Keeping Pace

Duel in the Dakotas at River Cities Speedway

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Craig Dollansky won at River Cities Speedway in 2000. The native of Elk River, Minnesota has finished eighth or better in all four of his career starts at the track. He is currently sixth in points on the strength of 19 Top-10 finishes as he seeks his first win of the year driving for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Courtesy: World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Grand Forks, ND—June 16, 2009—After the largest crowd in the history of River Cities Speedway saw the World of Outlaws do battle at the high-banked bullring last season, more history will be made in 2009, as the series will pay two separate visits to the track, with the first of those coming this Friday, June 19 as part of the annual Duel in the Dakotas.

Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending series champion and North Dakota native, won at River Cities Speedway last season for the first time with the World of Outlaws, after Jason Meyers and Kerry Madsen got tangled up battling for the lead. Schatz inherited the lead at this point, which was lap 36. On the restart, he was passed by Craig Dollansky exiting turn four. He quickly battled back and on the very next lap shot around Dollansky coming off the second turn to take the lead and ultimately the win This all came after he recovered after a heat race accident relegated him to the B-Main after beginning the night by setting fast time. He won the B-Main handily and lined up 11th in the A-Feature event. Schatz enters this weekend’s event with seven wins on the season and is the current series point leader.

Joey Saldana who leads the World of Outlaws with 10 A-Feature wins this season was victorious at River Cities Speedway in the series debut at the track in 2007. He followed that up with a third-place performance last season.

Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, is a former winner at River Cities Speedway, as is Jac Haudenschild, who was recently inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

The Duel in the Dakotas will kick off on Thursday, June 18 with a Meet & Greet at the Canad Inns hotel located at 1000 South 42nd Street in Grand Forks, North Dakota from 6-8 p.m. Central. Drivers will be on-hand signing autographs and meeting with fans. Also, a number of the driver’s merchandise trailers will be open for fans to purchase souvenirs.



Slidejobs- River Cities Speedway:

Native son: Donny Schatz, who hails from North Dakota, has won twice in his career at River Cities Speedway, with his win last year being his first with the World of Outlaws at the track. He was quickest in the time trials at the track last season turning a sub 10-second lap. He is the current series point leader as he chases his fourth consecutive title. He has 15 career wins in his home state entering this weekend’s trio of races.

“Grand Forks is a small track with high banking and a lot of excitement,” said Schatz. “It’s pretty intense at that place. We had a pretty good run there last year.


On the podium: After winning in the World of Outlaws debut at River Cities Speedway in 2007, with a clean sweep of the racing program, setting fast time, winning a heat and winning the dash, Joey Saldana backed that up with another podium performance at the track last season, finishing third. The second generation driver leads the World of Outlaws with 10 A-Feature wins this season including two last weekend as he chases his first series title. He is currently second in points, 50 markers behind Schatz.


Not far behind: Steve Kinser, the 20-time series title winner is currently third in points, 23 markers behind Saldana and leads the series with 22 Top-10 finishes and is tied for the series lead with 15 Top-Fives. He finished ninth at River Cities Speedway last season.


Looking for redemption: Jason Meyers came within five laps of winning at River Cities Speedway last season. The California native was out front for the first 35 laps of the contest before contact with Kerry Madsen who was battling him for the lead forced him to the work area to repair front end damage. Meyers has won three times this season and is fourth in points.


Knowing the track: Jason Sides has the most starts of any full-time World of Outlaws drivers at River Cities Speedway and has six career Top-10 finishes at the bullring, including last season. He is off to the best start of his career with the series and moved into the fifth spot in the championship standings after two sixth-place efforts last weekend. He has 18 Top-10 finishes on the season.


Front runner: Craig Dollansky won at River Cities Speedway in 2000. The native of Elk River, Minnesota has finished eighth or better in all four of his career starts at the track. He is currently sixth in points on the strength of 19 Top-10 finishes as he seeks his first win of the year driving for Kasey Kahne Racing.


Past winner: Danny Lasoski, the 2001World of Outlaws champion, won at River Cities Speedway in 2006. The native of Dover, Missouri won his first race as part of the Parsons Motorsports team earlier this season. He is currently seventh in the series standings, less than 25 points out of the Top-Five.

Another winner: Jac Haudenschild was victorious at River Cities Speedway in 1999. He has made five career starts at the track and has finished seventh or better in all of them. The recent inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame is closing in on his first win of the season and has recorded 10 Top-10 finishes.


Strong on the high banks: Kraig Kinser has four career Top-10 finishes in five starts at River Cities Speedway. The native of Bloomington, Indiana is solidly in the Top-10 in the series standings this season on the strength of 12 Top-10 finishes.

“It’s off to North Dakota for three nights of racing,” said Kinser. “If we can keep qualifying and getting into the dash races like we have been, I think we’ll be battling for wins in the future.”


First timers: Lucas Wolfe, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht and current rookie contender Brian Ellenberger, both will make their debuts at River Cities Speedway this weekend. Wolfe competed in North Dakota for the first time with the World of Outlaws last season, while Ellenberger, who picked up a career-best third-place finish last weekend, will be making his first ever trip to the state to race.


Looking for that first win: Sam Hafertepe Jr. finished fourth at River Cities Speedway last season in just his second career start at the track. He finished a career-best second earlier this season with the World of Outlaws as he continues to chase his first win with the series and finished third in the series most recent event last Saturday night. He is just outside of the Top-10 in points.


By the Numbers: Duel in the Dakotas at River Cities Speedway:
0.3-Miles around River Cities Speedway
1- Driver competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that hails from North Dakota, Donny Schatz
2- Events contested by the World of Outlaws at River Cities Speedway dating back to 2007
3- Drivers that led laps in the A-Feature at the track last season
4- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature events with the series over the past two seasons
5- Events this season for the World of Outlaws in the state of North Dakota
9- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season who competed at River Cities Speedway last season
9.66- Track record at River Cities Speedway set in 2007
10- Drivers that have won A-Feature events this season with the World of Outlaws
12- Drivers that have been quickest in time trials this season
16- Drivers that have won a Crane Cams Dash this season to earn a pole position in 2009
21- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature events this season
27- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws this season
35- Laps led by Jason Meyers at the track last season
39- Drivers that competed with the World of Outlaws at River Cities Speedway last season
50- Points that separate Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana atop the series championship standings
222- Laps led by Joey Saldana this season to lead the series
896- Miles from Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas where the World of Outlaws competed on June 12-13 to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota
2007- Year the World of Outlaws first competed at River Cities Speedway
10,000-Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, June 19
51,690- Dollars in the total purse on Friday, June 19




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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