By Daryl Turford
Sunnyvale, Texas-Sam Hafertepe Jr and The Plumbfast Racing had a night to forget this past Saturday night with The World of Outlaws (WoO) at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan. Sam was involved in a lap 6 crash which resulted in a 24th place finish to continue what has been a frustrating season for Hafertepe and the team.
The night started off very well for Sam and the team as Hafertepe had The Lone Star Speedway #15H Maxim-Fisher under the track record and fastest overall in warm-ups.
Sam had the team make minimal changes to the car and went out for qualifying with high hopes. Hafertepe had a decent lap and timed in 8th overall.
“We weren’t as good in time trials,” explained Sam. “The track changed a lot and built up a curb. We were loose up to the curb and tight when we got into it so that kind of threw us off. Unfortunately with the way the WoO qualifying system works that’s not the spot to be because you aren’t on the front row of your heat and you’re too far down to get into the dash on your time trial speed.”
Sam made a clean start in his heat and settled into the 4th position. The track was still one-laned with a curb and made passing very difficult.
“Once we got rolling no one could do anything with anyone,” explained Sam. “We just sort of got in line and tried to stay out of trouble which we did.”
Sam ended up 4th in the heat and would line up in the 15th starting position for the feature.
The I-96 Speedway was very dusty and made vision difficult for Sam starting so deep in the field.
“I couldn’t really get open track or see to really lean on our car,” explained Sam. “I was just sort of riding around and trying to let things settle down to see what we had.”
The race came to an abrupt halt for Sam on lap 6.
“Paul McMahan hit an infield tire in front of me,” recalled Sam. “He spun and I wasn’t sure where he would go. I guessed that he wouldn’t spin up the track but unfortunately he did and we hit him. We tore up a steering box, front end and even smashed our valve cover up on the motor pretty good so we were done for the night.”
Crew members Mike Schure and Daryl Turford along with guest crew members Peter Turford and John Watson put the car back together and rolled it into the trailer but the night was not a total loss.
“We have really struggled on the type of surface I-96 presented with us tonight.” said Sam. “We tried something I wanted to try something for the last few weeks and we finally built up the nerve to do it and that was the best the car has felt on that type of surface so I think we have something that we can build on there.”
Sam and The WoO will be in action this coming Friday at The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“The race Friday night is a pretty big deal,” said Sam. “Everyone is there for the NASCAR race so it’s in front of a HUGE crowd, a lot of influential people in motorsports and it’s being broadcast live on SpeedTV at 8pm that night. We’ve been pretty close to getting our first win and I can’t think of a better place to get it done than The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.”