Croaker Continues Progression in NOSA Sprints
Jack Croaker remembers his first night behind the wheel of a NOSA Sprint Car well in 2015.
“I had my wife record it, and I started watching the video, and I go, ‘when do I start?’ And she goes ‘that’s as fast as you go,’” Croaker said.
That was seven seasons ago. The 28-year-old from East Grand Forks has come a long way since then. While he’s still searching for his first win, he’s become a solid competitor in the Buffalo Wild Wing NOSA sprints; this season he is sixth the series point standings.
Croaker has five top five finishes in 18 starts this season. In his last five starts, he’s finished in the top six each time. At River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, his home track, he’s fifth in the points.
“Very good,” Croaker said of the season. “I don’t think we missed the top eight redraw for 10 races in a row.”
Croaker spent 10 years in the go-karts, and after attending college, decided it was time to buy a sprint car.
“I had a buddy that was racing sprint cars, and we were both making about the same amount of money,” Croaker said. “I said shoot, I can race sprint cars there. I just saved up and bought one.”
He was the 2015 NOSA Rookie of the Year. It was a learning curve in a difficult class loaded with tough competition.
“It’s so, so hard to be good, and it takes a lot of practice,” Croaker said. “The faster you go, the better a sprint car works. You’ve got to drive faster for the wing to work. The harder you drive, the easier it is. It’s super tough to learn. Once you get the hang of it, it’s like you are at a different level than what you came from.”
He went through three years plagued with engine troubles. That has changed since upgrading his engine program.
“This year and last year, we started buying nice motors,” Croaker said. “We went for three seasons straight without finishing a race because of motors.”
Croaker, who works for the city of East Grand Forks, has nine runner-up finishes in his career, so he’s close to that first win.
“We know on any given night we have a shot to do it,” Croaker said. “Stuff has to come together. I feel like once the first one rolls in, they’ll just keep following through.”
How does he describe being behind the wheel of a 1,425-pound car with 800-900 horsepower?
“It’s absolutely unreal,” Croaker said. “There’s really no way to explain it.”
NOSA Sprint #8Ball
Residence: East Grand Forks, Minn.
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