(PETERSEN MEDIA- Chico, CA)- As the curtain went up on the 2016 Civil War Series Presented by Flowmaster season on Friday night at the Silver Dollar Speedway, it was Roseville, CA driver, Willie Croft, celebrating in victory lane after a thrilling battle with Kyle Hirst.
By way of his Dash win, Hirst would lead the field to green for the 30-lap feature event. Taking a liking to the cushion, Hirst would set an early pace as Cory Eliason, Croft, and Justin Sanders flanked him.
A couple of early cautions would slow the race’s initial pace, and on the ninth lap Croft would move into the second spot as he began to chase after the race leader. Out front, Hirst was strong as he quickly reached lapped traffic and was able to work his way through the fray with precision.
As Croft would get close to Hirst in the thick traffic, the battle for third was just as good, as 2015 Series Champion, Andy Forsberg, was giving Justin Sanders all he could handle for the final spot on the podium.
Lap 25 would see the race’s final caution flag of the night fly and the ensuing restart would bring fans to their feet for the final five laps. When the green flag waived, Croft was able to get the run he was looking for and get the lead getting into turns one and two.
Using the bottom of the speedway to take command of the race, Hirst would stay committed to the top as the duo raced side-by-side fighting for the lead.
To the crowd’s delight, Hirst would take several shots and Croft trying to reclaim the lead, but on this night Croft would fend him off and pick up a very hard fought win.
“This race was special, and is one I am going to remember,” Croft said in victory lane. “To race with my brother-in-law Kyle Hirst like that for that last few laps battling for the win was awesome and it feels good to get the win.”
Hirst would hang to finish second after dominating the early part of the race. “We had a really good car, and I have to thank the Finely’s for letting me bring their car out and have some fun,” Hirst noted. “I really want to thank my buddies and my dad for all of their help. We had a good car, but we just got beat. I want to congratulate Willie on the win, he did a heckuva job.”
In the race’s closing laps, Forsberg would get by Sanders and keep his hot start to the season alive with a third place finish.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Forsberg said. “We fell back early in the race and were able to get moving through the field as the race went on. We had a really strong PT Shocks car and we had two of California’s best finish ahead of us so we will take it and look forward to the next one.”
Sanders would finish fourth, followed by Mason Moore, Jason Statler, Robbie Price, Skyler Gee, Chase Majdic, and Geoff Ensign rounding out the Top-10.
All in all 43 cars checked into the Silver Dollar Speedway on Friday night for the series’ first race of the season and Colby Copeland was the night’s fast time qualifier.
Heat race wins went to Justin Sanders, Steven Tiner, Michael Faccinto, and Cory Eliason.
In preliminary action, Tony Gualda would win the ‘C’ Main and move into the ‘B’ Main along with Koen Shaw. Ryan Robinson would win the night’s ‘B’, and transfer into the A along with Geoff Ensign, Kenny Allen, Tony Gualda, who came from the back, Chris Martin, Garren Linder, and Koen Shaw.
Gualda’s impressive charge from the C Main would end with him finishing 12th in the feature event.
May 28th– Marysville Raceway (Mel Hall Memorial)
May 29th– Silver Dollar Speedway (Fair Race)
June 11th– Placerville Speedway
June 18th– Petaluma Speedway
July 15th– Ocean Speedway (Howard Kaeding Classic)
August 6th– Placerville Speedway (Mark Forni Classic)
August 20th– Ocean Speedway (Johnny Key Classic)
September 7th– Silver Dollar Speedway (Gold Cup)
September 17th– Marysville Raceway
September 24th– Petaluma Speedway
November 5th– Stockton Dirt Track (Tribute To GP)
ON TAP: The Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster will return to action at the Marysville Raceway on May 28th for the Mel Hall Memorial.
WINNERS: Willie Croft (March 25th, Silver Dollar Speedway)
STAY CONNECTED: Keep up with the Civil War Series Presented By Flowmaster, and find complete results and point standings by clicking over to www.racepmg.com, ‘Liking’ www.facebook.com/civilwarsprints, or following us on twitter at www.twitter.com/civilwarsprints. For more information on Flowmaster, please visit www.flowmastermufflers.com.
CIVIL WAR SERIES PRESENTED BY FLOWMASTER- Founded in 1991 as the North-South Series, the Civil War Sprint Car Series was born in 1993 giving 360ci Sprint Cars in California a sanctioning body. What started as just a handful of races at three different tracks has evolved into quite the series. In 2016, the Civil War Sprint Car Series will host 12 events at 6 different tracks around California.