Hadler, Goss, Robbins win Champion main events
Appeal Motorsports columnist
After having its regularly scheduled season opener rained out one week before, Champion Speedway dodged the weather on Saturday night and got in three divisions of racing on a dry track.
However, the Western Modified division, with many of its drivers coming over the hill from California, was cancelled out of concern for the weather.
The entry-level Hornet division led off the racing action and female drivers proved they’re more than a match for their male counterparts.
Twelve of the four-cylinder powered mini-racers took the green flag for a 25 lap main and rookie Chris Walton of Carson City took advantage of his front-row starting position to lead the first half-dozen laps.
Behind him Kim Robbins of Reno and 2004 Hornet Champion Andy McCool of Carson City were charging through from the back of the pack.
Robbins, a young lady who finished third in points in 2004, kept her Honda in the high groove, which seemed to work well for her. So well in fact, that she took the lead on lap 7, with McCool moving into second spot right behind her.
Another female driver, Sandy Clark of Reno, was hooked up with Tony Polistena as both charged through the field, Clark taking over third on the eighth circuit. Robbins and McCool opened a gap to the rest of the field, but by lap 15 were into lapped traffic.
McCool made up some ground on the flying Robbins in traffic, mounting a terrific charge on the last lap. Robbins held on by a couple of car lengths as the pair sandwiched a slower car at the checkered flag. Clark was third, Polistena fourth and Bill Holbert of Carson City rounded out the top five. Justin Myers was sixth, the last car on the lead lap. One lap down were Walton, Shawn Staggs, Bill Bernard, Cody Oden, Tiffany Mans, and Steve Planka.
Clark won the trophy dash and the first heat race, with Robbins taking the heat two win.
Fifteen of the popular Legends cars answered the bell for their 30-lap main. With the field inverted, fast qualifier Denny Hadler, Jr. of Reno started at the back alongside second-fast qualifier Mackena Bell of Carson City.
Reno’s Lester Mitchell led at the green from his front row starting spot, but the fast cars at the back immediately started their charge through the field. Jack Randall of Reno moved to fourth on lap three, then took over third on the next circuit. Gary Hale of Sparks took over the lead from Mitchell, but Randall was on his rear bumper by lap seven.
A caution flag for a spinning Jason Anderline of Reno on lap nine bunched the field, and Hadler took the opportunity to move to third on the restart. By lap 10, Randall had the lead with Hadler right behind him in second. Hadler, not satisfied with this state of affairs, blew by Randall on lap 13 for the lead. At the halfway point, Hadler began to pull away, while Hale recaptured second from Randall, Incline Village driver Terry Madjeski was fourth, and Jim Klopp of South Lake Tahoe rounded out the top five.
Five laps later Hadler had stretched his lead to a full straightaway and Klopp had taken over second. Then Randall and Hale collided on the back straight, spinning Randall and bringing out another caution flag.
Another caution flew on lap 24 for Charly Baron of Carson City, but Hadler and Klopp easily pulled away from the field on both restarts. Behind them Hale, Madjewski, Bob Cose of Sparks, the father/son team of Chris and Fred Handley of Sparks, and Bell were locked in a nose-to-tail battle for third through eighth.
And that’s the way it ended, with Hadler taking his first win since being injured in a horrific accident halfway through the 2004 season.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to win again,” said Hadler after the race. “Patience was the key tonight. I stayed on the bottom until the top groove came in, and then I was able to hold everybody off. I owe this victory to my dad, who prepares the car, my girlfriend Ciara, who’s always there for me, and Western Nevada Supply, who provided an awesome car.”
Klopp, back after a year’s hiatus, finished second. Hale was third, followed by Madjeski, Cose, Chris Handley, Bell, Fred Handley, Randall, Glenn Parman, Anderline, Tim Farquhar, George Weeks, Mitchell, and Baron.
Bell won the trophy dash, with Klopp and Hale taking the heat race victories.
The last race of the evening was the Late Model Sportsman contest, with ten cars taking the green for 30 laps of racing. And green it was for most of the race, with the fast cars at the back of the inverted field working their way through traffic.
Pole sitter Vince Malone of Sparks took off like a scalded cat at the start, and soon built a huge lead. Carson City’s Joel Worley experienced an early problem and coasted into the pits after only three laps. Behind Malone, Ed Goss of Carson City battled with Carson City’s Bill Gould and Christina Davis of Santa Rosa, Calif., for second.
Al’s brother, Big Ed Goss, charged through the field, taking over fourth on lap eight, with teammate Chet Danburg in tow behind him. Malone encountered lapped traffic on lap 12, while Davis took over second and Al Goss moved to third. Danburg closed up in fourth, and the two Quicksilver Racing cars hounded Davis for second.
Disaster struck for Malone on lap 20, when he collided with a pair of lapped cars, sending Bill Gould off the edge of turn four into the sagebrush. Carson City’s Chris Betz was also involved. Malone recovered to keep his position, but his half-lap lead had evaporated.
On the restart Al Goss snatched second from Davis, then stalked Malone for three laps before blowing by him on the back straight.
“He (Malone) was doing a lot of blocking, but I made some moves off of two and he fell for it,” Goss said with a laugh after the race.
Behind him Danburg moved to second, with Davis and Malone battling for third until Davis spun on lap 26. She was pushed to the pits to change a flat tire, and rejoined at the rear of the field for the final restart. Al Goss got a good jump with Danburg a couple of car lengths behind.
“I had (Al) in my sights, but he cooled his tires down on that last yellow, then finagled me on the restart,” said Danburg.
At the checker it was Al Goss, Danburg, Malone, Ed Goss, and Matt Collier of Carson City in the top five spots. Betz took sixth, followed by Gould, Davis and David Korhummel.
Next Saturday night Champion Speedway again hosts the Late Model Sportsmen, Legends, and Hornet divisions.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m., with qualifying at 6 pand racing at 7. Call 888-9777 for ticket prices and further information.
n Contact Roger Diez at Racytalker@aol.com