Wheatland, MO — (June 24, 2014) — Sam Hafertepe Jr. returned to Victory Lane with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour last Wednesday for the first time since 2011.
Hafertepe Jr. led all 30 laps and won by more than four seconds during the Bob Westphal Memorial Cup Speedweek visit to Lawton Speedway in Lawton, Okla.
“It’d been a while,” he said. “It felt pretty good to finally get one. We’ve been plenty fast.”
Hafertepe Jr. opened the night by charging from sixth to third place in his heat race. That earned him a trip into the feature redraw, where he pulled the No. 1 to start on the pole of the main event.
“Lawton worked out real good,” he said. “The car was about as good as we could have got it. We were driving away from them early. Then I found the rubber and just moved down. We had such a good car we could put it wherever we wanted to. I think a lot of guys were limited when the rubber came down. Our car was really nice.”
The victory was the third of the season for Hafertepe Jr., who ventured to Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, Okla., on Thursday.
After finishing fifth in both his heat race and a B Main, Hafertepe Jr. was forced to use his first series provisional of the year to tag the back of the main event. He made it work to his advantage by rallying from 23rd to a 10th-place finish, which earned him the Hard Charger Award.
“The track never really widened out much,” he said. “We were just waiting for guys to get tight and we’d drive underneath them. We had the car where it had a lot of forward bite so we could drag race them off the corner. Not many guys were making a lot of passes.”
The momentum continued to roll into Friday’s event at Outlaw Motorsports Park in Wainwright, Okla. Hafertepe Jr. drove from fourth to second place in his heat race to advance into the feature redraw, where he pulled the No. 7 to start the main event on the inside of the fourth row.
Hafertepe Jr. then methodically worked into a podium position and he was about to make a move for the runner-up spot with approximately eight laps remaining when that driver got into the wall exiting turn two.
“He swerved down the straightaway a couple of times,” Hafertepe Jr. said. “Once I picked the bottom he closed the bottom. He turned down to block. It got me completely sideways and I slid up to the fence and it ended our night there.”
With a severely damaged front end, Hafertepe Jr. was unable to restart the race and he was credited with a 16th-place result.
Tough luck continued to hamper him during the Speedweek finale at Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday, when Hafertepe Jr. maneuvered from fourth to second place in his heat race. Unfortunately, that one was position out of a redraw spot so Hafertepe Jr. started the main event ninth.
As the race began to wind down Hafertepe Jr. got stronger. He powered into the runner-up position and was on the bumper of the leader when there was a restart with seven laps remaining.
“We got a run on (Christopher) Bell on the restart and he chopped down,” he said. “I wanted to get real close to him so by the time we got to turn one maybe I could get a shot to get past him. I got down below him and he cut down at the last second. It pinched me into the tire. It broke the left front hub going down the back straightaway.”
After hitting the infield tire on the restart, Hafertepe Jr.’s left front tire broke off the car on the backstretch and his night ended early with a 15 th-place finish.
“We had a shot to win that one,” he said. “We were plenty fast.”
QUICK RESULTS –
June 18 – Lawton Speedway in Lawton, Okla. – Heat race: 3 (6); Feature: 1 (1).
June 19 – Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, Okla. – Heat race: 5 (6); B Main: 5 (5); Feature: 10 (23).
June 20 – Outlaw Motorsports Park in Wainwright, Okla. – Heat race: 2 (4); Feature: 16 (7).
June 21 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Heat race: 2 (4); Feature: 15 (9).
SEASON STATS –
35 races, 3 wins, 9 top fives, 14 top 10s, 20 top 15s, 26 top 20s
UP NEXT –
MEDIA LINKS –
Here is a link to highlights of Hafertepe Jr. winning the ASCS Gulf South Region race at Heart O’Texas Speedway on June 6: http://youtu.be/QWG0RyKXyX8