Cameron series spotlight - Sam Hafertepe Jr

Hafertepe Looks to Fly High at U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri High Banked Nationals Osborn, MO-- May 1, 2008-- Sam Hafertepe Jr. has raced on his fair share of bullrings over the last couple of years as he has climbed the sprint car racing...

Hafertepe Looks to Fly High at U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri High Banked Nationals

Osborn, MO-- May 1, 2008-- Sam Hafertepe Jr. has raced on his fair share of bullrings over the last couple of years as he has climbed the sprint car racing ladder, but he never saw a track quite like U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Missouri until last season, when he made his first start at the ultra-high-banked and blazing fast 3/8-mile with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. The track is one of just three on the 2008 schedule that sees the drivers turn single digit laps.

Hafertepe will have an opportunity to return to U.S. 36 Raceway this weekend as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will contest a full night of racing at the bullring in Western Missouri on Friday, May 2 with the third annual Missouri High Banked Nationals.

"It's a really fun place to race," said Hafertepe, driver of the G.H. Plumbing J&J. "You have to really get up on the wheel. For the size of the track, a lot of things happen real fast there."

Hafertepe competed twice at the track last season, and was victorious in the annual Bud Shoot-out for 360-sprint cars in June. In his first stop at the track with the World of Outlaws last May, he was sixth fastest in time trials, after having just a handful of laps in practice to get acclimated with the unique configuration of U.S. 36 Raceway. The track record of 9.846 seconds which was set in 2006 will again be challenged on Friday, May 2 by Hafertepe and the rest of the World of Outlaws competitors.

"We've had good experience at the track and it's been a good place for us to race at," said the native of Sunnyvale, Texas. "It's not very similar to anywhere else we race. It is pretty unique. It has its own shape and design and of course the high banks."

Hafertepe and his team have a good baseline to refer to from last season at U.S. 36 Raceway as far as set-up, with the speed that he showed in both events he competed in at the track. He has raced on a couple of bullrings already this season and has tried a number of different combinations in search of the perfect balance as the World of Outlaws schedule begins to pick up this week.

"There are a few things we will look back at," he noted of what he learned at U.S. 36 Raceway in 2007. "We're trying a new deal this year and I want to put some of my new ideas to work as well. At the same time though, we'll use some of the old things we ran there last year and try to apply it to the 410-car and see if we can win another race there."

Hafertepe is confident heading into the Missouri High Banked Nationals, after his win at the track last June. In the previous two World of Outlaws events at the track, there have been two winners and several drivers have been able to work their way up through the field, especially using the high line around the track.

"You know what it takes to get around the track, because you have won there before," shared the 2006 American Sprint Car Series Sooner Region champion. "Running with the Outlaws it is a lot harder to win, but it definitely can be done."

The event at U.S. 36 Raceway will be the second short track race of the season for the World of Outlaws. Five of the first six races this season have been contested on half-mile tracks, including the series most recent race on April 11 at the famed Eldora Speedway. There will be a slight transition, heading to one of the tightest tracks on the schedule, but after competing nearly 80 times last season in his rookie year with the World of Outlaws, Hafertepe feels confident on any size track he races on that he and his team will have a well-balanced and fast machine.

"You have to have a different mindset for every race track that you go to," he explained. "You have to be prepared and also have to be ready for anything that can happen."

While Hafertepe competes against the best sprint car drivers in the world on a nightly basis with the World of Outlaws, his biggest opponent this season has been Mother Nature, who has wreaked havoc on the early portion of the schedule. Despite rain, cold and even snow, Hafertepe and his team have competed a total of 16 times this season. He won in his 2008 debut at North Florida Speedway with the All Star Circuit of Champions back in early February and has five Top-five finishes to-date.

"It's been really tough," explained Hafertepe of the weather this spring. "We try to catch some races when we get rained out, but it's hard at this time. I'm running my own program and we have used a lot of diesel fuel and not gotten a lot of track time. It is difficult to stay focused, but the crew and myself are trying to stay as focused as we can. I think we are doing pretty good at it."

After the Missouri High Banked Nationals on Friday, May 2, Hafertepe and his team will pack up and head north to the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa for the completion of the doubleheader weekend for the World of Outlaws. After some bad luck at Eldora Speedway a couple of weeks ago, Hafertepe is looking to get back on track on two extremely different tracks that will test his versatility.

"If we can have two really solid Top-10 finishes it would be a good weekend," he said. "With the long break that we have had, it would be nice to get two Top-10 finishes. We have to make sure that we finish both nights and finish strong."

On Friday, May 2 at U.S. 36 Raceway, seats in the Main grandstand - Sections A-B-C-D, Rows - 20 & 21, will be $40 (Includes pit pass/combo), with seats in Rows - 6 thru 19 $35 and seats in Rows - 1 thru 5 $30. Reserved tickets for children 12-under will be $15. Tickets in the Top Bleachers- Sections AA - BB -- CC will be $32 for adults and $15 for kids 12-under. Pit Pass combos will also be available for $38 in advance and $40 the day of the race.

Tickets can be purchased by calling SLS Promotions at: 815-344-2023 or visiting www.slspromotions.com as well as at US 36 Raceway by calling: 816-675-2279 and at St. Joe Harley Davidson located at 4020 S. 169 Highway in St. Joseph, Missouri.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Sam Hafertepe Jr.