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September 19, 2020

Hafertepe captures a Hockett-McMillin Memorial ASCS thriller as Aitken takes WAR win at Lucas Oil Speedway

Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15) passes Derek Hagar for the lead in the ASCS portion of the Hockett-McMillin Memorial on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 19, 2020) - In an absolute classic on the Lucas Oil Speedway dirt, Sam Hafertepe Jr. emerged from a three-way battle to win the 10th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial on Saturday night.
Hafertepe, of Sunnyvale, Texas, grabbed the lead from Derek Hagar with two laps remaining and held on to earn his third Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprint victory in the Hockett-McMillin Memorial. He took home $10,000 in a race that he also won in 2017 and 2018.
Garrett Aitken captured the other half of the headliner, earning $3,077 for his POWRi Lucas Oil WAR wingless sprint win in front of a large crowd.
Hafertepe looked like he would have to settle for a minor award on the podium, running third with five laps remaining after jumping the cushion in turn two, nearly hitting the wall. But Hafertepe didn’t give up and it paid off with a dramatic drive to the finish.
The four-time ASCS national series champion worked past Mark Smith for second and then wiped out what had been a 1.3-second deficit and closed in on Hagar going into turn three on lap 38. Hagar pushed high, into the cushion, and Hafertepe capitalized with the winning pass.
“I didn’t give up. I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing,” Hafertepe said. “I've won this race two other time and I wanted to make it three.”
Hafertepe went on to beat Hagar by an even one second with Smith finishing third.
"It was really exciting. There ain't no better race than that," Hafertepe said. "These three guys that finished 1-2-3, they drove their hearts out. I think all three of us should have won the race. It was a badass race. Everybody drove each other clean. We were throwing sliders.
"The cushion was just really tough and treacherous. Our car wasn't any good. Them two guys had us covered."
Smith, who won the preliminary features on both Thursday and Friday, rocketed from the pole position and set a blistering pace, with Hafertepe in pursuit. Just nine laps in, Smith already had caught lapped traffic and led Hafertepe by 2.8 seconds.
The race ground to a halt at that point as Harli White took a wild ride on the front straightaway, rolling her car after jumping the turn-four cushion while running 12th. White walked away from the incident.
Hafertepe’s car seemed to come to life after the restart. He was battling for the lead with Smith, as the two traded crossover moves, when another red flag flew on lap 14 as Chase Randall flipped his car in turn four.
As the race resume, Hagar passed Hafertepe for second with Smith nearly a second in front as the race’s fourth stoppage occurred on lap 20 - the mid-point - for a three car accident in turn two.
Once again, Smith was able to pull away a bit after the restart as he built a 1.2-second lead over Hagar when another caution flew on lap 27. Hafertepe was third with Scott Borgucki fourth and Dylan Westbrook in fifth.
This time, the restart didn’t go Smith’s way. Hagar got a big run down the back stretch and completed a pass for the lead to complete lap 28.
Hagar, of Marion, Arkansas, appeared to be in command, but with the challenging track conditions no lead was safe.
"With about seven to go it started sputtering," Hagar said. "This engine, we're building a lot of power out of and it sucked the fuel dry. I had to start backing my (corner) entry up and it got me tight in the center.
"I kept jumping the cushion. I could run like heck down the straightaway but in the corners it would flood and I was having to roll off and back the entry up and it was just killing me."
Smith, of Sudbury, Pennsylvania, came up a bit short in his bid to sweep the weekend after leading the first 28 laps. He said six stoppages in the action for red or yellow flags might have been the difference for him.
"I think if we wouldn't have had the cautions we probably would have been OK because I'd have kept my rhythm going," Smith said. "But a hell of a job by those guys. It was a pretty good race."
Shane Stewart finished fourth and Dylan Westbrook was fifth.
