Hafertepe Tops Final Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The final chapter in the storied history of Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway clay oval was punctuated on Saturday night as Sam Hafertepe, Jr., took the $15,041 winner’s share in the 35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires 41-lap finale atop the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval.

And the final race at I-30 Speedway concluded in true form with a spirited battle between Hafertepe, Jr., and fellow “Twin 20” STN preliminary feature winner Aaron Reutzel before Hafertepe, Jr., ultimately prevailed.

But after slipping past pole starter Reutzel for the point on the 18th round, Hafertepe’s work wasn’t done as Reutzel battled back and offered up challenges to reclaim the lead including contact at the flagstand with a half-dozen laps remaining to take his second Short Track Nationals title aboard the Hills Racing Cigar Port/Truenorth.bet No. 15h Sprint Car.

“I’m just glad the 8r didn’t win the race after driving people the way he drives people,” a heated Hafertepe, Jr., exclaimed in victory lane. “But guess what, we came out on top and he’s sitting over there.”

After winning the Pack’s Dash for Cash to earn the pole position for the main event, Reutzel gunned into the lead at the outset after picking off both Thursday and Friday night wins as third-starting Hafertepe, Jr., immediately made his way past outside front row starter Dylan Westbrook for second.




Slowed by a pair of cautions in the opening eight rounds for Cody Gardner’s cut left rear tire after five circuits and then Ryan Timms coming to a stop at the top of turn four with race-ending front end damage three laps later, Hafertepe, Jr., stayed in contact with Reutzel in the ensuing laps as the duo broke away from the field.

Lapped traffic came into play after 17 circuits and Hafertepe, Jr., pounced on the lead a lap later in turns three and four to take command.

“I was just waiting for him to mess up, I knew he probably would eventually,” Hafertepe, Jr., explained. “We hit the hole when it got there and just protected the rest of the way.”

He protected effectively enough, denying a Reutzel slider in turns one two on the 32nd lap and then escaping frontstretch contact upon the completion of the 35th lap that resulted in nosewing damage on Reutzel’s RSR Mobil 1 No. 8 machine.

With Reutzel slowed by the incident, Hafertepe, Jr., raced on to the stripe in the final handful of laps to run his weekend earnings to $18,691 with Reutzel settling for runner-up honors.

“I was just a little too conservative early, that hole almost bit me on the first lap so I didn’t really want to go through it,” Reutzel explained. “I knew you could make some speed if you could get through that hole clean, I couldn’t do that and that was what he was executing.”

Even with the runner-up finish, Reutzel still pocketed $15,146 for the three-day weekend.

“It just wasn’t meant to be, but we had a great weekend,” Reutzel wrapped up. “We came down and supported the Clays for the last race, all in all it was a great weekend.”

Little more than a lap away from earning the pole position for the feature before the right front tire came off the bead, California’s Justin Sanders moved from fifth to third by the ninth round and held the show position the rest of the way aboard the Swindell Speedlab Bubbly Brands No. 39 entry.

“It’s awesome to at least get on the podium, I’ll take this third place,” Sanders commented. “I felt really good for a while, I felt like I got in a rhythm until I got to a couple of lapped cars and got my rhythm broken.”

After swapping positions several times with Dylan Westbrook over the early portion of the race, Seth Bergman crossed the stripe fourth with three-time STN winner Blake Hahn rallying from the tenth starting position to round out the top five.

Westbrook was sixth at the line with Wayne Johnson, Jason Martin, 16th-starter Derek Hagar and Garet Williamson completing the top ten.

Sanders posted the best finish among those making first career STN championship finale starts in third with others making their first finale including Steven Russell (17th), Jeremy Middleton (19th) and Timms (20th).

At the other end of the spectrum, Tim Crawley claimed 11th at the line as he made his 25th career STN championship finale in his I-30 Speedway farewell.

With 87 cars on hand for the STN finale, Jeffrey West, Howard Moore, Dale Howard, Wayne Johnson, Middleton, Jack Wagner, Sanders, Williamson and Matt Covington topped heat race action.

Jace Park and Ayden Gatewood topped “D” Mains, Jerry Brey and Blake Jenkins won “C” Mains and Dale Howard and Hagar scored “B” Main wins.

After Samuel Wagner, Landon Crawley and Rick Pringle got upside down in heat race action, Zach Pringle (D Main) and Kyler Johnson (B Main) turned over as well before Joey Schmidt became the final official flip at I-30 Speedway during the second “B” Main.

