Race Story


Texas Takes Sprint Cars, West Virginia Wins Modifieds and Ohio Outpowers The Stocks

ROSSBURG, Ohio (April 21, 2018) – Eldora Speedway kicked off its 65th consecutive season of racing Saturday and the high-banked half-mile oval was wicked fast as cool temperatures allowed for maximum horsepower and ever-changing track conditions. The veteran experience of three drivers known for their aggressive driving styles, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., of Sunnyvale, Texas, Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, West Virginia, and Paul Pardo of New Paris, would allow them to fend off all comers and stand atop Eldora’s famous Victory Stage as the first winners of 2018.

Hafertepe, Jr., who has been the top 360 c.i. sprint car driver in the nation of late and a former regular on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series had never been to Eldora victory lane. Behind the wheel of the Miles Hill-backed entry, Hafertepe served notice early by setting a qualifying Track Record time of 13.440 seconds eclipsing the previous mark set in 2002. Hafertepe handily won his Heat Race giving him the pole position for the 25-lap K&L Ready Mix National Racing Alliance (NRA) Sprint Invaders A-Feature.

With Hafertepe surged ahead at the green flag, the action behind him was wild as the lead pack raced through lapped traffic. A lap-19 caution for a spin by Alex Hill (Ohsweken, Ontario) bunched up the pack for the restart but Hafertepe was never seriously challenged and led all 25-laps pick up his first career Eldora win.

“This is pretty awesome. I used to get my (butt) kicked all the time by the Outlaws here,” said Hafertepe Jr. on the Victory Stage. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in a 360-sprint car, a 410-sprint car or whatever, to get a win at Eldora is pretty special.”

Randy Hannagan (Pittsboro, Indiana), Butch Schroeder (Leipsic), Dustin Daggett (Portland, Michigan), Devon Dobie (Wapakoneta), and Kyle Sauder (Archbold) rounded out the top-five.

Heat race winners were Hafertepe, Dobie and Hannagan. Koby Allison (Lima) won the B-Feature.

For the second consecutive year, Jacob Hawkins won the season opening event for the DIRTcar UMP Modified division at Eldora. It was his ninth career victory at Eldora. The Fairmont, West Virginia native, who operates a towing business with his brother along the I-79 corridor, has scored a victory every season since 2014 and now ranks seventh in all-time career Modified wins.

Hawkins took the lead from Josh Morton (Piqua) on lap-5 and battled Saltsburg, Pennsylvania’s Jonathan Taylor throughout the feature including several restarts. Hawkins finally rocketed away from
the field on the final restart with three laps to go and holding off runner-up Taylor by three car lengths.

“It feels good to get back here. This is a track I always enjoy,” Hawkins said after the 20-lap victory. “To start out with a win here really means a lot. To start out with a bang feels good.”

“I started to get a little nervous caution after caution,” Hawkins said. “You never know what your tires are going to do. They fired off great every time and I like it when I can roll the top here like that. It just suits my style”

Eldora officials used its flex-scheduling option for the season opener and pushed up the start time with unseasonably cold temperatures in the forecast. The track – in order to optimize event schedules in the interest of fans, competitors and track conditions after consulting with its contracted meteorological service BAMWX.com – will use the flex-scheduling for events in April, September’s 4-Crown Nationals and October’s season finale.

“I’d also like to thank everyone that came out and supported us tonight,” Hawkins said. “They did really well with what they had to work with from the weather. It’s nice to get it in early.”

Taylor, Ryan Sutter (Coldwater), Morton and defending modified champion Jerry Bowersock (Piqua) rounded out the top-five.

Heat races were won by Taylor, Bowersock and Sutter and Mike Learman (Woodstock, Illinois) won the B-main. Clarklake, Michigan’s Brian Ruhlman set a qualifying Track Record of 16.894 eclipsing the mark set in October 2011.

In the most entertaining feature event of the evening, Paul Pardo of New Paris beat defending Eldora Stock Car Champion Gary Rahe, Jr. (Milan, Indiana) in a drag race off Turn 4 to score the checkered flag.

Chris Douglas (Lima) led the first six laps before Rahe took over the top spot for two laps. Pardo followed Rahe around Douglas on lap seven in turns one and two and then Pardo powered under Rahe and into the lead in turns three and four on lap nine.

Rahe stayed right with Pardo and when Pardo slid high in turns three and four on the final lap, Rahe tried to make the pass on the low side, but he came up a car length short at the checkered flag.

