Quick start the difference in winning the Badger Midget Title

Harrison Kleven (2018 Badger Midget Rookie of the Year) Bruce Palla

By Bryan Gapinski
Beaver Dam, Wi., April 16—The familiar saying in racing “you can’t win a championship on opening night but can lose one, will come to a test on Saturday Night as season number 83 begins for The Zimbrick Chevrolet of Sun Prairie Badger Midget Racing Series at Beaver Dam Raceway with the running of the “The Wipperfurth Triple Crown”.
The 1/3-mile high banked clay oval will host the IRA Bumper to Bumper Outlaw Sprint Car Series, the Auto Meter Wisconsin WingLESS Sprint Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet Performance Parts and Badger.
A lot can and will happen during a race season, especially a twenty-five-race schedule spread over five months. Eighteen (18) times during Badger’s history the driver wining the season opening event has gone onto to win the season driving championship.
No driver knows the importance of winning opening night more than seven-time Badger Champion Dan Boorse, who won on “opening night” during four of his championship seasons at three different tracks: 1984, and ’85 at Capital Super Speedway, 1998 at Butler Speedway, and the following year at Angell Park Speedway.
Other Badger drivers who have won on opening night of their championship year include:, Billy Johnson (1948), Miles Melius (1950), Billy Wood (1954 and ’55), Keith Thomas (1961 and ’62), John Hartwig (1973), Kevin Olson (1988), Dean Erfurth (1990), Kevin Doty (1994), Aaron Fike (2002), defending Badger Champion Scott Hatton (2004), Brad Kuhn (2007), and Christopher Bell (2014).
Hatton overcame an “opening night” deficit last season to win his fifth career Badger title. Hatton running in third place in the opener at Beaver Dam Raceway, retired with electrical problems during the early stages of the feature. Hatton has seven career Badger Midget feature victories at the track, trailing only Kevin Doty who has eight career Badger feature victories.
Second through fifth in last year’s points are also excepted to compete in the event: Tyler Baran, Ryan Probst, Olson, and Chase McDermand. 2018 Beaver Dam Raceway Modified Champion Matt Rechek will make his midget debut at the event.
The timetable for Beaver Dam is as follows: Pit Gates open at 2:30 pm; front gates at 3:30 pm; qualifying at 5:00 pm, racing to follow.