Hafertepe rushes at Thunderbird – SPEED SPORT

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Sam Hafertepe Jr. (Photo by Richard Bales)

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma — Five-time series champion Sam Hafertepe Jr. reigned at the helm as the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour returned to Thunderbird Speedway Sunday night for the first time in 22 years.

Hafertepe shot into the lead at the start of the 25-lap feature from the front row off the grid on the 800-meter Dirt Oval, leading all the way aboard Hill’s Racing No. 15h Sprint Car to his 59th feature win of his career.

“I immediately had the feeling that we had a good car and could work our way through the traffic very well,” explained Hafertepe on the winning lane.

While Hafertepe was ahead of Wayne Johnson and Dylan Westbrook even after traffic came into play after eight laps, his Sunday drive became dangerous when fourth-place finisher and reigning series champion Blake Hahn slowed to issue the first warning of the race just three laps from the end.

More mischief happened at the restart when Matt Covington tripped on the cushion and rolled over at turns three and four, with Lance Norick also falling as a result after tangling with Kade Morton.

“I didn’t want to see that warning, but we were good enough to finish it,” explained Hafertepe.

As it turned out, he had no worries as he sped away again in the final three laps to secure victory by a comfortable margin.

Positions were mixed in his wake as Johnson fell behind and Jason Martin took full advantage by battling past Westbrook to secure second place while Westbrook filled the podium in third.

After a power move past Brandon Anderson and Martin from sixth to fourth place that was nullified by Covington’s flip, twelfth starter Garet Williamson was still moving up to fourth in the final laps, with Anderson rounding out the top five .

The end:

Feature (25 rounds): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 2. 36-Jason Martin[6]; 3. 47X-Dylan Westbrook[3]; 4. 24-Garet Williamson[12]; 5. 55B-Brandon Anderson[8]; 6. 1X-Tim Crawley[7]; 7. 7M Chance Morton[11]; 8. 87-Sean McClelland[10]; 9. 187-Landon Crawley[9]; 10. 2-Whit Gastineau[17]; 11. 45X-Kyler Johnson[21]; 12. 26M-Fred Mattox[14]; 13. 17B-Ryan Buckett[15]; 14. 10P-Dylan Postier[24]; 15. 2C-Wayne Johnson[4]; 16. 52-Blake Hahn[1]; 17. 95-Matt Covington[5]; 18. 50Z-Zach Chappell[20]; 19. 8M-Kade Morton[23]; 20. 90-Lance Norick[18]; 21. 22M-Rees Moran[16]; 22. 2D Dylan Opdahl[19]; 23. 10-Landon Britt[13]; 24. 91-Justin fine[22]

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