A Home Race: Sam Hafertepe Jr. Geared up for Stop at Lone Star Speedway Kilgore, TX-March 11, 2010-Being from Texas, Sam Hafertepe Jr. doesn^Zt get to stop back home very often during the racing season, but he will this week, and he^Zll also be...
A Home Race: Sam Hafertepe Jr. Geared up for Stop at Lone Star Speedway
Kilgore, TX-March 11, 2010-Being from Texas, Sam Hafertepe Jr. doesn^Zt get to stop back home very often during the racing season, but he will this week, and he^Zll also be able to sleep in his own bed and race at his home track of Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, as the World of Outlaws return to the blazing fast high-banked track for the second consecutive year for the opener of the Texas Two-Step Weekend on Friday, March 12.
After finishing second last fall at Lone Star Speedway during the inaugural WoO Fest, Hafertepe has one thing on his mind this week and that is to gain that one more position that has eluded him and stand on top of the podium in Victory Lane. He finished second last fall to Joey Saldana at the track during the inaugural WoO Fest, which was his third career runner-up finish with the World of Outlaws. A win would be extra special for Hafertepe, as it would not only be his first with the World of Outlaws, but his first at Lone Star Speedway, which his parents own and operate.
"It would probably mean more than anything, because of all the hard work we have put in at that place," shared the 24-year old when asked about winning at Lone Star Speedway. "For the hometown fans and crowd, it would be great. We ran second there last year and hopefully we can come home with a win this time."
Last season was the first full year that the Hafertepe family held the reins at Lone Star Speedway, putting in countless hours renovating the facility after it had sat dormant for over four years. Ironically the World of Outlaws event last April was the first race at the track since the World of Outlaws competed there in 2004. In addition to making the facility one of the nicest on the World of Outlaws circuit, new clay was brought it and reworked the surface last fall prior to inaugural WoO Fest.
"We've tried to make a few changes to the facility and try to make it better each time everyone comes back," explained Sam Jr., who last fall ran the water truck on the day of the race in addition to helping with countless other tasks to make sure the event ran smooth. "The track surface itself is about the same and should be in great shape. We're really looking forward to it."
Hafertepe is excited to have the chance race in front of his home state fans this week and put on a good show for all of those that come out to the race. While Lone Star Speedway is his home track, there are a number of drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that have raced on the track more than he has, and Hafertepe is quick to point out that there is really no such thing as a home track advantage when running with the best sprint car drivers in the world.
"It's probably more pressure than anything, trying to perform in front of all the people that know me," he shared. "For the most part, I don^Zt think there is really any home track advantage. It is extra pressure, but it^Zs not anything we can^Zt handle. We're going to throw everything we have at it and hopefully things fall our way."
Hafertepe picked up his first Top-10 finish of the season at Las Vegas on February 26, coming home eighth. After getting caught up in an accident in the opener at Thunderbowl Raceway in California last weekend Hafertepe rallied to score a season-best seventh-place finish in the finale. He was very fast to open the season in Florida, but bad luck plagued him in the Sunshine State. After a switch in chassis and engine builders toward the middle of last season, the rising star is very confident in the program that he and the Plumbfast Racing team have in order.
"We've been fast since last year," Hafertepe noted. "We just have to get the luck to come our way and we'll be running in the Top-Five every night, no problem. We'll keep working hard at it and doing the best we can, that's for sure."
Hafertepe has a very familiar crew in 2010, as Daryl Turford is on board with him again and they also welcomed back Mike Schure. Along with Sam, the trio is one of the hardest working in the pit arriving, usually being one of the first teams to arrive at the track and one of the last to leave. After shuffling around crew members the last couple of season, Hafertepe is thrilled to have a crew that he is familiar with and that continues to gel at each and every race.
"We've had Daryl (Turford) now for almost two years and have Mike (Schure) back and he worked for me in previous years," he noted. "We mesh together pretty well and it's a good team. We all get along as well and that's something that is very important out here on the road to be successful."
On Friday, March 12 at Lone Star Speedway, Reserved tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the race, with General Admission tickets $25 in advance and $30 the day of the race. Tickets for children (ages 6-12) are $15, with kids 5-under admitted free of charge. To purchase tickets online visit www.lonestarspeedway.com or call the track at (903)-986-9731.