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Sam Hafertepe, Jr. Retakes Lucas Oil ASCS Points Lead Following Brownfield Classic
Bryan Hulbert - ELMA, Wash. (July 2, 2019) Dropping to second in the standings with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network following the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. made a quick turn around of things at the Fred Brownfield Classic with a pair of top-five finishes to retake the top spot with the National Tour.
Cutting a path through the field both Friday and Saturday night, the weekend highlight came on Friday with a fierce battle for the runner-up spot with Brodix National Rookie of the Year leader, John Carney II. Coming out third on the race with the No. J2, Hafertepe felt he had the car to beat had a late race caution not taken the leaders out of traffic.
"We probably had one of the best cars on Friday night and with the caution there at the end, that messed us up. I feel like we had a shot to win it, and had the caution not come out, probably would have won it, but you never know. We had a great car and I was excited with our finish" commented Hafertepe
Enter Saturday night, a vastly different racetrack greeted the team with passing in the Heat Races coming at a premium.
Despite the dry conditions, Hafertepe was still able to move forward from seventh to fifth to grab the 14th starting spot in the A-Feature. Able to move around on the track during the A-Feature, Sam was able to pick up 10 spots before the track cleaned off and started to lock down around the bottom, resulting in a fourth-place finish and exactly was he needed to retake the overall points lead by 44 markers.
"The track was really tough to pass on through the Heats and fortunately, we were able to get by a few guys. Not enough to get the redraw or anything, so starting 14th, we had a really good car and got through about as well as anyone did, but once the rubber came in, it just stopped us from moving forward."
Taking time to work on the team's overall program through the Independence Day Weekend, the next outing for the Hills Racing Team No. 15h will be the NAPA of Montana Grizzly Nationals at Gallatin Speedway on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13. A race that Sam's led laps at over the past couple seasons, the win at the Belgrade oval has eluded him.
"I'm excited about going back to the Grizzly Nationals. I feel like we probably should have had two wins there already, but blew tires leading so hopefully we can lead all the laps this time knowing how the track is and see if we can't stand next to a Grizzly Bear."
Both nights at the Gallatin Speedway get underway at 7:00 P.M. (MT).
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).
2019 Season to Date:
Events: 25; Wins -5 ; Top 5 - 13; Top 10 - 18; Top 20 - 19;
July 12 - Gallatin Speedway (Belgrade, Mont.) w/Lucas Oil ASCS
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.