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03/30 2018

Craig Dollansky Retires From Sprint Car Racing By:  SPEED SPORT Staff

Craig Dollansky has retired from sprint car racing. (Adam Fenwick Photo)

ZIMMERMAN, Minn. – After more than 22 seasons of racing professionally, Craig Dollansky has announced his retirement from the sport of sprint car racing.

The retirement is mostly due to several nagging injuries suffered during his racing career. Dollansky suffered a L1 burst fracture at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003 when he was competing in what is now known as the Indy Lights Series. That injury had had the potential to end his racing career.

“I didn’t want to think about the severity of my injury and still had a burning desire to compete,” said Dollansky, who fought back and returned to race in the fall of that year. “I questioned how long I could race at the highest level after my back injury, I have always worked hard to prepare mentally and physically to race.”

In another set back in 2008, Dollansky sustained a compound fracture of his right arm in a crash at Eldora Speedway. This injury kept him from completing the season with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. He was third in the points standings at the time, and had signed a contract to race for Kasey Kahne Racing the following season.

“I have been hit with many things in life, but injuries take their toll on you. I have raced with broken bones and injuries and had to do what I had to do, at times racing in significant pain,” Dollansky said.

Dollansky’s most recent injury occurred in Yuma, Ariz., during the Winter Heat Series in January of 2016.

“I knew I was hurt after crashing in Yuma, but tried to ignore the pain and allow it time to heal,” said Dollansky.

He raced that season without being aware of an additional fractured vertebra in his back below the hardware from his crash at Indianapolis.

Dollansky has been dealing with that injury for nearly two years and recently underwent a vertebroplasty, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to stabilize his spine and the pain and discomfort from the fractured vertebra. That procedure was not as successful as hoped.

After Monday’s assessment with an orthopedic surgery center in Minneapolis, Minn., Dollansky and his wife Julie discussed the prognosis and make the difficult decision for Dollansky to officially retire from racing.

“It has been a very difficult and painful situation and decision for both of us,” said Julie Dollansky. “Craig is a fierce competitor and living with him not being able to do many of the things he enjoys, but mostly not racing, has been excruciatingly difficult for our family.”

Dollansky will undergo a second spinal fusion surgery in the near future. This surgery will fuse his spine from the T12 to the L4 vertebrae, and has a recovery time of 8 to 12 months.

“I know what it took to come back racing the first time,” Dollansky said. “I am 15 years older now and feel it is too much to overcome physically to return to racing. I have been blessed to have the successful career that I did. Thanks to all the fans and friends for their support over the years, and the car owners, teams, crewmembers and manufacturers I have been fortunate to work with. You all have given me so much joy and I hope to see many of you again in the future. This is not the way I thought I would retire but I wouldn’t trade any of it for what I have received from racing.”

Dollansky and his family toured with the World of Outlaws Series from 2001 to 2013, winning 66 races and numerous events with other sanctioning bodies. Dollansky is one of a handful of drivers to win at the international level, making it to victory lane not only in the United States, but also Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Dollansky is a three-time track champion at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo., and has also promoted sprint car events in Princeton, Minn., and Spencer, Iowa, through their business CDR Promotions.

The ‘Iron Man’ of racing, Dollansky has earned the undeniable championship title 3 consecutive times at the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO.

Looking toward the future, Dollansky has accelerated his plans to establish a dirt track racing school and driving experience.

“If I am not able to keep doing it myself I would still like to be involved with racing,” said Dollansky. “Many signs are pointing me in the direction of a dirt track driving school. It would be a way for me to remain involved, promote the sport and work with and teach potential drivers the ropes with out going through the school of hard knocks the way I have. The grueling travel schedule with the Outlaws never allowed me to coach my kids in sports or racing, and this was always something I felt like I would have enjoyed. I would have a lot of passion and desire to help guide aspiring drivers young or old to achieve their goals in racing.”