Defending race champion Blake Hahn had to use a provisional to make the feature field after he was involved in a five-car incident in turn one on lap one of the last-chance qualifier. Hahn started 23rd in the feature and worked his way into the top 10 before hitting the wall on lap 29. He finished 17th.
Aitken earns "biggest" win: Garrett Aitken of Paris, Illinois, lost the lead midway through, then regained it two laps later from Mario Clouser and went on to win the 30-lap POWRi Lucas Oil WAR wingless portion of the Hockett-McMillin Memorial.
“This is probably the biggest race I’ve ever won,” Aitken said. “I just want to thank all the fans for coming out. You guys have been awesome.”
Aitken, starting outside of Clouser on the front row, got the jump as the green waved and set the early pace with Clouser - who won features on both preliminary nights - close behind.
Clouser snatched the lead from Aitken coming off turn two on lap 11. But just four laps later, Clouser jumped the cushion in turn four, making contact with the wall. One lap later, Aitken drove past him with a debris for caution from Clouser’s mishap waving on lap 17.
Clouser had to pit with a flat tire and more damage. That ended the Chatham, Illinois driver’s chances for a weekend sweep.
From there, it was all Aitken. He opened a 1.4-second lead with five laps remaining and then held on as Cottle charged through the field from his 15th-starting spot. Aitken won by half a second as the checkered flag waved.
“It was another treacherous night (up top) for me,” Aitken said. “I saw Clouser mess up and kind of lucked out. He was trying to run away with it from there.
“I just can’t thank my sponsors enough that are on the side of this car. It’s just me and my dad. We bust out butts on it throughout the week and I can’t thank him enough.”
Cottle, of Kansas, Illinois, called his run to second a good time, throwing slide jobs as he sliced toward the front.
“It was a lot of fun. The track was extremely racy tonight,” Cottle said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Wyatt Burks wound up third with Joe B. Miller finishing fourth and Kory Schudy of Battlefield, Missouri, coming home in fifth.
The race had three stoppages, the first one lap in as 17th-starting Xavier Doney rolled his car on the front stretch.
WAR points leader Riley Kreisel was an early casualty, pulling off the track just one lap into the event. He finished 22nd.
The crown-jewel event for open-wheel sprints is named in memory of Jesse Hockett, a legendary sprint-car driver from Warsaw who died in a 2010 shop accident and Daniel McMillin, Hockett's cousin and crew chief who passed away in an automobile accident in 2006.
Lucas Oil Speedway results (Sept. 19, 2020)
10th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial
