Just three weeks into the season, Kim Robbins and her little red Honda appear to be running away from the Hornet class at Champion Speedway.
After all, she sped to a clean sweep on the class and won her third straight main event on Saturday night. And to put an exclamation point on the evening, "Bad Girls Racing" swept the top two spots in the main, with Robbins driving her No. 47 car to the checker flag ahead of Kris Keller.
To listen to Robbins, however, she has good cause to be running so hard.
"I'm running right now ... from that car and from this one, too," she said afterward, pointing first to McCool's white No. 66 and then to the red 42x Keller drove to second-place. "I just try to stay out front, but I keep looking in my rearview mirror and Andy's always there."
McCool is the track's defending Hornet champion and still the driver to beat, she insists.
"Andy is breaking in new tires right now; he falls off in the turns, but once he breaks those tires in, I'm going to be in trouble because he's got the fastest car. Sandy Clark has a very fast car, too. She's taking a break right now, but she'll be back on (June) the 4th and she'll be right up there."
Robbins sure looked like she was in charge on Saturday. She qualified with the fast time at 16.94 seconds - the only driver under 17 - then won the trophy dash after she surged into the lead at the end of the first lap. She won the heat race, then blew into the lead on the second lap of the 10-car main event and never trailed again.
But Robbins said she did look back.
"It got closer there at the end. On lap 18 it started to slip on the turns and I really had to hang on," she said.
Keller, who is driving the 42x right now in place of Stephanie Crawford (Kim's daughter), made a move at the start of Lap 24 to pass McCool en route to second-place in the main.
By the way, Keller happens to be co-crew chief for "Bad Girls Racing" along with Mike Robbins - Kim's ex-husband.
"We're trying to keep it a family thing," Kim Robbins said, adding that her No. 47 used to be the regular family car. "We started coming out here together to watch the races, then we helped crew for Chet (Danburg) and Kris (Keller) and just got the racing bug."
Denny Hadler was another repeat winner when he took the checker flag in the 30-lap Legends main event Saturday night. Hadler, who left the track early after he lost oil one week before, passed Brent Holman at the end of Lap 16 to take a lead he never relinquished. Holman finished second, followed by Fred Handley and Jack Randall. Mackenna Bell, who won her second trophy dash in three weeks earlier in the evening, passed three cars in the final seven laps to finish fifth.
Action continues this Saturday when Champion hosts its "Salute to Indy" show which will include a 100-lap Sprint Car main event - a California Asphalt Sprintcar Association field that will include Carson City's Bob Beck and Minden's Amy Barnes - and a 50-lap Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets feature race.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.
Main event: 1, Steve Gannon; 2, Danny Knight; 3, Byron Gonzales; 4, Melissa Davis; 5, Mike Garcia; 6, Chet Danburg; 7, Mike Lehman; 8, Don Lehman; 9, Richie Crowell (99 laps); 10, Scott Chappel (66 laps); 11, Christina Davis (66 laps); 12, Gary Glenn (37 laps); 13, Travis Combs (29 laps); 14, Chris Baker (27 laps); 15, Bobby Butler (21 laps).
Trophy dash (6 laps): 1, Glenn; 2, Gonzales; 3, Craig Paulsen; 4, Danburg; 5, Shane Klein; 6, Garcia.
Fast time: Klein 13.54
Main event: 1, Denny Hadler; 2, Brent Holman; 3, Fred Handley; 4, Jack Randall; 5, Mackena Bell; 6, Terry Madjeski; 7, Gary Hale; 8, Chris Handley; 9, Bob Cose; 10, Lester Mitchell.
First heat: 1, Hadler; 2, Fred Handley; 3, Hale; 4, Bell.
Second heat: 1, Chris Handley; 2, Jim Klopp; 3, Randall; 4, Holman.
Trophy dash: 1, Bell; 2, Hadler; 3, Fred Handley; 4, Klopp.
Fast time: Hadler 14.63
Main event: 1, Kim Robbins; 2, Kris Keller; 3, Andy McCool; 4; Greg Schmidt; 5, Bill Holbert; 6, Jason Flores.
Heat race: 1, Robbins; 2, McCool; 3, Keller; 4, Flores.
Trophy dash: 1, Robbins; 2, Holbert; 3, McCool; 4, Tiffany Mans.
Fast time: Robbins 16.94.