By Bill W
July 5, 2016 – Sam Hafertepe Jr. and the Keith Dobbs #15H team is cleaning up in the Pacific Northwest. The Sunnyvale, Texas driver swept the weekend at the 6th Annual Fred Brownfield Classic at Grays Harbor Raceway near Elma, Washington. The two-night event, Friday and Saturday paid a total of $7,000. Sam had already taken $15,000 by winning Skagit Speedway’s Dirt Cup a week prior. The rest of the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series is glad to be leaving Washington as they head to Gallatin Speedway near Belgrade, Montana this weekend.
Sam drew a four for his heat in Friday’s prelim. “We were racing around the bottom,” he says. “We got a decent start there and got to third right away. The guy in second was trying to pass on the bottom for the lead. He left the bottom open, and I got by him for second. The leader missed the bottom in one and two. We were able to get by him and get the win. That made me the high-point guy.”
The draw saw another four, lining him up outside row two for the feature. “Johnny (Herrera) was leading Wayne (Johnson) and Wayne threw a couple of sliders on him,” says Sam. “Finally, Johnny got going pretty well, and Wayne started trying the bottom. Johnny blew through the top of one and two, and Wayne missed the bottom on the same lap. I was able to hit the bottom and get by both of them.”
Sam checked out from there. “We ran the top the rest of the race,” he says. “We felt like we were pulling away until lapped traffic there. We went through there not trying to force anything. We were able to finish the job.”
Locked into Saturday’s finale, the team had a chance to look at the track. “The track had a lot of the same scenario as Friday,” says Sam. “We knew what we had done on Friday, and we made a few small adjustments for Saturday. The track was a little slicker.”
Sam drew a starting spot inside row two this time. “Johnny was on the pole and (Seth) Bergman was on the outside of the front row,” he says. “Something happened to Bergman’s motor, and that moved Wayne up there. On the start, Johnny tried running the middle, and Wayne tried the top. That left the bottom open, and we hit it and took the lead.”
Again, he checked out. “We got to lapped traffic about halfway through,” says Sam. “The track started laying some rubber in the middle, and it was tough to pass cars. We got to them, and tried to pick them off. We weren’t taking any chances. We tried to time it right so Wayne maybe wouldn’t get through there as easy. It ended up working out pretty well.”
Gallatin Speedway will be a new venue for Sam. “We’ve never been to Belgrade,” he says. “We really don’t know what to expect, but the dirt out here at a lot of the places we’re going to is pretty similar. I think with the way our car is working right now on this type of dirt, we’ll be o.k.”
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Sam would like to thank Highway 79 Collision Center, the Sparks Family, Kiebler & Sons Lawn and Landscaping, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Champion Oil, NAPA Auto Parts of Franklin and Sherwin Williams.
Photo: Sam and Ryan Beechler celebrate their Fred Brownfield Classic win in Elma (Ward Worthy for ASCS Photo)