KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Sept. 8, 2022) — Touring Sprint car master Sam Hafertepe Jr. is a busy man every summer, bouncing between various 410 and 360 cubic inch events all over the country. When the Texas native shows up at an ASCS National event, they know he'll be a factor.
Hafertepe recorded his third A Main win of 2022 and the 61st of his illustrious career, as he claimed the $3,000 prize on Thursday night at Lakeside Speedway.
Shadren Turner (USRA B Mods) and Chris Dishong (E Mods) were also feature winners on a beautiful late-summer night for racing in Kansas City.
Hafertepe, of Sunnyvale, Texas, started on the pole after dominating the first of three qualifying heats earlier in the evening. Garet Williamson drove up from fifth on the 23-car grid to finish second, while Jason Martin started fourth and crossed the line in third.
Matt Covington (Glenpool, OK) and Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) completed the top five.
“I like these faster places where you can get up on the wall like that, it's pretty neat,” Hafertepe said in Victory Lane. “We probably didn't have our car as good as we should have, we've been trying a left rear shock deal that's a little bit different than normal.
“We're just trying a few things here and there, I don't think we had the wing set right on the race car, either. I like having clean air like that; when you race a lot you learn where to put your car and how to put it in the right places at the right time. I'm glad we got it done tonight.”
Powell was pleased with his efforts, admitting he and his ASCS rivals were outclassed on this night.
“Sam was really good tonight,” he said after catching his breath. “Actually, with about two to go I finally got by those lapped cars and I wondered if I was leading, then I peeked down the back stretch and Sam was already on the other side. He is one of the best in a 360, and he's really good in a 410.
“I can't say enough about my guys; last weekend was our first outing together and we're kind of learning right now. It's just me, my crew chief, Corey; and my girlfriend out on the road. We're kind of struggling right now, but we're getting better every week.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the ASCS National A Main were Riley Goodno, defending series champion and current point leader Blake Hahn, Jake Buback, who set a new track record in Time Trials with a blistering lap of 14.560 seconds; Chris Martin and Ryan Bickett.
Only one incident slowed the pace, and it was a scary one at that. The field blasted around the Lakeside oval for 19 uninterrupted laps until Dylan Westbrook took a wild ride. Westbrook's machine flipped going into Turn 1, got up into the wall and tore a significant portion of the catchfence out of place.
Fortunately, Westbrook was not injured in the violent wreck that brought our the red flag immediately. Once repairs were made to that fence above the outside retaining wall, racing resumed. It served as a reminder of just how quickly things can go wrong when one of these rockets gets out of shape.
Turner, of St. Joseph, Missouri, led all 15 laps of his feature in convincing fashion. Turner has enjoyed an absolutely amazing year, as this was his 27th win of the season. Tim Powell started third and crossed the stripe in second, while Terry Schulz drove from 10th on the grid to finish third.
Jaylen Wettengel (Topeka, KS) and Kyle Henning (Atchison, KS) rounded out the to five.
“I thought at first I was starting outside the front row, but when I got the pole I knew I just needed to get to the top,” Turner said. “I saw Tim peek his nose in there a couple of times; I thought about trying to do something different but I figured it best not to overthink it. After last week, it feels good to win.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA B Mod feature were Trevor Hand, Dakota Jennings, Brian Andrews, Gabe Hodges and Brayden Bennett. Two cautions slowed the pace, one before a single lap was completed. Turner's margin of victory was just a tick under one second.
Dishong, of Atchison, Kansas, started third, drove around the outside of early leader Jake Hodges to take command of that E Mod feature at lap three and pulled away to earn a $1,000 payday. Zach Boyd started fifth on the 22-car grid and finished second, while Paul Carter filled out the podium.
Local favorite Buz Kaster (Kansas City) put in a solid effort to finish fourth, while Bonner Springs, KS, racer Dennie Belknap powered his way up from 20th at the start to complete the top five.
“He (Boyd) has been pretty hard to beat all year,” Dishong said. “We just got this car a couple of weeks ago, and we actually tore it up last week. So we're just glad to finish at this point. We bought the car race ready and haven't changed anything on it yet. It drives pretty good.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 20-lap E Mod feature were Casey Burnett, Jessie Mulich, Kevin White, Jake Richards and Devin Saler. Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 6, 15, 16), all for minor incidents. The E Mods are a talent-filled bunch at Lakeside Speedway, and can put on quite a show.
Fifty-nine entries filed the pits at Lakeside on Thursday evening, led by the mighty ASCS Sprints and E Mods with 23 cars apiece. Officials knocked out time trials, eight heats and three A Mains in just over two and a half hours once things got rolling. The big, fast oval at Lakeside was very well prepared.
You can replay all of the action from Thursday night's action-packed ASCS program at Lakeside Speedway with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 350 events on the Live streaming schedule this year, it's home to some of the best content found anywhere online.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer