Reutzel & Hafertepe Split STN Prelim “Twin 20” Honors!

Sam Hafertepe, Jr

Lonnie Wheatley, LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 30, 2022) – The Lone Star State stood strong in Little Rock on Friday night as Texas natives Aaron Reutzel and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., both raced to victory lane in the 35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires preliminary “Twin 20’s” atop the high-banked, ¼-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval.

Both drivers secured starting positions among the first three rows of Saturday night’s $15,041-to-win Short Track Nationals championship feature along with runner-up finishers Jason Martin and Seth Bergman.  Another two drivers that accumulate the most points from Friday’s prelim action along with Saturday’s heat races will join those four in the Pack Dash for Cash that sets the front three rows of the 41-lap finale.

Eighty-four drivers, the most since the 2013 edition of the STN, took part in Friday’s Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour preliminary card that was split into Programs A and B based upon pill draw.

Program A

After a convincing victory in Thursday night’s 15th Annual Ralph Henson Memorial that was worth $5,646, it was more of the same in the first of Friday’s “Twin 20’s” with Aaron Reutzel racing to another dominating win.

The Clute, TX, native now residing in Knoxville, IA, gridded the feature outside the second row and made the move of the race on the opening circuit when he took the Ridge & Sons Racing Mobil 1/Folkens Brothers Trucking No. 8 Sprint Car to the topside of turns one and two to pull alongside front row starters Jason Martin and Mark Smith.

The trio raced down the backstretch in tight, three-wide-fashion with Reutzel riding the top line through three and four to take command.

He never looked back as he raced to first career STN prelim win and locked himself into his fifth career STN championship finale.

“My guys give me such a good car, I just hope we can do it one more time tomorrow night,” Reutzel commented in victory lane after his 16th overall feature win of the season.

A pair of cautions in the opening eight rounds, including one for third-running Mark Smith when he slowed to a stop, kept Reutzel clear of traffic until the final handful of laps.

Reutzel had little trouble working through a trio of battling cars and cruised on to victory lane unabated.

Railing the high side much of the way, Reutzel occasionally tested the waters on the low side as well.

“I felt like we had a comfortable enough lead that I could search around some and hopefully learn something that will make us better for tomorrow night,” Reutzel explained.

Liberal, Kansas, native Jason Martin tried to keep pace with Reutzel but to no avail and was under pressure from California’s Justin Sanders and Arizona’s Colton Hardy as he encountered the same trio of lapped cars in the closing laps.

Martin was up to the task as he held on to the runner-up slot to lock into his second career STN finale.

After starting eighth, Sanders worked his way into fifth in the opening pair of circuits and ultimately took third away from Hardy on the ninth round.

Fending off Hardy the rest of the way, Sanders set his sights on Martin only to fall short as Hardy crossed the stripe in fourth.  Canada’s Dylan Westbrook rounded out the top five with Dylan Postier, two-time STN winner Tony Bruce, Jr., Jeremy Middleton, 19th-starter Garet Williamson and 17th-starter Matt Covington completed the top ten.

Reutzel established the standard in qualifying with a new track record of 11.812 seconds before Mark Smith, Middleton, Alex Sewell and Westbrook picked up wins in tumultuous heat race action.  Covington and Chase Porter won the “B” Mains.

Program B

Sunnyvale, Texas’ Sam Hafertepe, Jr., established that he is once again a top contender for Saturday night’s lucrative payday by picking up his fifth career STN preliminary feature win in Friday’s second “Twin 20” main event.

The 2020 STN champion gunned into the lead from the front row outside and kept Seth Bergman and Ryan Timms at bay throughout the frantic, non-stop affair to secure the win aboard the Hills Racing Cigar Port/Truenorth.bet No. 15h, locking into his tenth career STN finale.

“We finished second last night, which was decent,” Hafertepe, Jr., commented.   “We made a lot of changes for tonight and the car was a lot better.”

With Hafertepe, Jr., racing to the green flag from the front row outside, Snohomish, Washington native Bergman tried to repeat Reutzel’s move around the extreme topside of the track in turns one and two.  But when pole starter Timms slid to the cushion in front of him, Bergman’s momentum was slowed to allow Hafertepe into the lead.

Bergman made his way into second in the next pair of corners as Timms slipped back another spot before finding the top line and reclaiming third by the fifth round.

Hafertepe, Jr., was pressured by Bergman throughout with Timms reeling in the lead duo to make a three-way chase for the point as traffic came into play on the ninth round.

Bergman made his big bid for the lead with a slider in turn four on  the 15th round, only to bang off the cushion with Hafertepe countering back into the lead.  Timms pounced on the slight Bergman miscue a half-lap later only to do a 360-degree loop in turn two.

With the lead trio a full straightaway ahead of the rest of the pack, Timms retained the third position but lost significant ground to the lead pair.

Hafertepe, Jr., held steady over the final rounds and took his sixth win of the year ahead of Bergman, who secured a position in his eighth career STN finale.

Timms settled for the show position with Tim Crawley crossing the stripe fourth in his final weekend of I-30 Speedway competition.  Three-time and reigning STN champion Blake Hahn rounded out the top five as Wayne Johnson, Derek Hagar, Howard Moore, Joe B. Miller and Steven Russell completed the top ten.

Those ten were the only cars on the lead lap with all 19 cars that started making it to the checkered flag after scheduled third-starter Cody Gardner was forced pitside with mechanical gremlins before the race went green.

Hafertepe, Jr., bested the 42-car portion of Program B with a lap of 11.932 seconds in qualifying with Bergman, Moore, Crawley and Gardner posting heat race wins.  Landon Crawley and Landon Britt topped the “B” Mains.

The 35th and final COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires to be contested at I-30 Speedway wraps up with Saturday night’s $15,041-to-win finale.

Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour

I-30 Speedway – 35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires

Friday Night Results:

PROGRAM A:

Qualifying:

Group One:  1. 8r-Aaron Reutzel 11.812, 2. 39-Justin Sanders 11.973, 3. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. 12.221, 4. 43m-Mark Smith 12.315, 5. 95-Matt Covington 12.325, 6. 0-Eric Baldaccini 12.433, 7. 74-Tucker Boulton 12.617, 8. 5L-Dusty Young 12.978, 9. 48-Wade Buttrey 13.207, 10. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. 13.409, 11. 132-Jamie Manley 13.861.

Group Two:  1. 24w-Garet Williamson 11.949, 2. 36-Jason Martin 12.270, 3. 67-Hayden Martin 12.343, 4. 15J-Jeremy Middleton 12.407, 5. 21x-Carson Short 12.415, 6. 91-Michael Day 12.482, 7. 85-Josh McCord 12.511, 8. 30-Joseph Miller 12.522, 9. 17b-Ryan Bickett 12.702, 10. 17a-Alex Lyles 12.948, 11. 37-Ayden Gatewood NT.

Group Three:  1. 41-Colton Hardy 11.986, 2. 2-Chase Porter 12.218, 3. 26-Marshall Skinner 12.369, 4. 17-Alex Sewell 12.429, 5. 99-Blake Jenkins 12.485, 6. 10p-Dylan Postier 12.487, 7. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. 12.803, 8. 73-Samuel Wagner 12.921, 9. 13m-Chance McCrary 13.330, 10. 38-Rick Pringle 13.385.

Group Four:  1. 47x-Dylan Westbrook 12.073, 2. 22s-Slater Helt 12.387, 3. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth 12.554, 4. 4x-Brad Bowden 12.639, 5. 21k-Kevin Hinkle 12.684, 6. 17J-Jerry Brey 12.727, 7. 13-Chase Howard 12.741, 8. 21-Spencer Meredith 13.058, 9. 44-Ronny Howard 13.060, 10. 69-Jamey Mooney 13.853.

 Heat Races (Top 4 Transfer from each):

First Heat (8 Laps):  1. 43m-Mark Smith (1), 2. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (4), 3. 39-Justin Sanders (3), 4. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (2), 5. 95-Matt Covington (5), 6. 0-Eric Baldaccini (6), 7. 74-Tucker Boulton (7), 8. 5L-Dusty Young (8), 9. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (10), 10. 48-Wade Buttrey (9), 11. 132-Jamie Manley (11).

Second Heat (8 Laps):  1. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (1), 2. 36-Jason Martin (3), 3. 85-Josh McCord (7), 4. 21x-Carson Short (5), 5. 30-Joseph Miller (8), 6. 91-Michael Day (6), 7. 37-Ayden Gatewood (11), 8. 17b-Ryan Bickett (9), 9. 17a-Alex Lyles (10), 10. 24w-Garet Williamson (4), 11. 67-Hayden Martin (2).

