FT. WORTH, Texas — official release — Michael Diers photo — Mother Nature tried, but a little rain wasn’t enough to stop the opening night of the Port-a-Cool U.S. Dirt Track National Championship as Sam Hafertepe Jr. picked up his fourth Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour A-Feature win of the season and sixth overall with the national arm of the American Sprint Car Series.
Along with the $3,000 winner’s purse, Sam also took home Port-a-Cool Cyclone 3000, a Charlie 1 Horse Hat, and a custom painted commemorative Helmet.
His first win at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, the Sunnyvale, Texas, shoe walked to a 5.280 second advantage at the checkered flag.
“I’ll tell you what, there isn’t a better car out there than that one right there,” said Hafertepe when asked about his performance. “The last few laps, it got a little edgy coming off of four. I kind of used my tires up because I was driving the dog crap out of that thing, but it was worth it though to get the win tonight.”
Drawing the fourth spot for the night’s 25 lap A-Feature, Hafertepe jumped to third on the start; giving chase to Danny Jennings and race leader Kevin Ramey. Pulling to second on lap 10, Hafertepe trailed by a half straight-a-way on Ramey as the red flag flew on lap 13 for Johnny Herrera who went upside down in turn four. Herrera was okay and was scored 19th.
Back to green, Hafertepe wasted no time diving to the lead in turn one. Clearing the nose of Ramey’s No. 7m, Kevin dropped to the centerline to drive past the Lone Star Speedway No. 15h going into turn three. Swapping lines into the turn, Hafertepe again threw the slide job; this time sticking the cushion for the lead exiting the fourth turn.
Leaving Kevin Ramey, who had been fighting a waning tire since the red flag, the Ft. Worth, Texas driver held off Danny Jennings, but low pressure in the left rear of the No. 7m finally took its toll as the Hoosier shredded entering turn one. Doing a masterful job of keeping the car upright and out of traffic, the caution flew as Kevin came to a rest exiting turn two. Kevin was scored 17th.
On the restart, there was no challenge for Sam Hafertepe, Jr.
Danny Jennings crossed second for his best finish with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour in 2014. Fresh off a victory at the Jackson Nationals, eighth-starting Matt Covington crossed third with Stevie Smith from 10th taking the last pass into Saturday night’s A-Feature. Jason Johnson completed the top five.
In the championship battle, Brad Loyet continues to lead with Jeff Swindell and Jason Johnson now tied for second sitting 86 points back.