RAPID CITY, S.D. — Sam Hafertepe Jr. is the first to double digit wins with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network this season after his 10th victory on the opening night of the Rushmore Rumble Friday at Black Hills Speedway.
“I tell you, we didn’t really prepare for what the track went to. I missed it a little bit, and the rubber actually saved us. If there would have been a bigger cushion like there was in the Heats, we were more prepared for that but even then, there’s no excuses. We got the win. Just had to get that wing back a little bit to straighten her out,” said Hafertepe who picked up his 25th career victory and first at Black Hills Speedway.
Hafertepe took the early lead from the pole as Blake Hahn gave chase. Finding traffic within the first five laps, Hafertepe was able to build a comfortable advantage, but it vanished as traffic worked wheel to wheel. Allowing Hahn to build momentum, the Griffith Truck and Equipment No. 52 shot to the lead twice though the first and second turns, but could not hold off Hafertepe.
Working lap 11, Hahn again looked to set up the No. 15h, but a slower car would nearly end Blake’s night as Hahn’s right rear went skyward over Clint Anderson’s. While action continued, a red flag came soon enough when Lany Reber flipped into the fence.
Bypassing the work area, Hahn restarted behind Hafertepe. Into traffic again in a matter of laps, Hahn closed quickly but mechanical woes would finally strike; sending Blake into the on lap 16. Avoiding the caution, the runner-up spot fell into the hands of Aaron Reutzel.
Trailing by over three seconds, traffic again came into play as the centerline began to form. Having to move out of the rubber to make moves around the back markers, Hafertepe came under fire with two laps to go. With a massive slide job in the third and fourth turn, Reutzel took the point. Turning the car down the track, Hafertepe found the grip and with it, held the lead by inches.
“Just getting through lapped traffic was tough and maybe I was being a little too careful,” Hafertepe explained. “We have a great car and I didn’t want to mess anything up but when I went in behind the No. 75, I got crossed up and that allowed Aaron to get by, but once we got back to the bottom, Aaron slipped up a little bit and thankfully I was able to get by and hold on to win.”
Hafertepe edged Reutzel by 1.509 seconds with Seth Bergman, Matt Covington and Skylar Gee rounding out the top five.
Sam Hafertepe Jr., Aaron Reutzel, Seth Bergman, Matt Covington, Skylar Gee, Harli White, Robbie Price, Wayne Johnson, Johnny Herrera, David Hoiness, Rich Martin, D.J. Brink, Mindy McCord, Mike Sires, Clint Anderson, Andee Beierle, Robert DeHaan, Adam Speckman, Blake Hahn, Randy Dolberg, Kevin Ingle, Lany Reber, Jeremy McCune.