Lucas Oil ASCS Winged Sprints
A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 2. 9JR-Derek Hagar[5]; 3. M1-Mark Smith[1]; 4. 88X-Shane Stewart[9]; 5. 47X-Dylan Westbrook[6]; 6. 16A-Justin Sanders[7]; 7. 14-Jordon Mallett[3]; 8. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[8]; 9. 1X-Tim Crawley[13]; 10. 11-Roger Crockett[16]; 11. 8-Devon Borden[22]; 12. 14E-Kyle Bellm[19]; 13. 28C-Jonathan Cornell[11]; 14. 55B-Brandon Anderson[18]; 15. 24-Garet Williamson[20]; 16. 28-Scott Bogucki[4]; 17. 52-Blake Hahn[23]; 18. 9M-Cody Baker[21]; 19. 23-Seth Bergman[10]; 20. 1-Sean McClelland[17]; 21. 9-Chase Randall[15]; 22. 94-Jeff Swindell[14]; 23. 17W-Harli White[12]; 24. 21-Miles Paulus[25]; 25. 95-Matt Covington[24]
B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 1-Sean McClelland[1]; 2. 14E-Kyle Bellm[2]; 3. 91T-Tyler Thomas[3]; 4. 7C-Justyn Cox[5]; 5. 4-Evan Martin[8]; 6. 18T-Tanner Holmes[6]; 7. 20G-Jake Greider[9]; 8. 3M-Howard Moore[17]; 9. 57-Billy Butler[10]; 10. 10L-Landon Britt[14]; 11. 22L-Connor Leoffler[7]; 12. 76-Jay Russell[11]; 13. 90X-Matt Tanner[13]; 14. (DNF) 51B-Joe B Miller[4]; 15. (DNF) 3Z-Zach Davis[12]; 16. (DNS) 30-Joseph Miller; 17. (DNS) 99-Bobby Butler
B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 24-Garet Williamson[3]; 2. 21-Miles Paulus[4]; 3. 9M-Cody Baker[9]; 4. 77X-Alex Hill[5]; 5. 17B-Ryan Bickett[10]; 6. 11A-Austin O'Neal[8]; 7. 26-Marshall Skinner[11]; 8. 3P-Rusty Potter[15]; 9. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[13]; 10. 95X-Asa Swindell[14]; 11. (DNF) 23G-Steven Shebester[12]; 12. (DNF) 47-Dale Howard[1]; 13. (DNF) 21P-Robbie Price[2]; 14. (DNF) 84-Brandon Hanks[6]; 15. (DNF) 22-Riley Goodno[7]; 16. (DNS) 13-Chase Howard
B Feature 3 (15 Laps): 1. 55B-Brandon Anderson[1]; 2. 52-Blake Hahn[3]; 3. 8-Devon Borden[4]; 4. 95-Matt Covington[6]; 5. 2-Brad Bowden[5]; 6. 5T-Ryan Timms[7]; 7. 19-Colby Thornhill[8]; 8. 24D-Danny Sams III[2]; 9. 0-Corey Nelson[15]; 10. 31-Casey Wills[9]; 11. 86-Timothy Smith[14]; 12. 15-Jase Randolph[10]; 13. 46-Ryan Coniam[13]; 14. 88-Travis Reber[11]; 15. (DNF) 7B-Ben Brown[12]; 16. (DNF) 75B-Brian Boswell[16]
Last Chance Qualifier (12 Laps): 1. 1-Sean McClelland[1]; 2. 55B-Brandon Anderson[2]; 3. 14E-Kyle Bellm[5]; 4. 24-Garet Williamson[3]; 5. 9M-Cody Baker[8]; 6. 8-Devon Borden[9]; 7. 52-Blake Hahn[4]; 8. 7C-Justyn Cox[10]; 9. 2-Brad Bowden[13]; 10. 77X-Alex Hill[12]; 11. 17B-Ryan Bickett[14]; 12. 4-Evan Martin[15]; 13. (DNF) 95-Matt Covington[11]; 14. (DNF) 21-Miles Paulus[6]; 15. (DNF) 91T-Tyler Thomas[7]
Qualifier 1 (12 Laps): 1. 88X-Shane Stewart[4]; 2. 1X-Tim Crawley[2]; 3. 1-Sean McClelland[3]; 4. 21P-Robbie Price[6]; 5. 52-Blake Hahn[1]; 6. 7C-Justyn Cox[5]; 7. 84-Brandon Hanks[8]; 8. 5T-Ryan Timms[7]; 9. 20G-Jake Greider[12]; 10. 17B-Ryan Bickett[11]; 11. 88-Travis Reber[13]; 12. 90X-Matt Tanner[10]; 13. 95X-Asa Swindell[14]; 14. 0-Corey Nelson[9]; 15. 75B-Brian Boswell[15]; 16. (DNS) 87-Jason Barney; 17. (DNS) 97-Scotty Milan; 18. (DNS) 5D-Zach Daum
