MASON CITY, Iowa — Gregg Bakker has been close over the years, but Sunday night at Mason City Motor Speedway, the South Dakota driver finally rolled to the checkered flag first with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network.
“Getting to start in front like that with the track the way it was helps. This is Stock Car country and that kind of track is what they like,” said Bakker, who became the 138th driver to win a Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour event.
Bakker is also the second first time winner on the 2017 season, joining Jake Bubak, who topped the series at West Texas Raceway on June 9.
“I was watching the track earlier and the street stocks and modifieds started moving to the top and I thought that might come in,” Bakker added. “On my warm up lap, I went to the top and thought ‘this isn’t the place to be’, but when you get into traffic, you don’t know how much the guys behind you are moving around and if the rubber is getting wider to where they can sneak by.”
Despite leading from start to finish, the win was not an easy one for the Bakker Crossing No. 11x, as Matt Covington was all but glued to his back bumper as the pair rolled the bottom of the half-mile oval.
Working into traffic at the race’s mid-point, Bakker could not miss a mark, as Covington was joined by Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Wayne Johnson, with all three looking for a chance to roll by.
Finally clearing the slower car of Chris Masters with less than five laps to run, Bakker quickly put distance over the No. 95.
With victory coming into view, the race’s lone caution flag waved as the field raced to the white flag for Carson McCarl, who spun in the fourth turn.
Going back to the last fully completed lap for the restart, Bakker was able to keep Covington at bay as the field raced to the final lap.
Racing off the final turn for the win, things behind the State Bank of Fairmont No. 11x got dicey as Covington’s engine let go rolling into the third turn.
With Hafertepe and Johnson bearing down on the T&L Foundry No. 95, both drivers were on the binders to keep from ending up in a smoldering pile.
Able to shoot under Covington, Hafertepe rolled across the line second with Johnson third.
Taking his struggling mount all the way to the checkered flag, Covington was edged out at the line for fourth by Johnny Herrera.
RESULTS: Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour; Mason City Motor Speedway; July 30, 2017
A-Feature (20 laps): 1. 11X-Gregg Bakker ; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. ; 3. 2C-Wayne Johnson ; 4. 45X-Johnny Herrera ; 5. 95-Matt Covington ; 6. 17-Josh Baughman ; 7. 1-Thomas Kennedy ; 8. 52-Blake Hahn ; 9. 44-Chris Martin ; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 11. 45-Chuck Hebing ; 12. 24-Terry McCarl ; 13. 23-Seth Bergman ; 14. 7-Kaley Gharst ; 15. 99-Skylar Gee ; 16. 17W-Harli White ; 17. 40-Howard Moore ; 18. 5H-Carson McCarl ; 19. 17B-Ryan Bickett ; 20. 98-Chris Masters ; 21. 77X-Alex Hill ; 22. 18-Ian Madsen ; 23. 41A-Andee Beierle ; 24. 41-Dominic Scelzi ; 25. 35-Jamie Veal .
Lap Leader(s): Gregg Bakker 1-20
CP-Carrillo Hard Charger: Seth Bergman (+9)
CREDIT: ASCS Racing