The balance of the top-five will show Douglas credited with third-place, Rob Trent (Lima) credited with fourth place and Tony Anderson (Lima) credited with fifth place following post-race inspection.

Heat Races were won by Earnie Woodard (Georgetown, Kentucky) and Rahe. Woodard’s 18.500 qualifying lap established a Track Record breaking the one established in May 2003.

The Sunoco American Late Model Series take center stage next Saturday, April 28 with a $5,000-to-win event headlining the “Late Model LidLifter.” The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds also have a special $3,000-to-win event scheduled with the Eldora Stocks battling for $1,000-to-win.

Tickets are just $15 with children (12 & younger) admitted FREE. Full event information is available via www.EldoraSpeedway.com or by calling (937) 338-3815.

Saturday’s event is a “Flex-Schedule” event. Eldora officials will make best efforts to announce the schedule for gate times, hot laps and race start via the official speedway website and social media channels on Monday.

About Eldora Speedway:
Since carved from a cornfield in the natural amphitheater that existed between the Eldora Ballroom and the Wabash River by bandleader Earl Baltes in 1954, Eldora Speedway has grown to be a frontrunner in motorsports growth and stability. Baltes chose to sell the legendary high-banked clay oval to motorsports entrepreneur and NASCAR, IndyCar and USAC champion Tony Stewart in 2004. Eldora celebrates its 65th consecutive season of racing in 2018 featuring the biggest events in short-track racing, including: the 24th running of the $100,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream Weekend on June 7th-8th-9th; the 35th Annual $50,000-to-win Kings Royal Weekend on July 12th-13th-14th; the Camping World Truck Series’ Eldora Dirt Derby – NASCAR’s only race on dirt on Wednesday, July 18th; the 48th Annual World 100 Weekend on September 6th-7th-8th; and the historic 4-Crown Nationals on September 21st and 22nd. The complete schedule for Eldora’s 2018, including ticket and campsite information, is available at www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Fans can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on social media channels Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Exclusive video content posted on www.youtube.com/EldoraSpeedway has been viewed over 4.2-million times.

Race Results

Event Box Score

1.15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr., 13.440 (NTR); 2.33W-Michael Walter, 13.705; 3.16-Ryan Ruhl, 13.724; 4.77x-Alex Hill, 13.868; 5.18-Todd Heuerman, 13.869; 6.35R-Ron Blair, 13.874; 7.85-Dustin Daggett, 13.882; 8.23D-Devon Dobie, 13.915; 9.22H-Randy Hannagan, 13.988; 10.10J-Jarrod DeLong, 13.999; 11.19-Colby Womer, 14.016; 12.2S-Kyle Sauder, 14.057; 13.49-Shawn Dancer, 14.070; 14.B20-Butch Schroeder, 14.094; 15.24-Koby Allison, 14.144; 16.22D-Aaron Robnolte, 14.221; 17.7J-Joe Swanson, 14.272; 18.11N-Ed Neumeister, 14.274; 19.28-Phil Gressman, 14.303; 20.17-Jared Hortsman, 14.401; 21.15-Brandon Ferguson, 14.617; 22.11-Tim Allison, 14.809; 23.5W-Jeffrey Williams, 14.882; 24.77-Zane DeVault, 15.157; 25.37-Noah Dunlap, 15.165; 26.21M-Chris Olding, 99.991; 27.5M-Max Stambaugh, 99.992;

Heat #1 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[4]; 2. 85-Dustin Daggett[2]; 3. 10J-Jarrod DeLong[1]; 4. 77X-Alex Hill[3]; 5. 49-Shawn Dancer[5]; 6. 11-Tim Allison[8]; 7. 28-Phil Gressman[7]; 8. 22D-Aaron Robnolte[6]; 9. 37-Noah Dunlap[9];

Heat #2 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 23D-Devon Dobie[2]; 2. 19-Colby Womer[1]; 3. B20-Butch Schroeder[5]; 4. 18-Todd Heuerman[3]; 5. 17-Jared Hortsman[7]; 6. 7J-Joe Swanson[6]; 7. 5W-Jeffrey Williams[8]; 8. 33W-Michael Walter[4]; 9. 21M-Chris Olding[9];

Heat #3 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 22H-Randy Hannagan[2]; 2. 2S-Kyle Sauder[1]; 3. 16-Ryan Ruhl[4]; 4. 35R-Ron Blair[3]; 5. 11N-Ed Neumeister[6]; 6. 24-Koby Allison[5]; 7. 77-Zane DeVault[8]; 8. 15-Brandon Ferguson[7]; 9. 5M-Max Stambaugh[9];

