PETERSEN MEDIA- Saturday night in Chico, CA, Willie Croft had a really strong racecar in the 40-lap Fall Nationals feature event. The Roseville, CA driver ran in the top-three most of the race but running on a rubber down surface, Croft would lose grip in the final laps and hang on to finish eighth.
“We had a really fast racecar Saturday night, but I smoked the tires off and just hung on as long as I could,” Willie Croft said. “I have to thank my guys for their hard work, and it was a promising night for us. Hopefully we can keep this speed up as we head back to the Short Track Nationals.”
The 25th Annual Fall Nationals kicked off on Friday night with 57 cars packing into the Silver Dollar Speedway pit area. With qualifying split into two flights, Croft would time the Holey Smokes BBQ/ButlerBuilt/Brown and Miller backed No. 29 in quickest in flight two.
Lining up in the second row of his heat race, Croft would do some moving and shaking as he worked his way forward to finish second and earn a spot in the Dash as well as the feature event.
Finishing sixth in the Dash, Croft would take the green flag for the 30-lap feature event in the third row. When the race came to life on a very tricky and treacherous surface, Croft would run in the sixth spot during the opening laps as he ran in a tight pack of cars.
On the sixth lap, Croft would hit the cushion wrong in turns three and four and it would result in him getting off the racing surface and losing a ton of track position as he slipped back to the 14th spot.
Falling back to 20th on a mid-race restart, Croft would pick up a couple of positions in the final 15 laps as he closed his night out with a 17th place finish.
Back in action on Saturday night, Croft again got off to a great start as he earned his second quick time award of the weekend and took home $300 courtesy of Man Camp Motorsports.
Working his way to a hard fought second place finish in his heat race, Croft would again move into the Dash where a fifth place finish lined him up in the third row of the 40-lap feature event for the second night in a row.
On a very slick surface that was also abrasive, Croft would get off to a good start and quickly find himself up in the third spot battling with second running Shane Golobic and fourth running Jonathan Allard.
As the laps clicked off, rubber would begin going down on the speedway and tires would become an issue. Working in the rubber, Croft seemed to be faster than Golobic at times but was unable to get by him.
In the race’s closing laps Croft’s tires would completely burn up and he would be unable to make grip and held on as long as he could. Slipping out of the groove, he would fall back to finish eighth.
“We missed it in a the feature a little on Friday, but Saturday night I thought we were really good,” Croft added. “We had good speed, but once the tires burnt off I couldn’t make grip and we slipped back a few positions.”
Willie Croft Racing would like to thank Holey Smokes BBQ, ButlerBuilt , Brown and Miller, FK Rod Ends, Hinchman Indy, Factory Kahne, Schoenfeld, Smith Precision Products, Kaeding Performance, AL Drivelines, QTM, XYZ, Dan Olson Products, Vortex Wings, Amerikote, and GUTS for their support in 2017.
2017 BY THE NUMBERS: Races-42, Wins-1, Top 5’s-10, Top 10’s-18.
ON TAP: Croft will be off this weekend due to the fact that his team will begin their trip to Little Rock, AR for the Short Track Nationals taking place at I30 Speedway October 12-14th.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Willie Croft Racing by visiting www.williecroftracing.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @WillieCroft29.
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