PETERSEN MEDIA- After an extended trip in the Midwest with the Rudeen Racing team, Willie Croft returned home for one weekend before the Knoxville Nationals and came up just short of his sixth win of the 2016 season.
“I woke up the morning kind of hoping it was a bad dream,” Willie Croft said. “We had a really good car all night long, and I just hit the cushion wrong coming to the checkered flag.”
Taking on the King of the West Series at the Placerville Speedway on Saturday night, Willie Croft would return to the familiar WCR No. 29 machine and show speed early as he timed in third fastest in qualifying time trials.
Finishing second in his heat race, the Roseville, CA driver would finish third in the Dash aboard his Holey Smokes BBQ/ButlerBuilt/Brown and Miller entry which placed him in the second row for the 30-lap ‘A’ Main event.
On the slicked off ¼ mile bullring, Croft quickly jumped into the second spot as he chased after the early leader, Kyle Hirst. Playing a game of cat and mouse with Hirst, Croft would run in the second spot until the caution flew on the 11th lap.
The restart would see Hirst go to the bottom of the speedway, and Croft stayed on the cushion and drove around him to take the lead, but the yellow light would flicker as he raced into turn three and his pass would be for not.
With Hirst continuing to lead the way, Croft would get around him for the top spot on the 14th lap and be in the lead solidly when the red flag flew on lap 15.
Choosing the topside for the double file restart, Croft would see Hirst get a run on the bottom that would stick as he again found himself playing hunter. On the 19th lap, Hirst would make contact with the cushion and Croft would be right there to capitalize and take over the race lead.
Looking very strong out front, Croft looked to be on his way to his second KWS win of the season, but coming to the checkered flag Croft would hit the turn four cushion wrong and his machine would get over on it’s side 100 feet from the checkered flag.
“It was extremely disappointing,” Croft said. “My guys worked hard all night long, and it was looking like it would be a good night, but Placerville got the best of us again.”
Willie Croft Racing would like to thank Holey Smokes BBQ, ButlerBuilt , Brown and Miller, FK Rod Ends, Hinchman Indy, Schoenfeld, Smith Precision Products, Kaeding Performance, Dan Olson Products, Vortex Wings, Amerikote, and GUTS for their support in 2016.
2016 BY THE NUMBERS: Races-15, Wins-4, Top 5’s-7, Top 10’s-9.
ON TAP: Croft will now head to Knoxville, IA to compete in the upcoming Knoxville 360ci and 410ci Nationals with Rudeen Racing.
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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