Sam won his 19th feature of the year Friday in Little Rock (STN Photo)
(Bill W) October 18 2017 – Sam Hafertepe Jr. picked up his 19th win of the season and his second with the Miles Hill #15H team in Friday’s prelim of the 30th Annual Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway near Little Rock, Arkansas. Sam will be back in the Keith Dobbs #15H this weekend for an ASCS doubleheader at Devil’s Bowl Speedway near Mesquite, Texas.
The three-night STN started Friday, where Sam went from fourth to second in his heat and finished fourth in his Qualifier before making a charge to a top five in the feature. “We were just a little off and couldn’t figure out why,” he says. “We went to work on the car. We were better in the feature, and went from 13th to fifth. It wasn’t bad for us as we had completely different cars (Cool Chassis) with Miles Hill’s team.”
Friday afternoon, the team went to work on the car. The result was a clean sweep of their heat, Qualifer and feature. “We found a few issues when we measured on the car,” says Sam. “Once we found those things, we got a lot better. Once we found where we needed to be, we were tough to beat. The track suited us on Friday. That was pretty crucial. Everything kind of fell into place for us.”
The win locked Sam into Saturday’s $15,000 to win finale. He started on the tail (sixth) of the Dash, and it looked like he would finish fourth. Sammy Swindell slowed on the white flag lap, however, handing him third. “I really don’t know what he was thinking there, if he wanted to finish fourth and start on the outside or what?” says Sam. “I guess he may have made the right decision. I just wish he would have made the mistake of seeing the checkered flag early in the feature instead of the Dash!”
Starting third, Sam quickly fell in behind Swindell. Trying both a low to middle line and the top of the track, he stayed with the veteran for the 40-lap distance, but checkered second. “I don’t feel like Sammy was way faster than us,” he says. “The way the track was…it was equally fast wherever you ran it. You could run top, middle, or bottom and it didn’t seem like we could make time on anyone anywhere. We didn’t guess on the track completely right, but it wasn’t bad.”
Overall, he was happy about the success of the team. “It was a good weekend,” says Sam. “There was nothing to hang our heads about. The biggest thing I took from the weekend was it was only the second weekend we’ve had in that car. We didn’t have a whole lot of notes, so we came in a little blind. It seems promising going forward with this whole program, which makes me feel good.”
Sam is confident heading into the Devil’s Bowl. “We feel prepared heading in for sure,” he says. “We’re undefeated there so far this year, so we feel really good.”
Recent rumors have the Devil’s Bowl closing soon due to city annexing. “You never know about things like that,” says Sam. “It’s out of our control, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I would hate to see it for sure, because we’ve always done so well there and it’s close to home.”
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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 won his 19th feature of the year Friday in Little Rock (STN Photo)
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