Craig Dollansky is a threat whenever he rolls into Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. Having captured the past two ‘Ironman 55’ crowns, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ has an outstanding record of finishing first or second in seven of his past nine appearances at the high-banked facility. On Saturday the Eyecon Trail Cameras #7 team returned to the 1/3-mile aiming to defend the grueling 55-lap main event.
Located just south of St. Louis, Missouri, 34 drivers signed in for competition with the Aggressive Hydraulics Maxim turning the 9th fastest lap in qualifying. Earning a front row starting position for heat race one, Dollansky powered into the lead and raced to the checkered flag to earn a spot in the dash. A favorable six pill inversion then put the #7 outside pole for the dash and, similar to the heat, the Elk River, Minnesota native motored to the win to claim his 5th pole position this season.
After the Eyecon Trail Cameras #7 team of DJ Lindsey, Sean Michael, Luke Dollansky, and Pete Stephens made final preparations for the longest race of the season, the green flag waved on the 55-lap main event. Following a caution on lap 1, Dollansky raced early leader Jac Haudenschild through lapped traffic by just lap 7 until the next caution came five laps later. A great double-file restart saw the MobileStar backed entry throw a slide-job on the #59 into turn 1 taking the top spot and running the cushion working through lapped traffic. When Haudenschild took the lead back before a caution on lap 25, Dollansky waged a strong battle with Cody Darrah for second as they exchanged slide-jobs with the #7 holding the spot and then closing on the leader before the next yellow on lap 29.
Inheriting the lead after a red flag on the ensuing restart, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ pulled away as feature action resumed extending his lead through lapped traffic until another red by lap 43. Following the final caution two laps later, Dollansky again chose the outside for the double-file restart and fended off charges in the final 10 circuits motoring to the checkered flag for the 6th time this season and earning his third consecutive 55-lb. dumbbell trophy.
“It was a hard fought battle and great job by this Eyecon Trail Cameras #7 team which is a strong team,” commented the driver of the Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products sprinter. “With heavy hearts I lost my uncle this past week and I wasn’t able to fly home for the funeral, that’s the tough part about this business. To my mom, my uncle Mike and their family, this one is for them and I wish I could have been there. It’s awesome to get this victory and pay tribute to him.
“We have such a great support system behind this team, the manufacturers come into play with such a long race like this and everybody did their job. It was an awesome race and hope the fans enjoyed the show. The track was changing and there was some good hard racing with Jac and Cody and that’s action-packed racing at Pevely.”
The Eyecon Trail Cameras #7 team will now head to Knoxville, Iowa for the Capitani Classic tonight in preparation for the biggest week of the year, the 53rd Annual Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.
Photos courtesy of Mark Funderburk and Kelly Brown
|FIELD: 34 CARS|
|QUALIFYING: 11.960 – 9th|
|HEAT RACE 1: 1st, start (2)|
|DASH: 1st, start (2)|
|A-MAIN: 1st, start (1)|