Third Heat (8 Laps):  1. 17-Alex Sewell (1), 2. 10p-Dylan Postier (6), 3. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (7), 4. 41-Colton Hardy (4), 5. 73-Samuel Wagner (8), 6. 26-Marshall Skinner (2), 7. 13m-Chance McCrary (9), 8. 38-Rick Pringle (10), 9. 2-Chase Porter (3), 10. 99-Blake Jenkins (5).

Fourth Heat (8 Laps):  1. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (4), 2. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (2), 3. 4x-Brad Bowden (1), 4. 13-Chase Howard (7), 5. 22s-Slater Helt (3), 6. 17J-Jerry Brey (6), 7. 44-Ronny Howard (9), 8. 21-Spencer Meredith (8), 9. 69-Jamey Mooney (10), 10. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (5).

“B” Mains – Top 2 from Each Transfer to “A”:

“B” Feature One (12 Laps):  1. 95-Matt Covington (2), 2. 24w-Garet Williamson (1), 3. 26-Marshall Skinner (4), 4. 17b-Ryan Bickett (8), 5. 30-Joseph Miller (3), 6. 91-Michael Day (5), 7. 17a-Alex Lyles (10), 8. 67-Hayden Martin (13), 9. 21-Spencer Meredith (9), 10. 74-Tucker Boulton (6), 11. 69-Jamey Mooney (11), 12. 13m-Chance McCrary (7), 13. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (12).

“B” Feature Two (12 Laps):  1. 2-Chase Porter (1), 2. 22s-Slater Helt (2), 3. 17J-Jerry Brey (5), 4. 0-Eric Baldaccini (4), 5. 73-Samuel Wagner (3), 6. 5L-Dusty Young (8), 7. 37-Ayden Gatewood (7), 8. 44-Ronny Howard (6), 9. 99-Blake Jenkins (11), 10. 38-Rick Pringle (9), 11. 132-Jamie Manley (13), 12. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (10), 13. 48-Wade Buttrey (12).

“A” Feature – Top 2 Lock-in to Saturday’s STN Championship Feature

A Feature (20 Laps – Starting position in parentheses):  1. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (1), 2. 36-Jason Martin (1), 3. 39-Justin Sanders (8), 4. 41-Colton Hardy (5), 5. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (7), 6. 10p-Dylan Postier (10), 7. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (9), 8. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (6), 9. 24w-Garet Williamson (19), 10. 95-Matt Covington (17), 11. 21x-Carson Short (15), 12. 17-Alex Sewell (3), 13. 22s-Slater Helt (20), 14. 2-Chase Porter (18), 15. 4x-Brad Bowden (13), 16. 13-Chase Howard (16), 17. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (14), 18. 85-Josh McCord (12), 19. 43m-Mark Smith (2), 20. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (11).

Lap Leaders:  Aaron Reutzel 1-20.

PROGRAM B:

Qualifying:

Group One:  1. 23-Seth Bergman 12.214, 2. 77-Jack Wagner 12.348, 3. 45x-Kyler Johnson 12.364, 4. 8m-Kade Morton 12.369, 5. 55b-Brandon Anderson 12.430, 6. 71-Bradyn Baker 12.487, 7. 91z-Zach Pringle 12.580, 8. 17F-Chad Frewaldt 12.630, 9. 72p-Gary Floyd 12.847, 10. 938-Bradley Fezard 13.005, 11. 21s-Kobe Simpson 13.363.

Group Two:  1. 5T-Ryan Timms 11.971, 2. 52-Blake Hahn 11.977, 3. 3-Howard Moore 12.221, 4. 22-Riley Goodno 12.226, 5. 187-Landon Crawley 12.236, 6. 10-Landon Britt 12.249, 7. 14-Jordon Mallett 12.407, 8. 97-Scotty Milan 12.655, 9. 1s-Joey Schmidt 12.721, 10. 6-Christopher Townsend 12.812, 11. 19-Jason Long 13.007.

Group Three:  1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 11.932, 2. 2c-Wayne Johnson 12.127, 3. 87-Tim Crawley 12.409, 4. 87J-Jace Park 12.412, 5. 9jr-Derek Hagar 14.481, 6. 55-Donnie Howard 12.802, 7. 10k-Dewayne White 13.149, 8. 2T-Todd Bradford 13.201, 9. 63-Chris Williams 13.262, 10. 93-Chris Sweeney 13.709.

