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By: Elijah Jones
CHICO, CA (3-3-17) - The first 410 sprint car race in the state of California in 2017 hit the track at the Silver Dollar Speedway for Night One of the Annual Mini Gold Cup last night. 20 drivers signed into the pit area for the $2500 to win kick off race.
The night started off with Time Trials and the track was in prime condition for some fast lap times. Roseville, CA driver Willie Croft has always been a favorite for Fast Time at the speedway and that was no different last night as he clicked off his 22nd career fast time at Silver Dollar Speedway behind the wheel of the Holey Smokes BBQ, Amerikote #29 sprinter. Croft's time of 11.467 was just over a half second off of the track record held by Joey Saldana at 10.918. Three cars had problems in Time Trials. The #31C of Justyn Cox blew a motor coming off of turn two on his first lap of qualifying. It was a tough way to end the night for Cox who had such high expectations coming into the evening. Brian Boswell in the #5 car also had motor problems all night and would never hit the track for a competitive lap. The Chuck Wolf Sand and Gravel #19 of Chase Majdic broke a rocker in hot laps, so they were unable to make it out for time trials. They were able to get it fixed though in time to make it out for their heat race.
Three Heat Races were lined up based on qualifying results. With just 20 cars signed into the pits all drivers would make the feature event. Heat Race #1 was claimed by Paradise, CA driver Kyle Hirst driving the Roth Motorsports #83. Hirst started the race in the third position and was able to take over the lead early on in the race. Heat Race #2 was claimed by Atwater, CA resident Sean Watts in the Rolfe Construction #98 machine. It was a great way to kick off the season by Watts who won just one Heat Race all of last season. The third and final Heat Race was claimed by 15 year old hot shoe Michael "Buddy" Kofoid. Kofoid making his first start at the Silver Dollar Speedway was impressive as always as he held off the #75 of Sean Becker for the Heat Race Victory.
After the redraw it was the #83 of Kyle Hirst who would land on the Pole for the 25 lap Main Event. Sean Watts would line up alongside Hirst on the front row. At the drop of the green flag it was all Kyle Hirst. Hirst quickly jumped out front and pulled away to a comfortable advantage. That would not last long though as DJ Netto was tearing around the outside of the race track and gaining ground in the Tri-C Macine #3C. With Netto working the top side of the racetrack, Hirst continued to roll the bottom. The top of the track though was the place to be in turns one and two and it looked as though Netto was set to drive around the #83 of Hirst. Just as Netto got close enough to race for the lead, Hirst had to move up to go around a slower car and when he did he found that groove on the outside and never moved back down. At that point he was able to pull away from Netto again and regain control. Netto had his hands full with the Menne Motorsports #75 of Sean Becker who pressured him for much of the race. As the laps wound down Hirst began to encounter lapped traffic once again, allowing Netto the opportunity to close the gap. By the time the White flag flew Netto was right there and looked to be in position to make a move on Hirst for the lead. Hirst was just to strong though on the outside of the racetrack and drove to his first victory of the 2017 season. DJ Netto had to settle for a second place finish. Not a bad way to start the season, a win last week and now second last night. Sean Becker would cross the line in the third position. While Willie Croft and Buddy Kofoid rounded out the top five in the finishing order.We are set to hit the track again tonight for night two of the Mini Gold Cup with the King of the West/NARC Sprint Car Series rolling into town. Gates are scheduled to open at 5:00pm with Qualifying at 6:00pm. Stay tuned on our facebook page for any updates throughout the day. For ticket information and directions to the racetrack please visit www.silverdollarspeedway.com.