Smith Keeps Rolling At Wheatland

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Mark Smith (1) and Sam Hafertepe Jr. at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Greg Stanek photo)
Mark Smith (1) and Sam Hafertepe Jr. at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Greg Stanek photo)

WHEATLAND, Mo. — Mark Smith visited victory lane for the second night in a row at Lucas Oil Speedway, winning Friday’s Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series feature during the Hockett/McMillin Memorial.

It was Smith’s 19th sprint car victory this season.

Smith started on the front row and wasted little time taking command, beating Sam Hafertepe Jr. at the start as those two ran 1-2 through eight laps.

Justin Sanders slipped past Hafertepe and into second by lap nine. By then, the leaders were dealing with lapped traffic as the race had a length green-flag run.

Smith’s lead was 2.7 seconds over Sanders when a red flag halted things on lap 14 as 15-year-old Chase Randall slapped the turn-four wall and got upside down.

As racing resumed and with a clear track ahead, Smith wasted little time putting the race away. He sprinted away to a 3.5-second lead by lap 20 and, navigating lapped cars again over the final two laps, Smith wound up 2.6 seconds in front of Sanders.

Smith earned his third career ASCS national-tour win and 19th win overall in 2020. He was runner-up in last year’s final-night Hockett-McMillin feature.

“This is a hard track to keep up with,” Smith said. “They rework it and you just don’t know what to do there. But I just did the same thing I did last night, which I pretty much do the same thing everywhere I go. It seems to be working pretty well.”

Hafertepe, the season points leader and four-time reigning ASCS champ, finished third. He’s looking to add to his Hockett-McMillin wins in 2017 and 2018.

“These first two nights don’t matter a whole lot,” Hafertepe said. “The final night is $10,000 to win and that’s what we come here to do. That’ll probably put us on the front row with Mark (Saturday night). He definitely has the car to beat right now.

“Everybody knows when it gets slick around here, we’re a lot better than we were tonight. We’re definitely gonna have to get better to stay up with him.”

Derek Hagar finished fourth with Jordon Mallett, runner-up on Thursday, in fifth.

Sanders, of Aromas, Calif., is making his first appearance at Lucas Oil Speedway this week.

“We had a pretty good car tonight – not as good as Mark Smith,” Sanders said. “He’s at another level right now. We have to get better to get up to him.”

The finish:

Feature (25 Laps): 1. 1M-Mark Smith[1]; 2. 16A-Justin Sanders[3]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 4. 9JR-Derek Hagar[14]; 5. 14-Jordon Mallett[4]; 6. 52-Blake Hahn[10]; 7. 1X-Tim Crawley[20]; 8. 28-Scott Bogucki[7]; 9. 47X-Dylan Westbrook[9]; 10. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[13]; 11. 1-Sean McClelland[6]; 12. 24-Garet Williamson[8]; 13. 47-Dale Howard[19]; 14. 21-Miles Paulus[25]; 15. 9M-Cody Baker[11]; 16. 14E-Kyle Bellm[5]; 17. 17W-Harli White[18]; 18. 91T-Tyler Thomas[22]; 19. 55B-Brandon Anderson[17]; 20. 18T-Tanner Holmes[15]; 21. 21P-Robbie Price[21]; 22. 5T-Ryan Timms[16]; 23. 9-Chase Randall[12]; 24. 95-Matt Covington[23]; 25. 11-Roger Crockett[24]