Greg Stapleton defended Shadybowl Speedway with a home track victory in the first leg of the Robbie Dean Memorial Series. Now it’s the Columbus crew’s turn.
Drivers from Shadybowl and Kil-Kare Speedway head over to Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday in an attempt to steal a victory from the CMS locals. They’ll have to find a way around Chad Pendleton, who leads the late model points at Columbus with three victories and seven top-three finishes in 10 races.
“I’d like to say between the three of them Columbus is probably our best shot of getting one,” Pendleton said of the three-race series that also visits Kil-Kare in August. “We should have a good solid field. Columbus is tough. It’s tough to pass and you’ve got to have a car that’s consistent especially being 94 laps. …
“It changes how you attack the race track or how you let the race play out. On a normal Saturday night race you have a short amount of time. I like the longer races. I like where you don’t have to put yourself in a wreck or in a bind in the first 15-20 laps. If you can pace yourself and get in the top five then you can see what you’ve got.”
Troy’s Stapleton enters Saturday’s race with a five-point lead over Dayton’s Donnie Mahaffey. North Lewisburg’s Nathan Herron, Germantown’s Justin Alsip and Beavercreek’s Brandon Oakley all finished in the top five at Shadybowl on May 18. All five are regulars at either Shadybowl or Kil-Kare. Pendleton finished seventh, the highest of a regular from CMS.
“I’d love to see somebody that runs (Columbus) every week win the thing. But you have some out-of-town guys that will be tough,” Pendleton said. “It’s going to be a great race. The whole Robbie Dean series, I’m really proud of Donnie Renner and everyone who has a hand in putting it on.
“My dad raced at Columbus since I was a kid and Robbie was always down there. He always seemed to be the hometown hero. He was a hell of a race car driver at any of the race tracks around here.”
The inaugural Robbie Dean Series honors the popular driver who died of cancer in 2008. Kil-Kare honored Dean with a 94-lap race (a tribute to Dean’s racing number) the past few years before the three tracks formed the three-race event. Kil-Kare hosts the final race on Aug. 6. If Pendleton can do well at Columbus he thinks he might have a shot to win the series.
“Columbus and Kil-Kare to me are very similar. Not in track configuration but in drivability of the race track. You have to be very smooth and a car that works,” he said. “You can over-hustle your car at both places. Shadybowl, you’ve got to have an aggressive car. It takes a little more horsepower for the Bowl than Kil-Kare and Columbus.
“To win the inaugural one would be very special. It’s a great race and an even greater cause with the battle Robbie put up fighting cancer.”