It's been one of "those" seasons for Willie Croft and his Holey Smokes BBQ/Christian Stover Foundation/ButlerBuilt/K&N Sprint Car. The Sacramento, California driver has been bit by bad luck all season long. But things are starting to look up for Croft, who is chasing fellow K&N driver Jonathan Allard in the King of the West (KWS) championship with a quarter of the season remaining.
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"Overall it's been a decent season," Croft told K&N News. "We had a few changes to our team and it's taken a little while for them to gel, but it feels like things are coming together for us as the season moves along, which is good with some big races coming up."
Croft sits sixth in KWS points, almost 200 points behind Allard. But he is less then 70 points behind second-place Brent Kaeding, and if you look beyond the A-Main event finishes, Croft is having a season that rivals Allard's. After 14 of 20 events, Croft actually leads the series in Heat Race victories with 6, two more then anyone else. He is also the only driver running KWS full-time that has multiple Fast Time awards. But the finishes just didn't come early in the season.
"The KWS season got off to an absolutely horrible start for us. We had a handful of DNF's that put us behind the eight ball. We've picked it up as of late with some strong finishes helping us climb up the points standings. But in a series that only has 20 races, to have four DNF's is really hard to make up."
Croft thought he might be in for a springboard-type of weekend at the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup in Alger, Wash. But after a decent night on Thursday and a mid-pack finish on Friday, rain twice washed out the final day of an event that looked promising.
"The Dirt Cup is a tough race with very tough competitors. We were plenty fast all weekend long and sat inside the top-10 in points after Thursday. Unfortunately on Friday there was a wreck in front of us and with the dust, it was really hard to see. We just barely got caught in it, and had to go to the back. We worked back up to 13th, but that was about where we started so we slipped in points."
King of the West Race Series driver Willie Croft
"I am planning on going back up for the make-up race in August so hopefully we can have a good finish in the 'final night.'"
Croft is optimistic about the remainder of the season, and he thinks the team is knocking on the door of a hot streak.
"At this point in our season we are still looking for that defining moment. We have had some flat bad luck followed by some strong runs, but I think if we can have that one night where we can put on a charge from the back, or pick up our first win of the season, it will lead to a string of good things."
"We are starting to put together some good finishes, so I'm really excited about just getting to the track each week because we are knocking on the door for a win or two as the KWS season comes to an end. I have an opportunity to run a 360ci race for another guy out here at a few races as well, so that will be a nice bonus."
And if Croft does find victory lane, K&N will be right there with him.
"K&N Filters provide us with the components we need to put a strong car on the track each week. So much of what you see on the track comes from the tools and products you prepare your car with off the track, and K&N is second-to-none in providing us with great products."
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.