Lucas Oil ASCS National tour

I-30 Speedway – Little Rock, AR

35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Saturday Night Results:

Locked-in from Friday Preliminaries: 87-Aaron Reutzel, 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 36-Jason Martin, 23-Seth Bergman.

Heat Races (Top 10 in combined points from Friday night and Saturday night heat race passing points to the “A” Main – Balance to Twin “B”, “C” and “D” Mains):

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 24-Jeffrey West (1), 2. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (6), 3. 71-Bradyn Baker (9), 4. 13m-Chance McCrary (2), 5. 91z-Zach Pringle (5), 6. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (4), 7. 72p-Gary Floyd (8), 8. 17b-Ryan Bickett (10), 9. 63LK-Ted Kirkpatrick (3), 10. 29h-Pete Butler (7).

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 3-Howard Moore (1), 2. 1jr-Steven Russell (2), 3. 29-Chad Jones (3), 4. 87-Tim Crawley (5), 5. 1s-Joey Schmidt (6), 6. 0-Eric Baldaccini (8), 7. 48-Wade Buttrey (4), 8. 17a-Alex Lyles (7), 9. 132-Jamie Manley (9).

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 47-Dale Howard (2), 2. 45x-Kyler Johnson (4), 3. 21r-Gunner Ramey (5), 4. 30-Joseph Miller (3), 5. 84-Brandon Hanks (7), 6. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (8), 7. 93-Chris Sweeney (9), 8. 73-Samuel Wagner (6), 9. 187-Landon Crawley (1).

Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2c-Wayne Johnson (3), 2. 21s-Kobe Simpson (1), 3. 14-Jordon Mallett (7), 4. 6-Christopher Townsend (4), 5. 16-Steven Howell (2), 6. 97-Scotty Milan (9), 7. 37-Ayden Gatewood (6), 8. 21x-Carson Short (8), 9. 74-Tucker Boulton (5).

Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (2), 2. 13-Chase Howard (1), 3. 9jr-Derek Hagar (6), 4. 4x-Brad Bowden (3), 5. G6-Cody Gardner (7), 6. 43m-Mark Smith (9), 7. 2-Chase Porter (5), 8. 19-Jason Long (8), 9. 12m-Greg Merritt (4).

Sixth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 77-Jack Wagner (2), 2. 99-Blake Jenkins (4), 3. 22s-Slater Helt (3), 4. 10-Landon Britt (1), 5. 26-Marshall Skinner (7), 6. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (9), 7. 69-Jamey Mooney (6), 8. 10k-Dewayne White (5), 9. 21-Spencer Meredith (8).

Seventh Heat (8 Laps): 1. 39-Justin Sanders (3), 2. 17-Alex Sewell (1), 3. 22-Riley Goodno (2), 4. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (4), 5. 85-Josh McCord (5), 6. 10p-Dylan Postier (8), 7. 55-Donnie Howard (6), 8. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (9), 9. 63-Chris Williams (7).

Eighth Heat (8 Laps); 1. 24w-Garet Williamson (8), 2. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (1), 3. 91-Michael Day (2), 4. 17J-Jerry Brey (4), 5. 67-Hayden Martin (7), 6. 87J-Jace Park (5), 7. 8m-Kade Morton (6), 8. 2T-Todd Bradford (3), 9. 38-Rick Pringle (9).

Ninth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington (3), 2. 51b-Joe B. Miller (4), 3. 5T-Ryan Timms (6), 4. 52-Blake Hahn (9), 5. 5L-Dusty Young (2), 6. 41-Colton Hardy (7), 7. 44-Ronny Howard (5), 8. 938-Bradley Fezard (8), 9. 55b-Brandon Anderson (1).

“D” Mains – Top 3 from each transfer to corresponding “C” Main:

First “D” Feature (8 Laps): 1. 87J-Jace Park (4), 2. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (1), 3. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (5), 4. 44-Ronny Howard (3), 5. 21-Spencer Meredith (7), 6. 48-Wade Buttrey (8), 7. 69-Jamey Mooney (6), 8. 19-Jason Long (9), 9. 63LK-Ted Kirkpatrick (10), 10. 91z-Zach Pringle (2), 11. 74-Tucker Boulton (DNS), 12. 55b-Brandon Anderson (DNS).

