Sam at Grays Harbor Raceway (Lisa Dynes Photography)
(Bill W) July 12, 2017 – The Lucas Oil ASCS National Series and point leader Sam Hafertepe Jr. will make their annual trek to Black Hills Speedway near Rapid City, South Dakota this weekend for a two-night event. The last two weeks have been a bit frustrating after taking home the $15,000 Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway in Washington. Though the car has been fast, circumstances have resulted in just one top ten finish for the Sunnyvale, Texas driver.
At the Fred Brownfield Classic at Grays Harbor Raceway near Elma, Washington, things started well enough. “We were able to get a good start at Elma and win the heat from fourth (June 30),” says Sam. “We drew a five for the feature, and took the lead on the start. We did that twice, but unfortunately, they all got called back. When everyone saw my line, they moved down where I was running.”
Sam was still in contention for his third win in a row. “We were able to get to second and run the leader down,” he says. “I felt like I had an opening, and I just got too close to the infield tire and hit it. That turned us over and ended that night.”
The finale at Elma saw him make the redraw again, driving from seventh to third in his heat. “We drew the seven,” says Sam. “On the opening lap, we got taken out by a car that was spinning out. That knocked the nose wing off of it. We restarted at the tail and got up to twelfth. To be honest, we should have won both nights at Elma. On the first night, if I don’t hit the infield tire, we’ve got a great shot. We’re locked in and starting up front on Saturday. That’s how it goes sometimes.”
Sam and the Keith Dobbs #15H team headed to Gallatin Speedway near Belgrade, Montana for last weekend’s Grizzly Nationals. “We won both heats (Friday and Saturday) at Gallatin running away really,” he says. “We redrew a seven the first night. We flat got run over by (Aaron) Reutzel there early and fell back to tenth. We were able to run him back down and pass him. We were back up to fourth and passing for third when we cut a right rear down. Something had to have cut it. It still had plenty of tread. We went to the tail, and ran back up to eleventh.”
With four drivers locked into Saturday’s finale, Sam’s heat win wasn’t enough to make the redraw. “That put us starting tenth in the feature,” he says. “We were anticipating the rubber coming earlier than what it did in the feature. We just weren’t good the first few laps of the race. When it locked in we were good, but it was right around the bottom with no passing. We got to eighth and rode around the rest of the race.”
The team is excited about Rapid City. “Last year, we had a good car at Black Hills, so we’re looking forward to that again,” says Sam. “We’ve had a fast car the last two weeks; our results were really due to circumstance. We’ll be fine.”
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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, FK Rod Ends, 21R Youth Racing League, Huggins Cams, CP Carrillo, Callie’s, Vortex Wings, Simpson Racing Products, Kinsler Injection, Barnes Oil Systems, DMI, Fisher Racing Engines, Moose Blocks, J&J Auto Racing, KSE, Smiley’s Racing Products, Hoosier Tire, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions.
Photo: Sam at Grays Harbor Raceway (Lisa Dynes Photography)
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