Five Flags Speedway
Reviewing The Robbins Win
-By Zach Evans
For Hunter Robbins, a return to victory lane in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 was worth the wait.
Robbins held off Mike Hopkins to win the 2023 edition of the event on Monday evening at Five Flags Speedway, taking his second career win in the event 18 years after he won the race in 2005.
The statistics will show Robbins led all 100 laps of the Pro Late Model marquee event. However, he felt pressure from Hopkins throughout the race and briefly lost the lead at one stage before executing a crossover move out of turn two to move back to the point.
In Robbins' eyes, Monday's race was always going to come down to a battle between himself and Hopkins.
“Once practice started, I think it was evident that me and the 15 [of Hopkins] had the best cars," said Robbins. "That was tough. I’ve had some really hard races this year with some guys. Jackson [Boone], he’s been really tough in the Pro stuff. The last couple of races down here, we haven’t been nearly as good as him. We’ve worked really hard.
“We almost lost the lead that one time. It was just textbook trying to get underneath him and get back around him. It was just a really good car.”
When Robbins won the race in 2005, the rules were different and his team was different. Strategy played a key role in his 2005 victory, while this year's winning performance relied on raw pace.
“The first time, it was a six-tire race and we won it by staying out. Frankie Grill was my crew chief and told us to stay out and we won the race. This time, we had Ronnie. The race has gotten to where it’s hard, it’s really really hard. You’ve just got to have the best car with a four-tire race now. We had the best car, and I didn’t want to lose it.”
Hopkins tipped his cap to Robbins on his winning performance while holding his head high following a runner-up finish.
“That was some fun racing with him," said Hopkins. "Hats off to him and his crew. They drove a heck of a race. We raced straight up. I was a tick too tight. He had enough drive. I’ve got a bone stock crate, and you can’t outpower them Fords. That ain’t an excuse, he drove a hell of a race.
“We needed a little bit more drive to race with him. I thought I had him once, I tried to stay off him and he got back around me. This place is tough, and this finish is nothing to hang your head about.”
The hard charger of the race was Stephen Nasse, who finished third after starting in the 28th position. Nasse believed he had a car that could challenge Robbins and Hopkins but simply ran out of time after driving through the field.
“Definitely felt like we needed more laps there," said Nasse. "We had a really good car. I had a long way to go and a couple of long green flag runs hurt us. All in all, it was a great weekend for me and my guys. This is my part here, with my guys working on it.
“It was a good week for us. I felt like we had the best car and just ran out of time. We’ll come back next year, but we’re definitely happy about it."
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America
Article Credit: Racing America