PETALUMA, Calif. – Nick Robfogel made a boyhood dream come true Saturday night at Petaluma Speedway.
The Petaluma native claimed his first career sprint car win by coming out on top of a four-way dogfight to take the checkered flag in the season-ending event for the Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car Series.
“What a way to cap off a season, especially at my home track where I used to sit up in the grandstands as a kid,” said the excited Robfogel. “I’m at a loss for words. I’ve won here in a micro sprint and I wanted to win in my first year in sprint cars, but I didn’t think it would happen with the kind of year we’ve had.”
Robfogel jumped into the lead from the outside pole position and led Dylan Bloomfield as the pair ran away from the field before hitting traffic on lap seven.
As Robfogel struggled with a tight race car and ran up the track, Bloomfield took advantage and filled the gap on the bottom groove to temporarily take the lead.
On a lap 17 restart, Robfogel returned the favor in turn two and took the lead down the backstretch. But over the last eight laps, he was hounded by Bloomfield, Geoff Ensign, Terry Schank Jr. and Scott Hopkins, who were all dueling for position while glued to his rear bumper and while all were struggling with tight race cars on a tacky track.
On lap 22, Schank muscled his way under Ensign in turn two and won a drag race down the backstretch to claim the runner-up spot, while Hopkins and Matt Stewart rounded out the top five as Bloomfield was shuffled further down the field.
For Robfogel the win was more than a personal milestone. It also redeemed a season of frustration and rookie mistakes.
“We’ve bent the car, DNF’d four or five times, broken rear ends and shocks, and (have) been in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of which was my fault,” he explained.
“But when you go under the checkered flag and there’s nobody in front of you, it’s the pinnacle and it justifies all the long nights in the shop.”
Although Schank could keep pace with Robfogel, he conceded that he needed lapped traffic to have any chance of passing for the lead.
Ensign finished third for the second consecutive week.
“It was a good race,” Ensign said. “We just needed some breaks to go our way to finish any better.”
Nick Robfogel, Terry Schank, Geoff Ensign, Shane Hopkins, Matt Stewart, Bradley Terrell, Jarrett Soares, Ricky Brophy, Tony Bernard, Kaimi Moniz-Costa, Bob Davis, Josh Young, Shayna Ensign, Scott Clough, Dylan Bloomfield.