Alger, Wash. — No driver has ever won the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt three years in a row, but Sam Hafertepe, Jr. is on the right path to do so as the Hills Racing No. 15h led start to finish to open the 47th Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by the Skagit Casino Resort.
“We were actually off tonight. Not far, but we’ve had better cars here over the past few years but to come out tonight and do what we did, and to get through lapped traffic, it was tough tonight,” explained Hafertepe of his fourth career Skagit Speedway victory with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by Sawblade.com. “With the track laying rubber on the bottom, it was tough for me to move off the top because we were so good up there but hats off to my guys. They’ve really worked hard this week.”
Working through the Heat/Qualifier format to grid the A-Feature outside the front row, Hafertepe chased Wayne Johnson through the first two turns before roaring around the cushion to grab the lead down the back straightaway.
Pulling to a straightaway advantage in a matter of laps, Sam would start picking his way through slower traffic as Johnson worked to hold off Blake Hahn for the runner-up spot. Making up half the distance as traffic ran all lines of the Skagit Speedway, the race for second went the way of Hahn on Lap 10.
Not able to make up any more ground as Hafertepe found room to run through traffic, the race finally slowed working Lap 21 for Travis Rilat as the BDS Motorsports No. 1 hooked the cushion in the first turn; slamming the front end into the wall while running third.
Back to Lap 20 with several slower cars restarting among the leaders, Hafertepe was able to run away to a 1.769-second advantage over Hahn at the drop of the checkered flag. Mounting a charge in the closing laps, Robbie Price worked from seventh to the final podium step for his best career National Tour finish in the family backed No. 21p.
Wayne Johnson ended up fourth with Roger Crockett rebounding from a slow start to the night that saw the No. 11 fight through a B-Feature to qualify for the A-Feature. Johnny Herrera in sixth was trailed by Skylar Gee who moved up from 12th. Making his first Skagit Speedway start, Australia’s Scott Bogucki crossed eighth with J.J. Hickle and Garen Linder wrapping up the top-ten.
The 47th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by the Skagit Casino Resort continues on Friday, June 22 with gates opening at 5:30 P.M., followed by Opening Ceremonies at 7:00 P.M. (PDT). Ticket information, directions, and more can be found online at http://www.skagitspeedway.com.
For other news, notes, and information on the American Sprint Car Series, from the National Tour to any of the Regional Tours that make up the over 150 across the ASCS Nation in 2018, log onto http://www.ascsracing.com, follow on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter (@LucasOilASCS).
-American Sprint Car Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Skagit Speedway