Hafertepe Jr. Makes it Three Straight with Creek County Victory

Sam Hafertepe Jrr. Emily Schwanke Photo

By Spence Smithback
SAPULPA, OK (June 13, 2024) – Sam Hafertepe Jr. continued a perfect June run by winning his third straight American Sprint Car Series National Tour race Thursday night at Creek County Speedway. And he did so by swapping his winning ride for the backup car.

He and his team elected to pull out a different chassis after winning Tuesday’s show, solidifying their resurgence of strength as Hafertepe chases his third ASCS Speedweek title – and the chance to tie his Series record of five straight wins with races at Arrowhead Speedway and Tri-State Speedway rounding out the week.

“We were having to do a lot of things that we don’t normally do to get speed out of that car,” Hafertepe said about his previous ride. “This car actually responded to the changes we made, going back to how we used to do things. I’m excited for that going forward because I think we have the potential to make a lot more speed than what we’ve had.”

Hafertepe began the Feature on the outside of the front row alongside Dash winner Matt Covington. The No. 15H didn’t stay in second long as he rode the top lane in Turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap and took the lead on the backstretch. Covington looked to Hafertepe’s inside in the next set of corners but was unable to keep pace exiting Turn 4.

Austyn Gossel’s spin on Lap 3 gave Covington another chance at Hafertepe on the ensuing restart, but he was again unable to fight for the lead. Covington was instead passed for second by Seth Bergman, who made his own attempt to catch Hafertepe in the middle stages of the race.

Further issues for Gossel on Lap 19 brought the caution out once more, but Hafertepe, again, made quick work of building a gap to Bergman and the rest of the field.

Following another yellow flag two laps later for Jeffrey Newell, Bergman decided to try the bottom lane in the first set of corners to go against Hafertepe’s preferred top groove. It was still not enough to stay side-by-side with Hafertepe, who drove a flawless final 10 laps through slower traffic to the checkered flag.

“I always pride myself on making or breaking through lapped traffic,” Hafertepe said. “Obviously you don’t always make good decisions, but I feel like we make better decisions sometimes than a lot of other guys, and I think that’s one of our strong points.”

While Hafertepe has bounced back and forth between 360 and 410 racing over the past several seasons, he says a renewed focus on his 360 program has been one of the keys to success for his team.

“The more we keep running 360 stuff, I think the better we’re going to be,” Hafertepe said. “We took time off from running it consistently, we probably didn’t stay up with the tires changing and things like that. I feel like us getting in a rhythm is going to help us more and more.”

While Bergman’s second-place run was enough to maintain a 60-point advantage in the standings over Hafertepe, he understands that his No. 23 team has work to do to stop him from closing in.

“He’s been really good, he’s on a streak,” Bergman said. “Tonight, he had a really good starting position, and he’s seasoned enough that he can manage a race, and he just never made a mistake.”

A third-place finish for Hank Davis makes him a perfect four-for-four in top fives behind the wheel of the TwoC Racing machine.

“Wayne [Johnson] is just a smart guy, he knows how to get you comfortable,” Davis said. “We’re knocking on the door, and we’re not real far.”

Covington fell back to fourth after a fierce battle with Davis, placing him third in points, 116 behind Bergman entering the second half of Speedweek.

Reigning champion Jason Martin rounded out the top five, which got his bid for a repeat back on track after a DNF at Texarkana.

Hometown hero Blake Hahn had to go through the Last Chance Showdown to secure a spot in the Feature but drove from 20th to seventh to collect the Hard Charger Award.

UP NEXT: Speedweek continues at Arrowhead Speedway Friday, June 14, with the second of three-straight races in the Sooner State. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.

Can’t make it? DIRTVision will provide live coverage for those unable to make it to the track.

Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 2. 23-Seth Bergman[3]; 3. 2C-Hank Davis[5]; 4. 95-Matt Covington[1]; 5. 36-Jason Martin[10]; 6. 8-Alex Sewell[7]; 7. 52-Blake Hahn[20]; 8. 22M-Rees Moran[13]; 9. 55B-Jordon Mallett[6]; 10. 45X-Kyler Johnson[11]; 11. 9S-Kyle Clark[16]; 12. 15D-Andrew Deal[14]; 13. 10-Landon Britt[8]; 14. 1-Sean McClelland[17]; 15. 26M-Fred Mattox[21]; 16. 29-Emilio Hoover[9]; 17. 88-Terry Easum[22]; 18. 2J-Zach Blurton[15]; 19. 31-Casey Wills[25]; 20. 91-Michael Day[19]; 21. 6G-Bryan Gossel[24]; 22. 938-Bradley Fezard[23]; 23. 12-Jeffrey Newell[12]; 24. 16G-Austyn Gossel[4]; 25. 13-Elijah Gile[18]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps): 1. 1-Sean McClelland[3]; 2. 13-Elijah Gile[2]; 3. 91-Michael Day[6]; 4. 52-Blake Hahn[9]; 5. 26M-Fred Mattox[5]; 6. 88-Terry Easum[4]; 7. 03-Joe Wood Jr[12]; 8. 31-Casey Wills[10]; 9. 7F-Johnny Kent[8]; 10. 938-Bradley Fezard[13]; 11. 17-Wout Hoffmans[7]; 12. 6G-Bryan Gossel[11]; 13. 30-Joseph Miller[14]; 14. 30X-Larry Bratti[15]; 15. 79-Tim Kent[16]; 16. (DNS) 20-Noah Harris; 17. (DNS) 2-Brekton Crouch

Dash (5 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington[2]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[1]; 3. 23-Seth Bergman[7]; 4. 16G-Austyn Gossel[4]; 5. 2C-Hank Davis[6]; 6. 55B-Jordon Mallett[3]; 7. 8-Alex Sewell[5]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 16G-Austyn Gossel[1]; 2. 10-Landon Britt[3]; 3. 45X-Kyler Johnson[5]; 4. 8-Alex Sewell[4]; 5. 20-Noah Harris[2]; 6. 91-Michael Day[6]; 7. 52-Blake Hahn[7]; 8. 938-Bradley Fezard[8]; 9. (DNS) 2-Brekton Crouch

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]; 2. 29-Emilio Hoover[2]; 3. 12-Jeffrey Newell[1]; 4. 15D-Andrew Deal[6]; 5. 1-Sean McClelland[5]; 6. 13-Elijah Gile[3]; 7. 31-Casey Wills[7]; 8. 30-Joseph Miller[8]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman[1]; 2. 36-Jason Martin[2]; 3. 2C-Hank Davis[4]; 4. 2J-Zach Blurton[5]; 5. 88-Terry Easum[3]; 6. 17-Wout Hoffmans[6]; 7. 6G-Bryan Gossel[7]; 8. (DNS) 30X-Larry Bratti

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 55B-Jordon Mallett[1]; 2. 95-Matt Covington[4]; 3. 22M-Rees Moran[2]; 4. 9S-Kyle Clark[6]; 5. 26M-Fred Mattox[5]; 6. 7F-Johnny Kent[3]; 7. 03-Joe Wood Jr[7]; 8. 79-Tim Kent[8]

Qualifying 1 (2 Laps): 1. 8-Alex Sewell, 00:12.221[3]; 2. 16G-Austyn Gossel, 00:12.282[2]; 3. 20-Noah Harris, 00:12.495[1]; 4. 10-Landon Britt, 00:12.573[4]; 5. 45X-Kyler Johnson, 00:12.725[7]; 6. 91-Michael Day, 00:12.781[6]; 7. 52-Blake Hahn, 00:12.818[9]; 8. 938-Bradley Fezard, 00:12.909[8]; 9. 2-Brekton Crouch, 00:13.067[5]

Qualifying 2 (2 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 00:12.394[8]; 2. 12-Jeffrey Newell, 00:12.444[1]; 3. 29-Emilio Hoover, 00:12.576[6]; 4. 13-Elijah Gile, 00:12.646[4]; 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 00:12.694[5]; 6. 15D-Andrew Deal, 00:12.702[2]; 7. 31-Casey Wills, 00:12.794[7]; 8. 30-Joseph Miller, 00:13.007[3]

Qualifying 3 (2 Laps): 1. 2C-Hank Davis, 00:12.468[4]; 2. 23-Seth Bergman, 00:12.499[3]; 3. 36-Jason Martin, 00:12.534[8]; 4. 88-Terry Easum, 00:12.816[1]; 5. 2J-Zach Blurton, 00:12.817[7]; 6. 17-Wout Hoffmans, 00:13.000[6]; 7. 6G-Bryan Gossel, 00:13.075[5]; 8. 30X-Larry Bratti, 00:13.211[2]

Qualifying 4 (2 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington, 00:12.648[8]; 2. 55B-Jordon Mallett, 00:12.781[4]; 3. 22M-Rees Moran, 00:12.815[7]; 4. 7F-Johnny Kent, 00:12.819[6]; 5. 26M-Fred Mattox, 00:12.868[2]; 6. 9S-Kyle Clark, 00:12.896[5]; 7. 03-Joe Wood Jr, 00:12.907[1]; 8. 79-Tim Kent, 00:13.467[3]