Second “D” Feature (8 Laps): 1. 37-Ayden Gatewood (2), 2. 16-Steven Howell (4), 3. 2T-Todd Bradford (1), 4. 17a-Alex Lyles (5), 5. 938-Bradley Fezard (6), 6. 10k-Dewayne White (7), 7. 63-Chris Williams (9), 8. 72p-Gary Floyd (3), 9. 29h-Pete Butler (10), 10. 132-Jamie Manley (11), 11. 38-Rick Pringle (8), 12. 12m-Greg Merritt (DNS).

“C” Mains – Top 3 from each transfer to corresponding “B” Main:

First “C” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 17J-Jerry Brey (3), 2. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (1), 3. 0-Eric Baldaccini (4), 4. 2-Chase Porter (5), 5. 87J-Jace Park (11), 6. 21s-Kobe Simpson (2), 7. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (13), 8. 55-Donnie Howard (9), 9. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (12), 10. 5L-Dusty Young (8), 11. 97-Scotty Milan (7), 12. 13m-Chance McCrary (10), 13. 8m-Kade Morton (6), 14. 29-Chad Jones (DNS), 15. 73-Samuel Wagner (DNS).

Second “C” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 99-Blake Jenkins (1), 2. 1s-Joey Schmidt (7), 3. 24-Jeffrey West (3), 4. 6-Christopher Townsend (6), 5. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (5), 6. 37-Ayden Gatewood (10), 7. 17b-Ryan Bickett (9), 8. 16-Steven Howell (11), 9. 2T-Todd Bradford (12), 10. 93-Chris Sweeney (8), 11. 21x-Carson Short (2), 12. 30-Joseph Miller (4), 13. 91-Michael Day (DNS), 14. 67-Hayden Martin (DNS), 15. 187-Landon Crawley (DNS).

Pack Building Materials Dash for Cash:

Dash for Cash (6 Laps): 1. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (3) [$500], 2. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (2) [$250], 3. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (6) [$150], 4. 23-Seth Bergman (4) [$100], 5. 39-Justin Sanders (1) [$100], 6. 36-Jason Martin (5) [$100].

“B” Mains – Top 3 from each transfer to “A” Main:

First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 47-Dale Howard (1), 2. G6-Cody Gardner (9), 3. 1jr-Steven Russell (4), 4. 10p-Dylan Postier (6), 5. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (3), 6. 71-Bradyn Baker (5), 7. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (10), 8. 22s-Slater Helt (7), 9. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (14), 10. 17J-Jerry Brey (13), 11. 0-Eric Baldaccini (15), 12. 84-Brandon Hanks (12), 13. 13-Chase Howard (8), 14. 26-Marshall Skinner (11), 15. 45x-Kyler Johnson (2).

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 9jr-Derek Hagar (1), 2. 14-Jordon Mallett (6), 3. 95-Matt Covington (2), 4. 41-Colton Hardy (5), 5. 17-Alex Sewell (4), 6. 43m-Mark Smith (8), 7. 22-Riley Goodno (7), 8. 4x-Brad Bowden (9), 9. 24-Jeffrey West (15), 10. 21r-Gunner Ramey (10), 11. 99-Blake Jenkins (13), 12. 77-Jack Wagner (3), 13. 85-Josh McCord (12), 14. 1s-Joey Schimdt (14), 15. 10-Landon Britt (DNS).

“A” Feature:

A Feature (41 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (3) [$15,041], 2. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (1) [$7,500], 3. 39-Justin Sanders (5) [$5,000], 4. 23-Seth Bergman (4) [$2,500], 5. 52-Blake Hahn (10) [$2,000], 6. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (2) [$1,700], 7. 2c-Wayne Johnson (8) [$1,600], 8. 36-Jason Martin (6) [$1,500], 9. 9jr-Derek Hagar (16) [$1,450], 10. 24w-Garet Williamson (9) [$1,400], 11. 87-Tim Crawley (13) [$1,350], 12. 95-Matt Covington (20) [$1,300], 13. 47-Dale Howard (15) [$1,200], 14. 14-Jordan Mallet (18) [$1,150], 15. 51b-Joe B. Miller (14) [$1,100], 16. 3-Howard Moore (12) [$1,100], 17. 1jr-Steven Russell (19) [$1,100], 18. G6-Cody Gardner (17) [$1,100], 19. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (11) [$1,100], 20. 5T-Ryan Timms (7) [$1,100].

Lap Leaders: Aaron Reutzel 1-17, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 18-41.