PETERSEN MEDIA- For the second year in a row, Willie Croft looked to be well on his to winning the season opening KWS event. In 2016 a late incident in traffic knocked him out of contention, and on Saturday night he was simply dominant until issues on lap 28 forced him into the pits.
“It was a good night, a really good actually until about two laps to go and we ran out of fuel,” Wille Croft said. “It’s frustrating for sure.”
The first car to ever take a qualifying lap on the 1/3 mile facility in Bakersfield, CA, Croft would end up timing his Holey Smokes BBQ/BulerBuilt/Brown and Miller backed No. 29 machine in third quickest in the session.
Lining up in the second row of his heat race, the Roseville, CA wheelman would do a little moving and shaking as he would finish in the second position and advance to the nightly Dash.
With the inversion pill being a ‘0’, Croft would line up on the front row of the six-lap shootout and by way of the win, he would line up on the pole for the 30-lap feature event.
Having lane choice for the initial start, Croft would opt for the outside lane as he had taken a liking to the track’s high groove. When the green flag dropped, Croft was hard on the throttle as he jumped out to the early lead and quickly opened up a sizeable gap on the rest of the field.
A couple of timely cautions on laps six and 15 would get Croft out of traffic and into clean air, as he continued to show the way and simply dominate the race. Never seriously challenged in the race’s first 27-laps, Crofts machine would sputter on the 28th lap as the red flag quickly flew for an un related incident.
Sitting on the backstretch under the stoppage knowing his machine was empty, Croft held out hope officials would open the red to pit crews. Not quite that lucky on this night, Croft would relinquish the lead as he had his machine pushed back to the pits.
“We had a really good car, and being out in the lead I pushed it really hard and we ended up coming up short,” Croft added. “All we can do now is come back next week and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
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-10, Wins-0, Top 5’s-2, Top 10’s-2.
ON TAP: Willie Croft returns to action on Saturday night in Placerville, CA.
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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