By Tony Veneziano, World of Outlaws PR Director
Looking to turn some extra laps prior to the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener next week, Sam Hafertepe Jr. arrived in Florida this week for two nights of racing.
The trip paid major dividends on Friday night at North Florida Speedway as he won the season opener for the All Star Circuit of Champions at the 3/8-mile track. It was Hafertepe’s first career win in a 410-sprint car, and came with a very strong 27-car field in attendance.
Hafertepe lined up sixth in the 25-lap A-Feature and quickly charged into the runner-up spot behind two-time All Star champion Dale Blaney. Hafertepe took the lead on the sixth lap in lapped traffic, but the caution flew before that lap was completed, thus reverting the field to the last competed lap. On the restart, Blaney began to pull away, but again Hafertepe tracked him down in lapped traffic. When Blaney slipped up in traffic, Hafertepe took the lead and held off the veteran down the stretch.
“I was really hoping we got that lap compete, but I knew once we got back to lapped traffic that we may be able to do something with him,” said Hafertepe, of the lap six caution. “I hate to show somebody my nose and have the caution come out like that. We got the lapped traffic and it worked in our favor.”
Hafertepe, who earned $3,000 for the win, had one of the fastest cars all night, as he was second quickest in time trials. Only two-time reigning All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Greg Wilson was faster on Friday night during qualifications.
Hafertepe lined up sixth in the second heat race and powered his way past Brian Paulus, Brian Ellenberger, Ryan Myers and Ben Gregg to finish second.
“The track was really racy for the feature,” said the 23-year old. “Our car was really hooked up good in the feature. He made a little mistake and we didn’t.”
Randy Hannagan, the 1995 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year finished third. He also was third quickest in time trials.
Also in action at North Florida Speedway was Lucas Wolfe, who will be a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season. The native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania finished seventh.
Tony Bruce Jr. who was a rookie with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series last season was also in action on Friday night and finished 13th.
Before heading to the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals next week, the drivers will compete again at North Florida Speedway with the All Star Circuit of Champions on Saturday night, and the event can be heard live online at: http://www.DIRTVision.com.
The 30th anniversary Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season begins on February 8, 2008 with the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, with tickets available at: http://www.VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com.
Fans unable to attend the spectacular week at Volusia can still catch all the action on the DIRTVision Cybercast. For just $29.99 fans can purchase the ‘Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Racepass’ and watch live streaming video of all 12 nights of racing action. Log on to www.DIRTVision.com for more information.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts is the second-largest retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, based on store count and sales. As of October 6, 2007, the company operated 3,228 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.