Story By: BRYAN HULBERT / HILL’S RACING – FORT WORTH, TX – Going into Texas Motor Speedway, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. was stalked by Blake Hahn for the 2019 championship with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, but a weekend high podium run on Thursday night locked up the Sunnyvale, Texas driver’s four consecutive title.
“To do this four times is pretty awesome and to have done it four times in a row is an even bigger accomplishment,” stated Hafertepe.
Looking at the stats of Sam’s four championships, two with Keith Dobbs and two with Hills Racing Team, the driver of the No. 15h landed 40 wins, 94 top-fives, and 114 top-tens in 139 A-Feature starts and is the fourth driver to have four or more titles with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, and is the third to do so consecutively with Terry Gray (1995-1998) and Gary Wright (2004-2007) on that list.
Speaking on the past four seasons, Sam explained, “The first two years, we really didn’t have anything in our way. We just dominated, and years three and four, luck started to catch up to us a little bit but thankfully we were still fast enough to overcome the bad luck and take advantage. For me, this is a pretty big accomplishment especially with the competition we’ve had.”
Looking back at the final two nights of the championship chase, Hafertepe entered the first night with the simple goal of staying ahead of Blake Hahn.
“We had a great car, and once we got where we needed, we just rode. I knew we needed to get ahead of Blake, so I focused on hitting my marks and if I got the opportunity to pass a car, we did…Thursday was one of those nights where it was cowboy up because of the weather they had Tuesday and Wednesday, but we were still able to make a good night out of it.”
Avoiding a near catastrophe during his Qualifier on Friday, the No. 15h took the green in the A-Feature from the 12th starting spot; making it up to eighth at the drop of the checkered flag.
“The deal in the Qualifier put us out of starting near the first couple of rows, and in the feature we just missed it and for the track record we’ve had at TMS, it was disappointing way to end the year but on the bigger picture, it still came down to that weekend and we accomplished what we needed too.”
Wrapping up his 2019 season this weekend, the Hills Racing No. 15h will be in action at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and the Can-Am World Finals, happening November 7-9.