Hafertepe Tops POWRi 410 Salute to Service Opener!

Lonnie Wheatley, POCOLA, Okla. (November 10, 2023) – Sam Hafertepe, Jr., isn’t exactly a stranger to victory lane at Tri-State Speedway after scoring an ASCS Regional win a handful of years ago atop the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval situated near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.

So it was only fitting that the Sunnyvale, TX, racer made it a return to victory lane on Friday night as Winged 410-ci Sprint Cars returned to the oval for the first time since 2010 with the opening night of the POWRi 410 Sprint Car series “Salute to Service”.

After starting outside the front row, Hafertepe, Jr., chased down early leader Cory Eliason in lapped traffic at the midway point of the 25-lapper en route to a $5,000 payday aboard the Hill’s Racing Cigar Port/True North No. 15h.

“It came down to lapped traffic,” Hafertepe explained in victory lane after his sixth overall win of the 2023 campaign and second in 410-ci action after an earlier All Star win at Eldora.  “We got to a couple of cars and he opened the door.”

Following the race’s only caution after just one lap when current series points leader Ayrton Gennetten came to a stop, Eliason led the way in the early going with traffic coming into play after just a handful of laps.

Hafertepe, Jr., kept pace and pounced when the opportunity presented itself exiting turn four at the midway point.

From there, Hafertepe, Jr., kept his pursuers at bay over the remaining distance as the lead pack diced through traffic, taking the checkered flag with a 1.041-second advantage.

While Eliason settled for runner-up honors after starting from the pole, RSR stablemate Aaron Reutzel rallied from the 11th starting position into the top five in short order and then battled past Noah Gass for the show position in the closing laps before running out of time to chase down the lead duo.

“We kind of got bogged down behind a couple of cars, but I felt like we had a car capable of winning,” Reutzel said of the third-place finish.

WoO shoe Gass crossed the stripe fourth with Blake Hahn rounding out the top five.  Paul Nienhiser was sixth with Zane Devault, 15th-starter and IRA champ Brenham Crouch, 14th-starter J.J. Hickle and Matt Covington completing the top ten. Kyle Bellm picked up Hard Charger honors by climbing nine positions from 21st to 12th.

After his early stoppage, Gennetten returned to salvage a 15th-place finish and minimize damage in the points race to closest contender Joe B. Miller who crossed the stripe 11th to close the gap to 160 points with just two nights remaining.

After Eliason set the night’s fast time of 13.069-seconds in qualifying, Nienhiser, Roger Crockett and Joe B. Miller topped heat race action before Riley Goodno won the “B” Main.  Brandon Hanks got upside in turn four during the second heat race and was done for the night.

POWRi 410 Sprint Cars

Tri-State Speedway (Pocola, OK)

November 10, 2023, Results:

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 2. 8-Cory Eliason[1]; 3. 8X-Aaron Reutzel[11]; 4. 20G-Noah Gass[5]; 5. 52-Blake Hahn[7]; 6. 9X-Paul Nienhiser[8]; 7. 6Z-Zane DeVault[6]; 8. 1-Brenham Crouch[15]; 9. 22X-JJ Hickle[14]; 10. 95-Matt Covington[9]; 11. 51B-Joe B Miller[12]; 12. 50K-Kyle Bellm[21]; 13. 87J-Jace Park[16]; 14. 22-Riley Goodno[17]; 15. 19-Ayrton Gennetten[4]; 16. 37-Bryce Norris[19]; 17. G6-Cody Gardner[18]; 18. 88R-Ryder Laplante[22]; 19. 17GP-Cole Duncan[13]; 20. 79-Gage Montgomery[24]; 21. 7S-Landon Crawley[3]; 22. 11-Roger Crockett[10]; 23. 91-Riley Kreisel[20]; 24. 74-Xavier Doney[23]

B Feature (12 Laps): 1. 22-Riley Goodno[1]; 2. G6-Cody Gardner[2]; 3. 37-Bryce Norris[4]; 4. 91-Riley Kreisel[3]; 5. 50K-Kyle Bellm[8]; 6. 88R-Ryder Laplante[5]; 7. 16TH-Kevin Newton[7]; 8. 74-Xavier Doney[6]; 9. 79-Gage Montgomery[10]; 10. (DNS) 84-Brandon Hanks

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 9X-Paul Nienhiser[1]; 2. 19-Ayrton Gennetten[2]; 3. 8-Cory Eliason[4]; 4. 6Z-Zane DeVault[3]; 5. 1-Brenham Crouch[6]; 6. 22-Riley Goodno[5]; 7. 37-Bryce Norris[8]; 8. 74-Xavier Doney[9]; 9. 79-Gage Montgomery[7]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 11-Roger Crockett[1]; 2. 52-Blake Hahn[2]; 3. 7S-Landon Crawley[3]; 4. 17GP-Cole Duncan[6]; 5. 22X-JJ Hickle[7]; 6. 8X-Aaron Reutzel[4]; 7. 91-Riley Kreisel[9]; 8. 16TH-Kevin Newton[8]; 9. 84-Brandon Hanks[5]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 51B-Joe B Miller[1]; 2. 95-Matt Covington[2]; 3. 20G-Noah Gass[3]; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]; 5. 87J-Jace Park[5]; 6. G6-Cody Gardner[7]; 7. 88R-Ryder Laplante[6]; 8. 50K-Kyle Bellm[8]

Qualifying 1: 1. 8-Cory Eliason, 00:13.069[1]; 2. 8X-Aaron Reutzel, 00:13.091[10]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 00:13.097[3]; 4. 6Z-Zane DeVault, 00:13.144[4]; 5. 7S-Landon Crawley, 00:13.174[20]; 6. 20G-Noah Gass, 00:13.216[12]; 7. 19-Ayrton Gennetten, 00:13.231[16]; 8. 52-Blake Hahn, 00:13.293[6]; 9. 95-Matt Covington, 00:13.325[15]; 10. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, 00:13.345[8]; 11. 11-Roger Crockett, 00:13.360[23]; 12. 51B-Joe B Miller, 00:13.417[9]; 13. 22-Riley Goodno, 00:13.417[13]; 14. 84-Brandon Hanks, 00:13.422[11]; 15. 87J-Jace Park, 00:13.438[19]; 16. 1-Brenham Crouch, 00:13.517[25]; 17. 17GP-Cole Duncan, 00:13.600[24]; 18. 88R-Ryder Laplante, 00:13.646[7]; 19. 79-Gage Montgomery, 00:13.689[2]; 20. 22X-JJ Hickle, 00:13.706[18]; 21. G6-Cody Gardner, 00:13.708[14]; 22. 37-Bryce Norris, 00:13.791[22]; 23. 16TH-Kevin Newton, 00:13.825[21]; 24. 50K-Kyle Bellm, 00:13.857[17]; 25. 74-Xavier Doney, 00:13.974[26]; 26. 91-Riley Kreisel, 01:00.000[5]

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