Falling back to third for most of the SawBlade.com A-Feature Saturday night, a caution with eight laps to go saw Sam Hafertepe, Jr. mount the late-race charge to secure the $10,000 prize in the General Tire Hockett/McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network.
“That was really exciting. If these fans didn’t enjoy that, I don’t know, because there just isn’t better racing than that,” stated Hafertepe.
“These guys, they drove their hearts out and I feel like all three of us should have won this deal. It was just a badass race. Everybody drove each other clean, we were throwing sliders, and that cushion was tough. It was treacherous and really, our car wasn’t that good. Them two had us covered, but I just didn’t give up and kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing. I’ve won this race two other times, and I was determined to make it three.”
Chasing Mark Smith and Derek Hagar on the Lap 32 restart, Hafertepe rolled by Smith for second on Lap 36.
Trailing Hagar by 1.301-seconds, Sam leaned hard on the nearly foot tall cushion that circled the three-eights mile oval. Closing it down to 0.874-seconds the following lap, Sam was within mere car lengths as the pair raced into the third and fourth turns.
Hooking the cushion through the fourth turn, Hagar’s No. 9jr suddenly shot right, launching into the fluff just long enough to give Hafertepe room to sail into the lead on Lap 38.
Racing to the white flag with Hagar in hot pursuit, Hafertepe kept it smooth through the final circuit for his sixth National Tour score of the season. Also counting as a win with the Racinboys.com ASCS Warrior Region presented by Impact Signs, Awnings, and Wraps, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. tied Jesse Hockett’s nine regional triumphs.
Hagar crossed second with Mark Smith, who dominated the opening 27 laps, ending his weekend third. Making up five positions in the Dissolvalloy No. 88, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart crossed fourth with Justin Sanders completing the top five. Going red for Scott Bogucki, who was running fourth coming to the checkered flag, the finish reverted to the white flag lap after the No. 15h.
Racing around Hafertepe through the opening half of the A-Feature, Dylan Westbrook slipped to sixth with Jordon Mallett seventh. Ayrton Gennetten was eighth with Tim Crawley making up four spots to ninth while Roger Crockett completed the top ten.
Starting the night with SCE Gaskets Qualifiers, wins went to Shane Stewart, Seth Bergman, Jonathan Cornell, and Harli White. BMRS B-Features went to Sean McClelland, Garet Williamson, and Brandon Anderson. The Brodix LCQ went to Sean McClelland.
Provisionals were used by Blake Hahn (Points), Matt Covington (Points), and Miles Paulus (Regional).
The next event for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network is the $10,041 to win COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tire on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3. Tickets and event info can be found at http://www.i-30speedway.com