PETALUMA, Calif. – Over the years, Willie Croft has routinely been a driver to beat at Petaluma Speedway, and he showed why again on Saturday night.
Croft claimed his second Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards victory in front of a packed house. His win on Saturday came aboard his familiar Holy Smokes BBQ/ Amerikote No. 29 machine and earned him the $500 Kyle Larson Racing Bonus for being a full-time team, bumping his winner’s share to $3,000.
He also earned the Metal Works Fastest Lap Award in the A-main.
“It feels great to get another win here at Petaluma and what a race that was tonight,” said Croft. “I love racing with Tim Kaeding and am glad he’s back here in California because he makes everyone step up their game.
“I can’t thank my guys enough for working so hard. We’ve been close the last few weeks and something has seemed to happen each night that kept us out of victory lane. Tonight, everything worked out in lapped traffic late in the race, so I couldn’t be happier.”
After winning the Race Punk Dash, Croft jumped into the lead at the waving of Scott Erwin’s green flag in the A-Main. Early on, he opened a sizable advantage, but as always at Petaluma Speedway, lapped traffic created exciting racing.
Through the course of the feature, there were numerous movers and shakers, as positions changed regularly during the 35-lapper. Cautions over the first 12 laps of the race kept drivers out of traffic for extended periods of time, but once green flag laps were clicked off, the action got heated in a hurry.
At lap 20 the top-three were under a blanket as they raced through heavy traffic, which allowed Tim Kaeding the chance to make a wild move off turn four and grab the lead.
Shane Golobic also flexed his muscle at that point and charged into second from the 10th starting spot. Great racing was seen all over the speedway before a caution flag flew on lap 25.
On the restart, Croft sliced around Golobic to move back into the second spot and proceeded to hound the rear bumper of Kaeding’s Josh Bates Motorsports No. 42x once traffic came back into play.
Croft raced closely behind Kaeding over the closing laps and with the white flag in the air he made his move. Croft charged to Kaeding’s inside and inched ahead as they raced off turn two. Kaeding tried to get back to his outside in turn three, but things got tight and Croft was able to clear him for good, eventually taking the checkered flag first.
Unfortunately for Kaeding he got over the right rear of a lapped car just after the checkered, getting upside down as a result but climbing out uninjured and giving Croft a big hug after the epic duel.
Golobic had a fine run to earn the final spot on the podium aboard the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 machine.
Kyle Hirst came from 14th to fourth and earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award, with Tanner Thorson completing the top-five in his Petaluma debut.
Tanner Carrick also had a strong debut at the track and brought home a career-best SCCT finish of sixth. Colby Copeland, Justyn Cox, Andy Forsberg and Tony Gualda rounded out the top 10.
Willie Croft,Tim Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Kyle Hirst, Tanner Thorson, Tanner Carrick, Colby Copeland, Justyn Cox, Andy Forsberg, Tony Gualda, Justin Sanders, Chase Johnson, Buddy Kofoid, Lucas Ashe, Jake Haulot, Zack Lynskey, Michael Ing, Sean Becker, Jodie Robinson, Matt Peterson, Bradley Terrell, Dustin Golobic, Klint Simpson, Kalib Henry.