Danburg, Hadler, Robbins win main events at Champion
Appeal Sports Writer
Three drivers who have proven they can win races – Chet Danburg, Kim Robbins and Denny Hadler – all added to their collections and did so under memorable circumstances Saturday night at Champion Speedway.
Robbins won her sixth Hornets main event of the season, but her first under the division’s new minimum weight requirement. Meanwhile, Hadler reversed a month of frustration when he won his third Legends main event, but the first since May 21. And Danburg, a four-time track champion, bested a field of six cars in the Late Model Sportsman division to win his first main event of the season.
“I finally won one … but there were only five other cars,” Danburg said, flashing a grin.
Though small, it was a quality field that included Al Goss and Joel Worley, who had combined to win the previous four Sportsman main events this season (Goss three and Worley one). Danburg took the high line to an early lead and then held off Worley to take the checker flag.
“You’ve got to put it in your head, you’ve got to calm down and run smooth,” Danburg said. “That’s all I tried to do, to be calm and run smooth. I knew I had a good spot. I just wanted to make sure Joel didn’t blast by underneath.”
Danburg added a word of thanks to his sponsors, Darrel and Patti Page as well as the Horseshoe Club, “They’ve supported me for years. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”
Robbins strapped an extra 170 pounds to the back end of her Honda to reach the Hornet division’s 2,200-pound minimum weight limit, then she went out and won her sixth main event in seven outings this season. The extra weight didn’t seem to phase the “Bad Girls Racing” driver because she worked through the field by the end of the first lap, then sliced between Chris Walton and Shawn Chaufty to take over second-place on Lap 2, and finally got past Jason Bilek on Lap 5 to take the lead for good.
Sandy Clark finished second, Greg Schmidt third, Bilek fourth and 16-year-old Chris Walton fifth. Earlier, Walton sped to his second trophy dash victory in as many weeks.
Robbins said she noticed the extra weight on the track.
“It was all over the place. The weight was throwing the back end around,” she said. “I got to where I could allow the weight in the back to carry itself through the turn. That and I try to look far enough ahead so I can plan my moves well in advance. I can’t try to do too much. I’ve got to allow myself a little more time to make a move. I just want to be safe.”
Earlier in the week, Robbins said she considered retiring for the season.
“We’re committed to work on the military car, so we wanted to come back for that,” Robbins said, referring to the Bad Girls Racing team’s work on the U.S. Marine Corps car driven by Chaufty. “But if I feel it’s unsafe to the other drivers for me to be out there with this extra weight, especially if it gets worse than it was tonight, I won’t be out to race anymore.”
Hadler, who has been plagued by ignition problems in his No. 9 car for the past month, moved past Bill Brown on Lap 2 then outlasted Jim Klopp and Mackena Bell to win the 30-lap Legends main event. Hadler also won his heat race in what turned into a successful evening overall.
“It feels good to be up front again after 4 DNF’s in a row,” said Hadler. “We’ve had a lot of ignition problems. It seems to be an internal problem inside the box. We still haven’t fixed it. Today, we just loaded the car up and hoped for the best.”
Hadler was cruising along with his lead until Klopp moved up and mounted a challenge in the final four laps.
“I was just trying to take it easy. My mirror is broken so I didn’t see Jim coming up, then all of a sudden, there he was,” Hadler said. “That was a great race on Jimmy’s part. It was just a good race … a good clean race for 30 laps with no accidents or anything like that.”
Klopp finished second and Bell bolstered her bid to take over the division’s season points lead as she finished third. Bell also won her third trophy dash of the season and finished second behind Hadler in the second heat race.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.