Hafertepe Jr. Nearly Wins Knoxville Nationals Prelim Night
Inside Line Promotions – KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 11, 2014) – Sam Hafertepe Jr. is rejuvenated following a stellar performance at the 54th annual FVP Knoxville Nationals Presented by Casey’s General Stores.
“All in all we’re really pleased leaving there,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back there next year. I wish the Nationals was happening again already. We have a lot of good notes.”
Hafertepe Jr. was fast all weekend, beginning last Thursday with his preliminary night during the premier sprint car event at Knoxville Raceway. After qualifying 20th quickest, Hafertepe Jr. powered from fifth to second place in his heat race.
“We wanted to definitely time better than that to put us in a better position for points,” he said. “The way the track was most of the elite cars got through their heat races. Getting up to second gave us a pretty good amount of points.”
It also started Hafertepe Jr. on the inside of the second row for the 25-lap feature. He quickly worked into the runner-up position and took the lead on Lap 14. It marked the first time he led feature laps during the Knoxville Nationals.
“It was pretty special to get out there and lead laps,” he said. “I really thought we were going to win the deal until that red flag we had.”
The field was bunched up and the lapped cars were sent to the back on the restart following the red flag with approximately a half-dozen laps remaining. Knoxville Raceway veteran Brian Brown took advantage and made a pass for the lead with five laps remaining.
“Anytime you get in an open track with him he is tough to beat,” Hafertepe Jr. said. “All in all, to run second on our prelim night after qualifying 20 th was a big boost for our points.”
His runner-up finish was enough to lock the car into Saturday’s $150,000-to-win feature, which Hafertepe Jr. started on the outside of the sixth row. Unfortunately, he was caught up in a spin in turn four on Lap 4 that sent him to the back.
“Early on I got into turn three and they had a rut,” he said. “I got into it wrong. I got tight in the rut and tried to break it lose. The car got out from underneath me.”
Hafertepe Jr. then fell down a lap just before the midpoint of the race. However, he stayed within striking distance of leader Donny Schatz and was almost able to get back on the lead lap before the scheduled midpoint caution.
“We almost unlapped ourselves from Schatz,” Hafertepe Jr. said. “We had a lot of speed. Being mired that far in traffic, it’s really hard to maneuver through there. We think we could have ran seventh or eighth realistically without the spin.”
He ended with a 17th-place result.
“Speed-wise we were really good,” he said. “That’s why I’m looking forward to going back there. We know we had a lot of speed.”
Hafertepe Jr. will compete with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series on Tuesday at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., before wrapping up the weekend on Saturday at Salina Highbanks Speedway in Salina, Okla., with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour.
QUICK RESULTS –
Aug. 7 – Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa – Qualifying: 20; Heat race: 2 (5); Feature: 2 (3).
Aug. 9 – Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa – Feature: 17 (12).
SEASON STATS –
50 races, 3 wins, 14 top fives, 23 top 10s, 31 top 15s, 38 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Tuesday at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series and Saturday at Salina Highbanks Speedway in Salina, Okla., with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour
MEDIA LINKS –
Here is a link to highlights of Hafertepe Jr. winning the ASCS Gulf South Region race at Heart O’Texas Speedway on June 6: http://youtu.be/QWG0RyKXyX8
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Kiebler & Sons Lawn and Landscaping
Kiebler & Sons Lawn and Landscaping is a residential landscaping business based in New Oxford, Pa.
“They are really good friends of ours who have been around for quite a while,” Hafertepe Jr. said. “We’ve always really appreciated their support.”
Hafertepe Jr. would also like to thank Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Lonestar Speedway, Wells Racing Engines, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Smiley’s Racing Products, Fisher Racing Engines, J&J Auto Racing, Pro Shocks by OC Shocks, Fire-Down Graphics, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Vortex Wings, Kear’s Speed Shop, Pancho’s Racing Products, GPC, Joe Gibbs Racing Oils, Zemco Headers and Simpson Racing Products for their continued support.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS –
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