Rider Profile: Courtney Crone
Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Jim Thorn/BackItInPhotos.com
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, JUNE 5, 2013
Courtney Crone is just 12 but she is already an amazing front-running Junior first-division speedway cycle racer. She wears distinctive white-and-pink trimmed leathers and an Arai helmet, and has a backup 150cc cycle in her pit.
Retired AMA flat-track champion Sammy Tanner is a huge supporter of this young lady. She won features last year at age 11 on a 200cc cycle, but rule changes cut her Junior class from 200cc to 150cc this season. Tanner said the 150cc cycles are trickier to race because they don’t have as much power to use with the throttle. Courtney has mastered both 200s and 150s.
Courtney is the youngest of Jack Crone’s three daughters (ages 19, 17 and 12) and the only one interested in racing. She began racing in a number-99 quarter-midget. She is now 4 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 74 pounds. She said she wants to advance to Division One speedway cycle racing just as 16-year-old Max Ruml has done.
When asked about her ultimate racing goal, she quickly replied, “I want to race in the Indianapolis 500.”
She watched the 2013 Indy 500 on TV and knew about the four female drivers in the 500, and she said she is a big fan of Danica Patrick.
Her dad’s business involves interaction with major league racing teams. He missed her June 5 Industry victory because he was at the Laguna Seca track, on business. Courtney said she phoned him from the pits after she won, and he was elated by her success.
She races on the So Cal speedway cycle circuit at all three tracks – Costa Mesa Speedway, Industry Speedway and Pirate Speedway – and has won features at all three sites. She considers Industry her home track.
What most cycle fans do not know is that Courtney has made her auto-racing debut this season. After reaching the minimum age of 12 for racers with some racing experience, she took Ford Focus Midget training from veteran open-wheel racer/ champion Wally Pankratz. He operates an open-wheel racing school and trains Ford Focus Midget drivers with his Edmunds Autoresearch number-32 and number-37 midgets, which have made demonstration hot laps at Industry Speedway each season. Courtney raced Wally’s orange number-32 vehicle twice this season at Ventura Raceway, a one-fifth-mile clay track in Ventura, California. On March 16, Courtney started fourth and finished third in her eight-lap heat race. Then she started fourth and finished second in a four-car, 20-lap main event. On May 4, she started and finished fifth in her eight-lap heat. She started sixth and finished fourth in the 20-lap main. She raced all 20 laps both times and now ranks fourth among seven VRA drivers who earned points.
Courtney has raced in only two of the six Ventura FF Midget races. She said she is looking forward to racing one of Wally’s two FF Midgets next on Saturday, June 29, at the quarter-mile clay Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino, California. It is next to the Pirate Speedway cycle track on the Orange Show Fairgrounds, located just east of Interstate 215.
Courtney hopes to race full midgets, sprint cars, and eventually rear-engine formula cars on her journey through the auto-racing ranks on her way to making it to the Indianapolis 500.