BILLINGS, Mont. — For the seventh time this season, Sam Hafertepe Jr. rolled the Heidbreder Foundation/Hills Racing Team No. 15h sprint car into Sawblade.com Victory Lane with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, topping Friday’s Battle at Big Sky Speedway presented by Track Enterprises.
“I knew we had a good car. Just got in the right spot and drove by all those guys to get the lead,” Hafertepe said.
Rolling off seventh for the 25-lap affair, the first start was short-lived as polesitter Travis Reber spun in the second turn, collecting Bryan Brown and Cody Masse in the process. None of the three drivers were able to continue.
Moving Hafertepe to sixth on the restart, the No. 15h was up to third by lap two as Harli White took command over Blake Hahn. Moving to third the following lap, the leaders began inching towards traffic with Hafertepe trailing by nearly a second before finally getting the run on White.
Searching around the three-eighths-mile oval, Hafertepe pulled side by side with White on the ninth laps, with White able to hold the point. Working lap 10, however, the lead swapped hands as Hafertepe shot to the top of the leaderboard.
Hafertepe pulled away as White raced with Scott Bogucki. Swapping the positions numerous times over the next couple laps, Bogucki secured the spot on lap 18 with Blake Hahn following two laps later.
Having worked to a half straightaway advantage, Hafertepe’s lead was chopped to mere car lengths as the No. 15h was held at bay by slower traffic battling for position.
Rolling to the right of Mindy McCune several times, Hafertepe kept the 15th-place driver as a pick until the final two laps. With Bogucki and Hahn nearly on Hafertepe’s back bumper, neither was able to make any moves before the checkered flag dropped.
“When we got to traffic, I knew we were better, but I didn’t want to press it,” Hafertepe explained. “I just played the block on the outside with guys on the bottom. On a deal like that, no one is going to get beside you. We just had to play our cards right and be at the right place at the right time to get it done,”
Bogucki, Hahn, White and Roger Crockett, who started 17th, completed the top five.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr., ; 2. 28-Scott Bogucki, ; 3. 52-Blake Hahn, ; 4. 17W-Harli White, ; 5. 11-Roger Crockett, ; 6. 95-Matt Covington, ; 7. 2X-Tucker Doughty, ; 8. 14-Jordon Mallett, ; 9. 77X-Alex Hill, ; 10. 37-Trever Kirkland, ; 11. J2-John Carney II, ; 12. 2JR-Kelly Miller, ; 13. 21P-Robbie Price, ; 14. 9K-Kory Wermling, ; 15. 11M-Mindy McCune, ; 16. 0J-Jeremy McCune, ; 17. 0-Ned Powers, ; 18. 33-Robert DeHaan, ; 19. 3-Jordan Milne, ; 20. (DNF) 77-Damon McCune, ; 21. (DNF) 88-Travis Reber, ; 22. (DNF) 38B-Bryan Brown, ; 23. (DNF) 35M-Cody Masse,