Shawn Croll has distinguished himself as a driver to watch in the Best in the Desert racing series. The Gibson Performance Exhaust-sponsored racer began racing in class 10, worked his way up into the unlimited opened wheel class 1500 over several seasons, and is now competing against the best off-road racers in the world behind the wheel of his Grove Lumber #32 Trophy Truck.
At the Silver State 300 race, he landed on the podium in third place. We took the opportunity to chat with him and get his take on the event, what he learned from it, and what he plans to do to make 2015 a landmark year for himself and his team.
Shawn Croll: Thank you! I started 9th due to a sloppy qualifying run but quickly made my way up to 4th physically on the road by mile 100. I was running in 3rd place on corrected time; only 20 seconds out of the lead. I was running good but clipped some rocks on the outside of a turn and got a flat tire. That allowed 5 guys or so to get around me while we stopped to change it. This course is very narrow, especially in the trees. It’s nearly impossible to pass on this course. We got stuck behind a class 1500 car the rest of the way and finished right on his bumper! We still managed to get past a few guys though and salvage a podium finish!
ORX: You had a tough one at the Mint 400 finishing 24th; what happened there?
SC: Once again, I was running well there. We started 13th due to a spin out in qualifying. After lap 1 I was physically in 6th. At mile 90 of lap 2, I lost a driveshaft that took out my rear brakes and rear end gear. We were able to patch it up enough to make it to main pit where we fixed everything. We were happy just to get to the finish.
SC: I am! We built a set of headers for the truck to fit our chassis. Gibson supplied me with some custom mufflers specifically for the Trophy Truck application. The Gibson 24-inch-long mufflers keep performance up and help cut down on cab noise!
ORX: Does a quieter truck help you concentrate better during the race?
SC: It makes it much more comfortable to drive without all that noise in the cab. It’s a lot easier to communicate with my co-driver, so I guess the answer is yes, it does.
ORX: Last year you got stronger as the season went on, finishing 6th in points. This season, you are currently sitting in 6th place again. Are we going to see another surge like last season?
SC: I sure plan on it! We started the season off well with a 4th at Parker and a 3rd at the SS300. I usually do well at the upcoming Parker two-day race and Henderson. I hope to get a win or two to help get me that #1 plate! I have shown I have the speed, now I just need some good luck and a clean run.
ORX: You raced unlimited opened wheel cars for years, and now race a Trophy Truck. Do you prefer a truck, or is it the competition that draws you to the Trophy Trucks?
SC: I had some good times in the buggies with some wins, and I won a Class 10 championship, but Trophy Trucks are awesome! I love the driving style of trucks. They can do incredible things. The competition is amazing nowadays, and we continually have one of the biggest class entries at any race. I love competing with the fastest guys out there. It’s pretty awesome racing against drivers like Rob Mac and Robby Gordon!
ORX: You have a break until Vegas to Reno in August, what are your plans during the lull in action?
SCl: Since this is our longest break of the year, it’s the perfect time to give everything much-needed attention. We will be servicing chase trucks, servicing the prerunners, making component updates on the race truck, and organizing the shop. We will have everything in top notch form for Vegas to Reno and continue with a solid run for the last half of the season. I hope to represent Gibson with a podium at Vegas to Reno.
Croll and his crew have until August 13th to have everything nailed down and ready to go. We wish them the best in the meantime, and invite you to check out the full scoop of Gibson parts and products by checking out the company’s website and Facebook page.