxville Nationals. After charging in their prelim night, the team tallied the second most points to earn a front row starting spot in the 50-lap finale and scored a podium finish in the 52nd running of the prestigious event. After picking up the overall four-race Kasey Kahne Challenge by finishing 5th at Junction Motor Speedway in Nebraska, the team set a torrid pace not placing outside of sixth in as many events including a triumph north of the border at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton.
September: On the West Coast for the second time, the Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products Maxim started strong but ran in to some tough luck during the Gold Cup relinquishing the points lead. The team then returned to the Midwest as Craig and wife Julie once again promoted the World of Outlaws at Clay County Fair Speedway in Iowa where Dollansky looked to defend the event leading much of the race before a lapped car spun in front of the #7.
The team found victory lane the very next evening in Dollansky’s home state of Minnesota at Deer Creek Speedway for their ninth Outlaws triumph of the season. Heading out East to Lernerville Speedway, the #7 team was poised for another victory at the ½-mile but suffered engine woes while leading with three laps remaining. The month came to a close at Williams Grove Speedway during the 50th running of the National Open where ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ set a strong pace but once again got collected with a lapped car while leading.
October: With only two stops on the schedule, the month featured a return to Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Missouri for the event rained out in April and the Ironman 55 A-Main that was postponed from August. Dollansky, the defending champion of the most grueling race of the year, put on a battle around the high-banked bullring to capture the $20,000 victory.
November: All dirt roads led to North Carolina as the season came to a close during the three-day World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. After starting on the front row for Friday’s program before suffering a tough finish just outside the top-ten, Dollansky stormed into the lead around the midway point the following night but cut a tire while leading, taking away what would have been a strong finish in the season finale.
Led once again by crew chief DJ Lindsey, Luke Dollansky and Sean Michael also played a significant role in the #7 team finished a strong 2nd in the overall point standings along with part-time members Pete Stephens and Nathan Brady. Not only did the team improve their position in the championship standings from 2011 but also progressed in top-tens, top-fives, and quick-times from the previous year.
With the season now complete, the Big Game Treestands #7 team is back in chilly Minnesota making preparations for the upcoming year that will see Dollansky carry the Eyecon Trail Cameras brand for Big Game Motorsports. The 2013 World of Outlaws season will once again get underway in Florida on February 15th at Volusia Speedway Park as part of the DIRTcar Nationals.
2012 By the Numbers (Rank)
Standings: -114 (2nd)
Wins: 9 WoO (3rd) & 1 All-Stars
Feature Laps Led: 320 (1st)
Top-Fives: 34 (2nd)
Top-Tens: 51 (3rd)
Pole Positions: 7 (2nd – tie)
Qualifying Quick-Times: 9 (2nd – tie)
Qualifying Bonus Points: 121 (3rd)
Heat Race Wins: 16 (3rd)