Group Four:  1. 1jr-Steven Russell 12.268, 2. 51b-Joe B. Miller 12.320, 3. 47-Dale Howard 12.393, 4. G6-Cody Gardner 12.631, 5. 84-Brandon Hanks 12.695, 6. 21r-Gunner Ramey 12.717, 7. 24-Jeffrey West 12.784, 8. 29-Chad Jones 13.003, 9. 12m-Greg Merritt 13.066, 10. 16-Steven Howell 13.637.

Heat Races (Top 4 Transfer from each):

First Heat (8 Laps):  1. 23-Seth Bergman (4), 2. 45x-Kyler Johnson (2), 3. 77-Jack Wagner (3), 4. 71-Bradyn Baker (6), 5. 21s-Kobe Simpson (11), 6. 8m-Kade Morton (1), 7. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (8), 8. 938-Bradley Fezard (10), 9. 72p-Gary Floyd (9), 10. 55b-Brandon Anderson (5), 11. 91z-Zach Pringle (DNS).

Second Heat (8 Laps):  1. 3-Howard Moore (2), 2. 5T-Ryan Timms (4), 3. 22-Riley Goodno (1), 4. 52-Blake Hahn (3), 5. 10-Landon Britt (6), 6. 187-Landon Crawley (5), 7. 14-Jordon Mallett (7), 8. 6-Christopher Townsend (10), 9. 1s-Joey Schmidt (9), 10. 97-Scotty Milan (8), 11. 19-Jason Long (11).

Third Heat (8 Laps):  1. 87-Tim Crawley (1), 2. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (3), 3. 2c-Wayne Johnson (2), 4. 9jr-Derek Hagar (4), 5. 55-Donnie Howard (5), 6. 2T-Todd Bradford (7), 7. 93-Chris Sweeney (9), 8. 63-Chris Williams (8), 9. 10k-Dewayne White (6), 10. 87J-Jace Park (DNS).

Fourth Heat (8 Laps):  1. G6-Cody Gardner (1), 2. 47-Dale Howard (2), 3. 51b-Joe B. Miller (3), 4. 1jr-Steven Russell (4), 5. 84-Brandon Hanks (5), 6. 29-Chad Jones (8), 7. 21r-Gunner Ramey (6), 8. 24-Jeffrey West (7), 9. 12m-Greg Merritt (9), 10. 16-Steven Howell (10).

“B” Main – Top 4 Transfer to “A”:

First “B” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 187-Landon Crawley (1), 2. 14-Jordon Mallett (5), 3. 84-Brandon Hanks (2), 4. 21r-Gunner Ramey (6), 5. 29-Chad Jones (4), 6. 21s-Kobe Simpson (3), 7. 55b-Brandon Anderson (9), 8. 12m-Greg Merritt, 9. 1s-Joey Schmidt (7), 10. 938-Bradley Fezard (8), 11. 24-Jeffrey West (DNS), 12. 16-Steven Howell (DNS), 13. 19-Jason Long (DNS).

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 10-Landon Britt (1), 2. 8m-Kade Morton (3), 3. 2T-Todd Bradford (2), 4. 97-Scotty Milan (11), 5. 6-Christopher Townsend (7), 6. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (5), 7. 93-Chris Sweeney (4), 8. 55-Donnie Howard (12), 9. 72p-Gary Floyd (9), 10. 63-Chris Williams (6), 11. 10k-Dewayne White (8), 12. 91z-Zach Pringle (10), 13. 87J-Jace Park (DNS).

“A” Feature – Top 2 Lock-in to Saturday’s STN Championship Feature

A Feature (20 Laps – Starting position in parentheses):  1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (2), 2. 23-Seth Bergman (4), 3. 5T-Ryan Timms (1), 4. 87-Tim Crawley (6), 5. 52-Blake Hahn (8), 6. 2c-Wayne Johnson (7), 7. 9jr-Derek Hagar (13), 8. 3-Howard Moore (3), 9. 51b-Joe B. Miller (11), 10. 1jr-Steven Russell (5), 11. 47-Dale Howard (9), 12. 14-Jordon Mallett (17), 13. 45x-Kyler Johnson (10), 14. 22-Riley Goodno (12), 15. 77-Jack Wagner (14), 16. 10-Landon Britt (18), 17. 187-Landon Crawley (15), 18. 71-Bradyn Baker (16), 19. 8m-Kade Morton (19), 20. G6-Cody Gardner (DNS).

Lap Leaders:  Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 1-20.