MESQUITE, Texas — Rolling into the Devil’s Bowl Speedway for the first time in 14-years, Roger Crockett picked up his first career victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and seventh with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by Sawblade.com in Friday night’s opener for the 45th annual Winter Nationals.
“Al Parker got this thing done in less than two-weeks,” Crockett said of his new KPC sprint car. “I wasn’t sure when I was really going to be able to run my car, so to be here is amazing. I left about 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday to get the engine from Al, drove back, then me and Brandi [Crockett] got everything put together. If it wasn’t for her and the how fast Al got the engine done, there is no way I could have made this races plus Johnny and Ann [Herrera] helped get our generator fixed, too.”
Drawing the pole for Friday’s 25-lap feature, Crockett assumed the lead only to have a caution flag bring the field back into formation. Martin Edwards controlled the restart, but it was called off by a red flag for Robbie Price.
Trailing Edwards on the third green flag, Crockett fell to third as Travis Rilat rode a huge run on the cushion to advance from sixth to second through the first two turns.
As traffic loomed at the race’s halfway point, Edwards and Rilat worked a cat-and-mouse game with Rilat’s momentum stripped away as the engine expired under the bonnet of the ShopTheBoss.com No. 1. That moved Crockett to second.
An inadvertent caution flag on lap 19, saw Crockett put the center groove to work on the restart.
“He [Martin Edwards] was setting a good pace and running good laps, and honestly, when that caution came out I knew the center was starting to take rubber, and it’s just a matter of time,” said Crockett.
Working in Edwards’ tire tracks as the field put lap 20 in the books, Crockett peeled out of line as the pair raced into the third turn. Turning down the track through turn four, Crockett caught the middle to make the race-winning pass.
“I got a really good run off of turn four on the restart, and had enough to work by him on the next lap, but the car was just perfect,” he explained.
Holding off a restart charge by Sam Hafertepe Jr. in the Hills Racing Team No. 15h, Crockett took the victory.
Wayne Johnson raced from seventh to third, while Canadian Skylar Gee celebrated his 19th birthday by romping from 18th on the grid to finish fourth. Matt Covington was fifth.
A field of 31 was on hand to open up the 45th Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals.
Roger Crockett, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Wayne Johnson, Skylar Gee, Matt Covington, Sammy Swindell, Johnny Herrera, Blake Hahn, Harli White, Scott Bogucki, Seth Bergman, Chris Martin, Tony Bruce Jr., Danny Jennings, Justin Henderson, Alex Hill, Ray Allen Kulhanek, Jamie Ball, Kade Morton, Martin Edwards, Travis Rilat, Robbie Price.