MASON CITY — Not too many guys have had faster cars than Sam Hafertepe Jr. this season in the Lucas Oil American Sprint Cars Series National Tour. The ASCS points leader had 10 wins in 23 features coming into Sunday night’s stop at Mason City Motor Speedway.
Leave it to a guy running his first race in the series this season to hold him in check.
Veteran Sprint Car driver Gregg Bakker started from the poll Sunday night and held on throughout to claim his first win in the series. Hafertepe Jr. came in right after Bakker with a second-place finish.
“Tonight that’s the place you needed to be,” Bakker said of running up front the whole race. “The track was dry and it took rubber in the heat races. For a Sprint Car, that’s really not what you want – for Stock Cars and Modifieds that works good.”
There was some concern for Bakker, who began racing Sprint Cars in 1996, heading into the race based on what he watched on the track prior to Sunday night’s feature. But thankfully for him, he was still able to make his line work as much as he needed it.
“I was a little concerned because the Stock Cars and Modifieds, they started running around the top so I didn’t know if the top was coming in,” Bakker said.
The only issue in his mind after the track was what to do when he came up on lapped traffic, which occurred at about the midway point in the race.
As he picked one car off after another, that doubt went away. And the gap between him and second place was never closed.
“When you get up to lapped traffic that makes it interesting because those guys are running the same lane you do and you don’t know if the guys are going to sneak around the outside of you,” he said. “You’re kind of a sitting duck out there (in front), but tonight that was the place to be and we capitalized on it and I couldn’t be happier.”
Aside from Sunday’s main attraction, MCMS ran the Ted Zieman Memorial for Stock Cars, B-Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Tuners after last week was washed out.
The Stock Car feature ended up being one of the most competitive of the night.
Kyle Falck picked up his first win in Mason City on the year when he drove his No. 67 machine from fifth to first. He had to hold off a number of challenges from Kevin Stoa and Kevin Donlan to do so.
“That was the most fun I’ve had in a race in quite awhile,” Falck said.
For the first half of the feature, it was the three guys taking turns out front. But when Falck took his lead, he held onto it for good.
It wasn’t easy, though, as Stoa pulled close to door-to-door with him with both four and three laps remaining. But Falck held off the challenge for his second win in as many nights.
“I sucked for two months and we finally hit on something that’s working good so that gives a guy a lot of confidence and momentum to get after it a little more,” Falck said.
In the B-Modifieds, Jared Boumeester won a $624 pay day as he used a pass with six laps to go to get around Dustin Kruse for the wictory.
Matt White started on the pole and won the Hobby Stock feature, and Kyle Balik claimed a victory in the Tuners after the original winner, Garrett Jacobson, was disqualified.