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Sam Hafertepe Jr. Has Up and Down 3 Race Week


Daryl Turford) Sunnyvale, Texas-It was a busy and difficult week for Sam Hafertepe Jr and the Plumbfast Racing Team. The team struggled at 34 Raceway, got taken out by a lapped car after coming from last to 7th at Charter and then capped the week off with a 15th place run at Cedar Lake.
The team started off the week at 34 Raceway in Burlington, IA. In 2008 Sam had turned in a blistering time trial lap but that would not be the case this time as he was unable to crack the top 20 and could only turn in a lap good enough for 21st overall.
“Our motor has a lot of nights on it”, explained Sam. “It ran pretty decent for us at Husets so we thought we’d be fine here but we were wrong. It’s just not pulling like it should and that killed us tonight”.
Sam started 6th in a stacked heat race. Hafertepe tried high and low to find a way into the feature but eventually came home 7th in a heat race where both he and 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser were unable to transfer out of.
Hafertepe lined up for the last chance showdown in the 4th position and was able to work his way into 3rd on the opening lap. Sam worked the bottom in turns 1 and 2 which allowed him to drive past Johnny Herrera for 2nd. Hafertepe looked like he might be able to close down on Steve Kinser for the win but just as quickly as he worked his way forward, he began to go backwards. Hafertepe hung on the rest of the way to take 3rd and transfer to the A feature.
“We got pretty lucky there”, explained the 2007 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year. “The bolt came all of the way out of the torsion stop which pretty much killed us for the rest of the race. We were lucky to do as well as we did”.
Hafertepe rolled out for the A Feature from deep in the field and during the opening laps struggled to make headway.
“The car was perfect in turns 1 and 2 but just was just terrible in turns 3 and 4”, said Sam.
Hafertepe would struggle much of the way before spinning late and settling for an 18th place finish.
Following the race in Burlington the team headed to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and Charter Raceway for a Saturday night show. Head Mechanic Kory Miller and crew member Daryl Turford went to work at preparing the car and dropping in a fresh Fisher Racing Engine.
Sam took advantage of the fresh bullet under the hood of the G-H Plumbing #15H as he posted the 4th quickest lap out of the 35 car field in time trials.
Sam lined up on the outside of the second row for his heat race. The bottom row got going before the top row at the start of the heat race but Sam was able to work his way into the 3rd position behind Kraig Kinser and John Haeni. The track was one lane around the top and offered little opportunity to pass on the slick surface. Lap after lap Sam tried desperately to slide by Haeni but he couldn’t get it done as there was just not enough traction on the low side of the speedway. In the end Hafertepe had to settle for 3rd which would ultimately transfer him directly to the A Main but his time trial was one spot short of locking him into the Crane Cams Dash.
The Plumbfast Racing #15H lined up for the A Feature in the 11th position. The start of the race was a disaster as on the first lap Sam had to head to the work area with an unknown problem. Miller quickly diagnosed a problem with the left front torsion stop, made some slight adjustments and Sam returned to the track in 24th.
Sam was a rocket on the restart and immediately began tearing through the field. Hafertepe quickly sliced and diced his way up to 15th in the first 3 laps. Hafertepe continued on his tear and broke into the top 10 a few laps later. Sam worked the top in turns 1 and 2 before switching to bottom in turns 3 and 4. The Plumbfast Racing #15H was battling with Jason Sides for 8th when the duo went 3-wide around a lapped car. The lapped car and Sam made contact which sent both cars spinning out of the exit of turn 2. The contact resulted in Sam once again heading pitside where it was determined that he had a badly bent axle but no other damage. Hafertepe returned to the back of the pack.
On the restart Sam once again sliced his way through the field but with an ailing car he wasn’t able to do it as quickly. As the laps wound down he found himself running 11th all over Kraig Kinser in an attempt to break into the top 10. The duo circled the bottom of the speedway all of the way around as Sam made several attempts to dive underneath Kinser but he could never quite get it done. Hafertepe would have to settle for an 11th place finish (verify).
The Plumbfast Racing Team loaded up and headed to the Northern part of Wisconsin and the Cedar Lake Speedway.
Sam was 10th quick in warm-ups and was the first qualifier. Despite not laying down the lap he was looking for Hafertepe was still able to turn in the 12th quick time overall which put him on the pole for his heat race.
The heat race did not go well at all for the G-H Plumbing #15H. Sam and Kraig Kinser ran side by side into turn 1 with Kraig coming out ahead. Sam lost momentum battling with Kraig which gave Jac Haudenschild a run at him in turns 3 and 4. Haudenschild slid by Sam along with Jason Sides. Sam tried to work the bottom but Craig Dollansky made the top work a little bit better and was able to make his way by at the midway point. Sam continued to struggle and lost 5th on the final corner of the last lap but 6th was good enough to qualify him directly into the A feature.
The Feature race would be another exercise in frustration. Sam found the topside of the speedway to his liking early and was quick but as soon as he would try to make a move it would backfire on him.
“We spent a lot of the race trying to pass cars”, explained the 3rd year WoO racer. “I could get into the corners really well but the car was struggling coming out. I could get side by side with guys but whenever I left the top the car was just no good. I could enter the corners fine, but in the middle to the exit we’d struggle really badly so I could never finish my pass attempts and then I’d lose momentum and the guy behind me would slide by me in the next turn. It was really, really frustrating”.
Sam ended up finishing a disappointing 15th in the feature race.
The Plumbfast Racing Team is now headed to Tiffin, Ohio and the Kear’s Speed Shop to prepare for the month of money.
“These are some very important races that can really turn a whole season around”, said Sam. “To have a place like Kear’s where Shirley, Mark and everyone treat you so well, let us use their facilities and get us anything we need is really important to our team”.
Sam and the team are back in action Wednesday night as they take part in the Brad Doty Classic before they head to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway for a regular Friday night show and then the $50,000 to win Kings Royal on Saturday. The team will then make the 5 hour trek to Tri-City for a date with the All Star Circuit of Champions.
“It’s a really busy time of year for us”, said Sam. “For the next 3 months we’ll be racing nearly every other night and hopefully we can pick up some wins along the way”.
Support the people who support Sam: G-H Plumbing, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, AFCO Shocks, Wings Unlimited and Smiley’s Race Products