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Hafertepe Jr. Wins Battle of Attrition at Dodge City

In the midst of a race with challenging elements aplenty, Sam Hafertepe Jr. would not be denied, as he collected his first American Sprint Car Series National Tour win of the season at Dodge City Raceway Park Saturday night.

The win was the 66th of Hafertepe’s illustrious National Tour career, but it was also his first Podium finish of 2024 with the Series.

“We show up every night to win, and obviously we haven’t been coming close to doing that,” Hafertepe said. “Every night we’ve been ending up with some damage on the racecar, this happens to us or that happens to us. Can’t feel sorry for yourself, just got to race one race at a time and the wins will come.”

Haftertepe Interview
Sam Hafertepe Jr. discusses his victory on the frontstretch after the race (Emily Schwanke Photo)

After starting on the pole following his second Dash victory in as many nights, Matt Covington led the opening seven circuits until the first pause in the action. Bryan Gossel spun on the exit of Turn 4 and kept going, but knocked a cone onto the racing surface which forced officials to throw a caution for debris.

When the race resumed, Covington began building a lead once more, but his night fell apart seven laps after the restart. In his attempt to lap Gossel, Covington collided with the rear end of the No. 6G, damaging his front axle beyond repair and ending his night.

Covington’s misfortune handed the lead to Hafertepe, who closely trailed Covington for much of the first half of the race.

After Bryant Wiedeman’s flip just one lap later, Hafertepe waged war with Jason Martin for the top spot in the late stages. Both drivers made several slip-ups on the tricky track surface, allowing their opponent to sneak through before having a mishap of their own.

“Got into lap traffic there, it was really hard to pass,” Hafertepe said. “Guys were plugging up the middle, the bottom, the top. There really wasn’t anywhere to go, because the first guy that caught the lap car was kind of screwed, and then the second guy had the better opportunity.”

The pace slowed with just five laps to go due to a wild ride for Jeremy Campbell, with Hafertepe in the lead at the time of the caution. Hafertepe was able to pull off an error-free restart and cruised away for his first win of 2024 on the National Tour.

“Lap traffic was so treacherous, but on a clean racetrack we had the best car all night long,” Hafertepe said. “I was really proud about our speed, we took a lot of good things away from that.”

While Martin’s wealth of Sprint Car experience gave him an advantage over the field in navigating the narrow racing groove, it wasn’t enough to keep the No. 15H behind him.

“I made a couple mistakes and let Sam get back by me,” Martin said. “It’s just what won him the race and lost me the race.”

While he did not have the pace to challenge the leaders, Hank Davis completed his first weekend with TwoC Racing with his second-career Podium finish with the Series.

“Super proud of this team,” Davis said. “Just shows you how good this team is. Wayne [Johnson]’s got his stuff figured out, and these guys work really well. Todd Carlile at TwoC Racing, man, he’s got everything we need. It’s really up to us now.”

Dodge City Podium
The top three finishers celebrate in Victory Lane (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Jordon Mallett brought home a fourth-place finish as a substitute for the injured Brandon Anderson in the No. 55B car, while Landon Britt rounded out the top five to collect his best finish of 2024 on the National Tour.

The night’s Hard Charger Award went to Texas native Michael Day, who drove from 22nd to 13th in his third Series start at Dodge City.

A sixth-place run for Seth Bergman was enough for him to hold onto a 57-point lead over Martin. Seventh-place runner Andrew Deal (-74) sits third, with Hafertepe (-76) and Covington (-97) completing the top five.

UP NEXT: The National Tour will get ready for the long-awaited return of ASCS Speedweek, which begins Tuesday, June 11 at Texarkana 67 Speedway in Arkansas. Tickets will be available at the gate on race day, while DIRTVision will provide live coverage of all the night’s racing action.

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[6]; 2. 36-Jason Martin[4]; 3. 2C-Hank Davis[3]; 4. 55B-Jordon Mallett[5]; 5. 10-Landon Britt[8]; 6. 23-Seth Bergman[7]; 7. 15D-Andrew Deal[11]; 8. 2-Brekton Crouch[2]; 9. 88J-Jeremy Huish[17]; 10. 2J-Zach Blurton[14]; 11. 91X-Jeff Stasa[13]; 12. 45X-Kyler Johnson[15]; 13. 91-Michael Day[22]; 14. 16G-Austyn Gossel[20]; 15. 10C-Jeremy Campbell[9]; 16. 938-Bradley Fezard[18]; 17. 88-Terry Easum[21]; 18. 11K-Tyler Knight[19]; 19. 1X-Bryant Wiedeman[12]; 20. 95-Matt Covington[1]; 21. 6G-Bryan Gossel[10]; 22. 0-Steven Richardson[16]; 23. 88K-Jordan Knight[23]; 24. (DNS) 88R-Ryder Laplante; 25. (DNS) 57P-Peter Walker; 26. (DNS) 6-Kaden Taylor