John Carney II Survives Hafertepe’s Barrage

John Carney II
John Carney II held off Sam Hafertepe Jr. to win Saturday’s Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series feature at Creek County Speedway. (Patrick Grant Photo)

SAPULPA, Okla. – John Carney II held off a barrage of slide jobs from Sam Hafertepe Jr. to pick up his second career Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series National Tour victory on Saturday at Creek County Speedway.

“Man, I don’t even know what to say right now. That was pretty spectacular from where I was sitting. He gave me a little room, I gave him a little room, and that’s what racing is all about in order to put on a good show for these fans. They’re what this is all about,” said Carney who, along with the $4,000 winner’s purse, also pocketed an extra $1,980 in bonus lap money.

Greeted in victory lane by Sam Hafertepe Jr. with a congratulatory handshake, Hafertepe commented, “How about this guy? That’s a hell of a racer to run the top like he did for 40 laps and barely ever falter. He was wearing me out man, and I wasn’t going to do him dirty. He did a hell of a job and he earned this one for sure.”

Carney began the 40 lap feature event from the pole with a straightaway long wheel-stand into the lead.

After a caution on lap two Carney was under pressure from Wayne Johnson and Seth Bergman, but was able to keep the pair at bay with the runner-up spot eventually taken over by Hafertepe, who utilized a lap five restart.

Pulling the top wing into the trunk, Hafertepe kept his Keith Dobbs Motorsports No. 15h pinned to the low line while Carney railed the cushion at both ends of the Creek County Speedway. Patiently pursuing the Lubbock Wrecker Service No. 11x, the door swung wide open for Hafertepe working lap 15 as Carney was all but stopped behind a slower car, but the caution would negate the pass.

Challenging again on the restart, Carney retained the lead. Slowed on lap 20, it didn’t take long to find traffic once the race resumed. Hooking the left front on the berm, Hafertepe pulled nearly even for the lead several times, but to no avail.

The yellow flag waved for the final time with 31 laps complete and the gloves were off as Hafertepe dove for the lead on the restart. Finally taking the top spot on lap 33 off the fourth turn, Carney returned the slide in kind to retake the point on lap 34.

Slide for slide, the pair used every inch of real estate they could find with Carney able to beat the No. 15h back to the flag stand. Switching lines to the bottom through the first and second turns in order to scrub off Hafertepe’s momentum, Carney finally got some breathing room in the closing few laps as the margin of victory was 1.109 seconds.

Seth Bergman bounced around the top-five most of the race before landing in third for the second night in a row.

“I was just trying to find every piece of real estate I could find out there. I had an awesome hot rod. My guys worked their butts off all weekend and gave me a car we could really compete with. We’ve been out for a month so to come back and get two podiums is a great result.”

Running in the top three at the final restart, and about to pressure both Hafertepe and Carney, Wayne Johnson would slip to a fourth as the brakes began fading in and out. Coming from 10th, Johnny Herrera claimed the fifth spot.

The finish:

John Carney II, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Seth Bergman, Wayne Johnson, Johnny Herrera, Kyle Bellm, Blake Hahn, Alex Sewell, Terry Gray, Zach Chappell, Matt Covington, Kade Morton, Sean McClelland, Brandon Hanks, Layne Himebaugh, Mickey Walker, Ryan Bickett, Fred Mattox, Brett Wilson, Thomas Kennedy, Johnny Kent, Joe Wood Jr., Jason McDougal, Logan Forler.