Qualifier 2 (12 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman[2]; 2. 94-Jeff Swindell[3]; 3. 47-Dale Howard[1]; 4. 24D-Danny Sams III[4]; 5. 51B-Joe B Miller[6]; 6. 77X-Alex Hill[8]; 7. 95-Matt Covington[7]; 8. 4-Evan Martin[10]; 9. 9M-Cody Baker[5]; 10. 15-Jase Randolph[9]; 11. 3Z-Zach Davis[11]; 12. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[13]; 13. 86-Timothy Smith[12]; 14. 22S-Slater Helt[14]; 15. 45-Chuck Hebing[15]; 16. 75-Tyler Blank[17]; 17. 21R-Gunner Ramey[16]
Qualifier 3 (12 Laps): 1. 28C-Jonathan Cornell[2]; 2. 9-Chase Randall[6]; 3. 55B-Brandon Anderson[3]; 4. 91T-Tyler Thomas[1]; 5. 21-Miles Paulus[5]; 6. 2-Brad Bowden[7]; 7. 22L-Connor Leoffler[12]; 8. 11A-Austin O'Neal[14]; 9. 31-Casey Wills[11]; 10. 76-Jay Russell[8]; 11. 23G-Steven Shebester[9]; 12. 46-Ryan Coniam[10]; 13. 30-Joseph Miller[15]; 14. 99-Bobby Butler[13]; 15. (DNF) 3M-Howard Moore[4]; 16. (DNS) 5-Kory Bales; 17. (DNS) 29-Emilio Hoover
Qualifier 4 (12 Laps): 1. 17W-Harli White[2]; 2. 11-Roger Crockett[1]; 3. 14E-Kyle Bellm[3]; 4. 24-Garet Williamson[4]; 5. 8-Devon Borden[7]; 6. 18T-Tanner Holmes[6]; 7. 22-Riley Goodno[5]; 8. 19-Colby Thornhill[9]; 9. 57-Billy Butler[8]; 10. 26-Marshall Skinner[10]; 11. 7B-Ben Brown[13]; 12. 10L-Landon Britt[12]; 13. 3P-Rusty Potter[14]; 14. 13-Chase Howard[11]; 15. (DNS) 121-Steve Glover; 16. (DNS) 37H-Matthew Howard; 17. (DNS) 28V-Luke Verardi
POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprints
Lucas Oil A Feature 1: 1. 32-Garrett Aitken[2]; 2. 5C-Colten Cottle[15]; 3. 11W-Wyatt Burks[3]; 4. 31-Joe B Miller[5]; 5. 28-Kory Schudy[14]; 6. 33M-Matt Westfall[13]; 7. 77M-RJ Johnson[12]; 8. 24X-Casey Shuman[4]; 9. 12-Wesley Smith[18]; 10. 16-Anthony Nicholson[7]; 11. 8D-Terry Babb[9]; 12. 54-Trey Gropp[21]; 13. 311-Quinton Benson[19]; 14. 1-Paul White[20]; 15. 37-Brian Beebe[6]; 16. 73V-Blake Vermillion[22]; 17. 20G-Noah Gass[16]; 18. 6-Mario Clouser[1]; 19. 5D-Zach Daum[10]; 20. 24-Landon Simon[11]; 21. 77-Jack Wagner[23]; 22. 91-Riley Kreisel[8]; 23. 74-Xavier Doney[17]
Super Clean B Feature 1: 1. 74-Xavier Doney[4]; 2. 1-Paul White[1]; 3. 15-Jeremy Jonas[5]; 4. 22S-Slater Helt[2]; 5. 7S-Wade Seiler[6]; 6. 2-Jason Billups[9]; 7. 96-Taylor Peterson[12]; 8. 6X-Frank Rogers[11]; 9. 89-Todd McVay[3]; 10. 118-Scott Evans[8]; 11. 9W-Justin Zimmerman[7]; 12. (DNS) 00-Jaden Brown; 13. (DNS) 2K-Kyle Lewis; 14. (DNS) 11X-Tom Curran
