SALINA, Okla. — The 11th time the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV American Real graced the clay of the Salina Highbanks Speedway saw Sam Hafertepe Jr. become the track’s seventh different winner Saturday night.
Hafertepe’s fourth career victory with the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by MAVTV American Real, saw him hold off hard-charging Johnny Herrera on the final lap.
“That’s why I dropped down there because I knew if I used that lapped car to block, we would probably win the race. You just have to drive smart sometimes,” Hafertepe said. “To be honest, we weren’t set up for that track at all. We were awesome in one and two and we were taking advantage of it down there. I knew the guys were searching around because I could see the middle getting a little dark so I knew them guys were running down there so when we came to lapped cars, I could roll through there pretty nice but I wasn’t going to move until I saw a nose and really, we were just making something up in three and four. I didn’t have a very good car down there at all.”
After having to roll back the start for spun cars and false starts, the field finally fired with Mike Goodman jumping to the lead over Tony Bruce Jr. Slowing for the spun No. 65L of Nicolas Lucito with a single lap completed, the focus of the restart was the race for second with Jason Johnson taking the runner up spot on lap three.
Caution again on lap four for a tangle between Mickey Walker and Blake Hahn, a single lap passed before the caution waved again.
Setting up for the restart on lap five, the field dove into turn one with Jason Johnson taking a huge run to the bottom line. Drifting up the track in a bid for the lead, the Right Rear of Johnson’s No. 41 found the Left Front of Mike Goodman’s No. 11am as Goodman tried to hold the lead.
The contact sent Goodman skyward into the catchfence, and severely damaged the No. 41 in the process. Goodman was shaken, but unharmed in the incident. Johnson would not return after begin docked a lap by ASCS officials for his crew entered the track under a closed red and working on the car outside the work area.
Finding Goodman and Johnson out of competition, the lead fell into the hands of Sam Hafertepe Jr.
With Dustin Morgan and Tony Bruce, Jr. in tow, the Lone Star Speedway No. 15h opened his advantage quickly. Finding slower traffic on lap 12, the gap would begin to shrink as Morgan now found himself under fire from Aaron Reutzel who made the pass for second, only to see the caution put the field back a lap on the 16th round. Reutzel’s night ended two laps later with mechanical problems.
Coming from ninth, Johnny Herrera now occupied the third spot. Setting sights on Dustin Morgan for second, Herrera raced by on lap 23.
“I wasn’t really good at the start of the race, but I just kept staying with it,” said Herrera. “We’ve been fighting engine issues all night just trying to get up and run hard, but we kept going at it and kept the car free and you know, as the track freed up, we got better so thank God for the track getting free but I love this place. It’s a fun place every time we come here. We should have won a race here already and got close again tonight.”
Dustin Morgan raced to his third podium finish of the season with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour.
Brad Loyet race to fourth from 13th with Tony Bruce Jr. slipping back to fifth at the checkered flag.
Sam Hafertepe Jr., Johnny Herrera, Dustin Morgan, Brad Loyet, Tony Bruce Jr., Jeff Swindell, Matt Covington, Seth Bergman, Danny Jennings, Blake Hahn, Brandon Hanks, Mickey Walker, Kyle Clark, Ty Williams, Alex Sewell, Aaron Reutzel, Sean McClelland, Kyle Bellm, Mike Goodman, Jason Johnson, Nicholas Lucito.