– With four nights of action packed racing leading up to this weekends Dirt Cup taking up last weekend, Willie Croft is virtually please with his results and will look to build on the momentum as he competes in one of the biggest races on the West coast this weekend.
Action kicked off Friday night at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico , CA and Croft’s night got off to a sub par start as he timed in right in the middle of the pack.
Scoring a second place finish in his heat race, Willie lined his Holey Smokes BBQ/Christian Stover Foundation/ButlerBuilt backed entry up on the seventh row on the very narrow speedway.
With the only grip right around the bottom of the speedway, Croft slowly worked his way through traffic, and was able to sneak inside the top-10 as he tallied a ninth place finish at the finish line.
“Chico wasn’t very racy on Friday night, and starting back in the pack really made it tough to go anywhere,” Croft explained. “We got to rolling the bottom pretty good, but we were only able to work up to ninth.”
Saturday night saw the Willie Croft Racing team check into the Southern Oregon Speedway in in Medford, OR for the finale of the Cancen Oil King of the West Series double header.
Stopping the clocks with the fastest lap during time trials, Croft’s third place finish in the heat put him in the dash, which he won, and ultimately started the 30-lap feature on the pole.
Croft grabbed the early lead aboard his Hinchman Racewear/FK Rod Ends/A.R.T. machine as he fended off Tim Kaeding and Jonathan Allard early.
A few untimely caution flags hurt Croft, as he lost a couple spots on each restart and ended up finishing in the seventh spot.
“It sucks to not win when you start on the front row of one of these races, but we weren’t very good on restarts tonight, and fell back to the seventh spot.”
Sunday night the team headed up even farther north as they took part in a non-sanctioned 410ci race at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR.
Timing in third quickest, Croft made it through his heat and the dash and ended up lining up for the 40-lap feature event in the fourth row.
Croft got off to a slow start as he hung around the eighth spot as he looked to be biding his time.
As the race began to wind down, Croft began rapidly picking off cars as he worked the Cottage Grove Speedway to perfection as drove up to the third spot out of turn four on the final lap.
“I absolutely love the Cottage Grove Speedway, and the car was really good towards the end of the race,” said Croft. “My guys did a great job working their butts off all night, and it is always nice to be standing on the front stretch.”
Monday night was another ‘Open’ show at the Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR in what would be the final race in the “Road to the Dirt Cup” as Tuesday’s event would later be rained out.
Timing in sixth fastest, Croft was scheduled to line up in the second row of the second heat, but after the front row crashed, he moved up to the outside pole, and simply dominated the heat, transferring to the dash.
Finishing sixth in the dash and starting sixth in the feature, Croft was running in the fifth spot when the caution flew on the fourth lap.
Under the caution, Croft was forced to the work area with a flat right rear tire, and was relegated to restarting in the back of the pack.
With a worn out tire bolted on his car, Croft was able to work the ultra slick surface all the up back up to the ninth spot, but got passed and slipped back to tenth on the last lap.
“All week long we have been pretty solid, and could easily have four top-five finishes if it isn’t for a little bad luck,” Croft explained. “I’m really excited for Dirt Cup, especially with how competitive we have been the last few nights after the horrible start to the season we had.”
Willie Croft would like to thank Holey Smokes BBQ, The Christian Stover
Foundation, ButlerBuilt , Brown and Miller, Sander Engineering, FK Rod Ends, Hinchman Indy, Schoenfeld, K&N, Smith Precision Products, All Pro Cylinder Heads, Shark Racing Engines, A.R.T., M.R.O. Industrial Supply, Redline Oil, Kaeding Performance, PaPa’s Beef Jerky, Dan Olson Products, Vortex Wings, AIC Powdercoating, Les Schwab, and GUTS for their support in 2012.
ON TAP: Willie and his twenty-nine team will now gear up for the 26th Annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup that goes green on Thursday June 14th and runs through Saturday June 16th.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Willie by visiting www.williecroftracing.com or following @WCroft29 on Twitter.