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Hafertepe Lands Top Five At Petaluma With The Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series
Bryan Hulbert - PETALUMA, Cali. (March 12, 2020) Posting a top-five finish with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network at Petaluma Speedway, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. is headed home for action with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
"We had a lot of speed in California. Sunday, we just made the wrong call for the Feature and were good early. Looking back, we should have listened to the people who race there all the time and freed the car up, but we didn't and go tight and it was something we talked about, but just didn't do it and in all honesty, that cost us the race," stated Hafertepe of his overall weekend.
Starting off at Merced Speedway on Friday, the night ended early for Hafertepe after getting called for jumping the start in his Heat Race. Not agreeing the call made, and knowing he was now buried in points, Sam made the decision to park and regroup.
"We weren't happy with the call. It put us 40th in points and out there not point's racing this year, I knew there wasn't a whole lot of good things that could come from starting at the back of a Qualifier. Even if we did pass three or four cars, we'd still be in a B-Main no matter what, so it just wasn't worth it. We just took our licks and got to Petaluma with a new mindset."
With Mother Nature ending events at Placerville Speedway on Saturday, the team rolled into Placerville with good speed. Earning the right of the front row in the A-Feature, Hafertepe took off with the lead for the first 15 laps before traffic came into play and took the No. 15h out of clean air.
"The longer the race went on, the tighter the car was getting. We had maybe 11.5 inches of stagger and we probably could have gotten away with that and freed the car up other ways, but as I said, we just didn't make those changes and at the end of the race it bit us. Really, I feel like if we'd had just a little bit more pressure in the right rear, that would have helped a lot."
When all was said and done, Sam's earned a four place finish.
Looking to his coming weekend, Hafertepe will take on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Friday, March 13 at Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas and Lonestar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas.
"I'm excited about his weekend. Hopefully, the weather works for us. I'm probably more excited about going to Lonestar Speedway because my Father owns it, but anytime you get to run close to home is special. Plus getting in your own bed at night makes it better."
Both nights can be seen live on http://www.dirtvision.com.
For continued updates on Sam Hafertepe, Jr. log onto http://www.sam15.com and make sure to find him on Twitter (@samhafertepejr). For news on Hill's Racing Team, log onto https://www.facebook.com/hillsracing/ and on Twitter (@HillsRacingTeam).
2020 Season to Date:
Events: 12; Wins -1; Top 5 - 2; Top 10 - 5; Top 20 - 6;
March 13, 2020 - Cotton Bowl Speedway (Paige, Texas) w/World of Outlaws
Sam Hafertepe, Jr. Online:
Hill's Racing Team, Townline Variety, Heidbreder Foundation Service, Kiebler & Sons Lawn and Landscaping, Fisher Racing Engines, Super Shox, J&J Chassis, Smiley's Racing Products, Hoosier Tire, Huggins Cams, Champion Oil, The Sparks Family, Lonestar Speedway, Keizer Wheels, XYZ Machining, Simpson Racing Products, CP-Carrillo, KSE Power Steering, FK Rod Ends, BMRS, Allstar Performance, Saldana Racing Products, Vortex Wings, DMI, Wilwood Brakes, Kinsler Fuel Injection, Hwy. 79 Collision.
Media Contact: Billy Rock
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wheatland, Missouri (March 11, 2020) -Ryan Gustin stole the show last October by winning night # 1 of the 2019 MLRA Falls Nationals, his debut event behind the wheel of the Tri Star Engines and Transmissions sponsored Open Late Model. Ask him why he is so quick to adapt to change, and he'll casually tell you, "I guess it's beginners luck." Out to prove it was not just a little luck, Gustin and team are moving ahead with plans for a full season of late model racing in 2020, including plans for competing in nearly 75% of scheduled Lucas Oil MLRA events.
The two-time USMTS Modified Champion is no stranger to late model racing, and admits he is glad to be back racing in the Open Late Model ranks. "It's every dirt racer's dream to either race dirt late model or sprint cars, and for me it's dirt late models. It's the top tier that every driver wants to be in," commented Gustin. The Marshalltown, Iowa driver has recorded a total of 7 MLRA victories to date, including a series leading four in 2014, a win total that season matched only by the MLRA's All-Time Wins leader Terry Phillips.
With Modified technology getting closer and closer to that of the Open Late Models in recent years, he notes how important Modified racing has been to his late model success. "The modified is kind of a stepping stone to get to that level (late model). A lot of things on the modified and the late model are the same as far as rear suspension goes, so it helps you to already know about that part of the car."
Gustin will continue his budding partnership with car owner Dave Steine in the upcoming season having a pair of Rocket XR1 Chassis powered by Tri Star Engines at their ready. Commenting on the teams late model focus for the upcoming season he noted, "This is something that Dave has always wanted to do and late model racing is what I have always wanted to do. I had already planned on mod racing the first year we got together and the second year, so we just kind of did that and our relationship grew and everything got better and better and has just continued to grow."
The "Reaper" will look to have a leg up on the completion this time when the series rolls into the Lucas Oil Speedway April 10th - 11th for the RacingJunk.com Spring Nationals, having logged nearly ten starts on the season by then. Following six nights competing in the Wild West Shootout he commented, "We raced pretty well there but we didn't qualify very well. Our qualifying is something that we need to work on, especially for this deal (MLRA). Time Trial qualifying is something I have not done a whole lot of in the modifieds, so I don't have a lot of experience with it."
A two-time winner of the MLRA Fall Nationals season championship event, Gustin has also proven he can win and be strong in the series lid-lifter event, having won the MLRA opener back in 2015 at the I-80 Speedway. This time around he commented, "If we could rattle off a couple of wins in Wheatland it would be perfect, but realistically for our race team we are looking at top 5's and top 3's. We know we've got a winning car that's for sure."
The 2020 MLRA season opener will be different than in years past, as Gustin anticipates it will present a new challenge to the drivers and teams when they roll into the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks". "It's going to be a little different for everybody going back to Wheatland for Spring Nationals now that we are on the 1350's. Everybody is going to have a little bit of learning to do but hopefully it will be better for everyone--the racing, the tires, just everything."
Gustin continued, "I think the new tire rules are going to speed everybody up. With the hard tire your always just slipping and you can't really get a hold of a whole lot, which definitely does put more driver into it in my opinion. But at the same time, sometimes the racing is not always as good because you have those four or five drivers that are just that much better than everybody else and they can tend to run off from the rest."
With the upcoming Lucas Oil MLRA season shaping up to a very competitive one, including a deep contingent of drivers indicating intentions to chase the series title, Gustin notes how important the longtime regional series is to drivers like himself that also like to compete nationally.
"MLRA has a good group of guys, and the guys that run up front and win those races seem to be able to run pretty well with the touring guys when they come to their area. If you can get your stuff good enough to go win one of the races (MLRA) your setting yourself up pretty good to run decent on the national level."
Working alongside the driver of the 19R are crew members Brett Ladehoff and Noah Bushman. "Having those guys there working on the car and tires is huge because it allows me to tune on the chassis and to focus on the race track," concluded Gustin.
Ryan Gustin Racing Marketing Partners: Tri Star Engines and Transmissions, Ramirez Motorsports, VP Heartland, Swift Springs, & BCC Wraps.
For all of the latest news and information, including the full 2020 schedule, fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.