TULSA, Okla. – Blake Hahn’s charge from 12th to third on Monday night during the Cummins Qualifying Night feature was so quiet, even he didn’t realize it was happening at first.
“It was like I blinked, and I was in third!” he joked afterward, a big grin splashed across his face.
Hahn made lanes largely where his competition wasn’t in the 30-lapper, utilizing both the inside and outside grooves to make passes at times in his Velocita-sponsored No. 52 Bullet-Toyota.
However, it was a restart with 12 laps to go where Hahn’s move through the field became apparent.
After the green waved on lap 19, Hahn surged from sixth to third when Carson Macedo got hung up in the outside cushion off turn two and suddenly slowed, forcing many to take evasive action.
But Hahn found a lane to squeak through, grabbing the position he’d eventually hold to the finish.
“Man, they started throwing sliders into one on one of those restarts, and out of the corner of my eye I saw somebody bike up. I don’t know if they got into somebody or what happened, but then we were in third and I told myself, ‘Man, don’t blow it and make sure you hit your marks,’” Hahn said. “I knew we could get a top three, but I really started reeling in Tyler (Courtney) there and thought (locking in) was actually something that could happen.
“Once I got to the bottom, though, he moved down really quickly and took my line away, and then the yellow came out and he wasn’t going to let that happen again,” Hahn continued. “But I’m proud of our team to be able to finish on the podium against such stiff competition and guys that run midgets all the time. I think it says a lot that we were able to be on the prelim podium for a second year in a row.”
Hahn is a seasoned ASCS winged sprint car competitor in the 360 ranks, with a runner-up points finish to Sam Hafertepe Jr. in 2019 standing as his best season to date.
However, his family’s history at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals runs deep. Blake’s grandfather, Emmett Hahn, co-founded the Super Bowl of Midget Racing in 1987 alongside the late Lanny Edwards.
While Blake Hahn struggled in his first few Chili Bowl attempts, he’s made the Saturday A Main in three of the last six years and posted his career-best finale performance of eighth last January.
With another preliminary night podium in hand, Hahn believes the lessons he’s learned and the gains his team has made on his car from year to year will give him a chance to contend for his first Golden Driller.
“This Bullet-Toyota package is unbelievable. The more I race it, the more comfortable I feel and the harder I can drive it,” Hahn noted. “I feel like we’ve got really solid, competitive car to be able to come from 12th on any prelim night now. So I think, come Saturday, if everything goes fine and we get the car dialed in that we’ll be good.
“We’ve had to work our way out of the B before; I think this will be my third time coming out of the B to make the (Saturday) feature, so it’s nothing new for us,” Hahn added. “I can guarantee you, the nerves will be up on Saturday, but when it comes down to the end of it, we’ll hopefully be right there.”
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