SOMERTON, Ariz. — Seth Bergman snapped a 45-race winless streak with a victory in the opener of the two-night Lucas Oil ASCS National season finale at Cocopah Speedway.
“We made some changes and man, this thing has been bad fast ever since. I can’t say enough about my guys,” Bergman said. “They work their tails off on this thing and I just feel like the lucky guy that gets to get behind the wheel.”
Addressing the crowd following his ninth career Lucas Oil ASCS victory, Bergman said, “I don’t know about you guys up there, but I was on pins and needles, so I’m sure you had to be too. That was excited.”
Fighting a sticking throttle on the opening rotations to drop from third to fourth, the Corridor Electric No. 23 rode fourth the opening seven rounds as fellow Washington native, Jason Solwold, led the charge into slower traffic.
With traffic in play, Solwold had fast company as Herrera, Bergman, and Hafertepe began putting in their bid for the lead. Dicing in and out of the back markers, the No. 23 worked on second on lap 12. Carrying momentum the following lap, Bergman shot to the race lead and began putting car lengths between Solwold and himself.
Setting sail into slower traffic, Bergman pulled the slide around a lapped car, but found a rut though the second turn. Upsetting the car and nearly ending his night, the Washington native narrowly recovered, but allowed Solwold back into the lead on the 15th round.
Rebuilding his run, Bergman was not to be denied. He made the race-winning pass on lap 18 with Sam Hafertepe Jr. in tow. Racing back and forth with the No. 15h in the closing laps, Solwold eventually worked back into second but would trail Bergman by 0.593 seconds at the checkered flag.
“Seth ran a heck of a race,” Solwold said. “We just got hung up behind a lapped car and that was racing us all pretty hard there and just came out on the short end of the stick there but Seth got up there and set a good pace. We just needed to be better with the car but finishing second locks us into tomorrow.”
Rolling like a house of fire in the closing laps, Aaron Reutzel advanced 11 spots to take the final podium spot.
“I needed to get through my qualifier better,” Reutzel said. “I made a mistake that cost me and we ended up starting 14th, but we were really good. I don’t even fell like I needed a caution because them racing through lapped traffic is what helped me get through there. The car was awesome.”
Settling for fourth, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. garnered the final transfer into Saturday’s championship event and will start as the 2016 Lucas Oil ASCS presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network champion.
Roger Crockett completed the top five the HAM Construction No. 35m.
Seth Bergman, Jason Solwold, Aaron Reutzel, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Roger Crockett, Johnny Herrera, Wayne Johnson, Dominic Scelzi, Michael Kofoid, Cory Eliason, Matt Covington, Mason Moore, Ryan Smith, Colby Copeland, Blake Hahn, Rick Ziehl, Thomas Kennedy, Logan Forler, Reece Goetz, Bob Ream Jr., Chase Goetz, Kyle Bellm, Colton Hardy, D.J. Netto.