Super Clean B Feature 2: 1. 12-Wesley Smith[1]; 2. 54-Trey Gropp[3]; 3. 77K-Katlynn Leer[2]; 4. 24LCR-Chris Morgan[7]; 5. 90-Patrick Budde[5]; 6. 77-Jack Wagner[4]; 7. 44-Jason Howell[12]; 8. 90X-Mitchell Moore[6]; 9. 41-Brad Wyatt[9]; 10. 00E-Broc Elliott[11]; 11. (DNS) 66M-Max Grogan; 12. (DNS) 73-Samuel Wagner; 13. (DNS) 21C-Chris Desselle
Super Clean B Feature 3: 1. 311-Quinton Benson[1]; 2. 73V-Blake Vermillion[3]; 3. 27-Steve Thomas[6]; 4. 18-Terry Richards[5]; 5. 1ST-Lane Stone[2]; 6. 7JR-JD Black[8]; 7. 2H-Luke Howard[4]; 8. 26B-Nick Rasa[10]; 9. 57-Chase Parson[7]; 10. 97-Kevin Cummings[12]; 11. 48-Nathan Moore[13]; 12. 52-JD Fry[11]; 13. 2C-Zach Clark[9]
Schure Built Suspensions Qualifier 1: 1. 8D-Terry Babb[2]; 2. 33M-Matt Westfall[1]; 3. 1-Paul White[6]; 4. 77K-Katlynn Leer[3]; 5. 73V-Blake Vermillion[5]; 6. 15-Jeremy Jonas[8]; 7. 90X-Mitchell Moore[9]; 8. 57-Chase Parson[7]; 9. 2-Jason Billups[11]; 10. 73-Samuel Wagner[4]; 11. 52-JD Fry[10]; 12. (DNS) 2K-Kyle Lewis
Auto Meter Qualifier 2: 1. 5D-Zach Daum[2]; 2. 28-Kory Schudy[1]; 3. 12-Wesley Smith[4]; 4. 1ST-Lane Stone[8]; 5. 74-Xavier Doney[3]; 6. 90-Patrick Budde[6]; 7. 27-Steve Thomas[5]; 8. 118-Scott Evans[9]; 9. 41-Brad Wyatt[7]; 10. 26B-Nick Rasa[12]; 11. 96-Taylor Peterson[11]; 12. (DNS) 21C-Chris Desselle
KSE Racing Products Qualifier 3: 1. 24-Landon Simon[3]; 2. 5C-Colten Cottle[2]; 3. 311-Quinton Benson[1]; 4. 89-Todd McVay[7]; 5. 77-Jack Wagner[4]; 6. 18-Terry Richards[5]; 7. 9W-Justin Zimmerman[11]; 8. 66M-Max Grogan[10]; 9. 2C-Zach Clark[6]; 10. 6X-Frank Rogers[9]; 11. 44-Jason Howell[8]; 12. 48-Nathan Moore[12]
Advanced Racing Suspensions Qualifier 4: 1. 77M-RJ Johnson[2]; 2. 20G-Noah Gass[3]; 3. 22S-Slater Helt[4]; 4. 54-Trey Gropp[6]; 5. 2H-Luke Howard[8]; 6. 7S-Wade Seiler[7]; 7. 24LCR-Chris Morgan[1]; 8. 7JR-JD Black[11]; 9. 00-Jaden Brown[9]; 10. 00E-Broc Elliott[12]; 11. 97-Kevin Cummings[10]; 12. 11X-Tom Curran[5]
Pro Pulling next: The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League invades the Lucas Oil Speedway for the Pro Pulling Nationals next Friday and Saturday. Classes in action the first night tentatively include the Light Weight Super Stock Tractors, Mini Rod Tractors, Limited Pro Stock Diesel Trucks and Limited Pro Stock Tractors. On Saturday, it will be the Super Modified Tractors, Unlimited Super Stock Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Super Modified 2WD Trucks, Pro Modified 4WD Trucks and 10,000 Pro Stock Tractors.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday with pulling firing up at 7 p.m.
Friday admission:
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 & under) FREE
Saturday admission:
Adults (16 and over) $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $22
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 & under) FREE
For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at for more information.
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984