B-Feature (10) Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 24-Koby Allison[3]; 2. 11-Tim Allison[1]; 3. 22D-Aaron Robnolte[7]; 4. 7J-Joe Swanson[2]; 5. 77-Zane DeVault[6]; 6. 15-Brandon Ferguson[9]; 7. 37-Noah Dunlap[10]; 8. 28-Phil Gressman[4]; 9. 33W-Michael Walter[8];

A-Feature (25) Laps
1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[1]; 2. 22H-Randy Hannagan[4]; 3. B20-Butch Schroeder[8]; 4. 85-Dustin Daggett[3]; 5. 23D-Devon Dobie[2]; 6. 2S-Kyle Sauder[5]; 7. 17-Jared Hortsman[14]; 8. 16-Ryan Ruhl[9]; 9. 49-Shawn Dancer[13]; 10. 77X-Alex Hill[10]; 11. 10J-Jarrod DeLong[7]; 12. 11-Tim Allison[17]; 13. 18-Todd Heuerman[11]; 14. 77-Zane DeVault[20]; 15. 24-Koby Allison[16]; 16. 7J-Joe Swanson[19]; 17. 22D-Aaron Robnolte[18]; 18. 19-Colby Womer[6]; 19. 11N-Ed Neumeister[15]; 20. 15-Brandon Ferguson[21];


1.49-Brian Ruhlman, 16.894 (NTR); 2.13H-Jacob Hawkins, 17.279; 3.16-Jeff Koz, 17.319; 4.4L-Mike Learman, 17.375; 5.3W-Dylan Woodling, 17.421; 6.20M-Josh Morton, 17.524; 7.1-Catfish Williams, 17.540; 8.95J-Jerry Bowersock, 17.541; 9.88-Scott Orr, 17.572; 10.5-Jonathan Taylor, 17.623; 11.47-Collin Thirlby, 17.629; 12.18-Ryan Sutter, 17.644; 13.O9D-Joel Dick, 17.689; 14.22T-Tony Anderson, 17.825; 15.5X-Tim Richardson, 17.868; 16.188-Aaron Orr, 17.964; 17.4G-Bill Griffith, 18.015; 18.3G-Brian Gray, 18.016; 19.7-Jordan Conover, 18.017; 20.2D-Curtis Deisenroth, 18.034; 21.11-Ed Roley, 18.044; 22.27-Frank Paladino, 18.073; 23.11H-Mike Hohlbein, 18.156; 24.74-Lenny Guyton, 18.430; 25.AK47-Alan Ketcham, 18.629; 26.36S-Adam Schaeff, 20.212; 27.36-Brandon Vaughan, 99.991; 28.52-Weasel Phlipot, 99.991; 29.O1-Earnie Woodard, 99.992;

Heat #1 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 5-Jonathan Taylor[3]; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman[6]; 3. O9D-Joel Dick[2]; 4. 188-Aaron Orr[1]; 5. 1-Scottie Williams[4]; 6. 4L-Mike Learman[5]; 7. 27-Frank Paladino[8]; 8. AK47-Alan Ketcham[9]; 9. 7-Jordan Conover[7]; 10. O1-Earnie Woodard[10];

Heat #2 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 95J-Jerry Bowersock[4]; 2. 13H-Jacob Hawkins[6]; 3. 22T-Tony Anderson[2]; 4. 47-Collin Thirlby[3]; 5. 3W-Dylan Woodling[5]; 6. 11H-Mike Hohlbein[8]; 7. 52-Weasel Phlipot[10]; 8. 4G-Bill Griffith[1]; 9. 36S-Adam Schaeff[9]; 10. 2D-Curtis Deisenroth[7];

Heat #3 (8) Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 18-Ryan Sutter[3]; 2. 5X-Tim Richardson[2]; 3. 20M-Josh Morton[5]; 4. 16-Jeff Koz[6]; 5. 3G-Brian Gray[1]; 6. 88-Scott Orr[4]; 7. 74-Lenny Guyton[8]; 8. 36-Brandon Vaughan[9]; 9. 11-Ed Roley[7];

B-Feature (8) Laps – Top 9 Transfer
1. 4L-Mike Learman[1]; 2. 27-Frank Paladino[4]; 3. 11H-Mike Hohlbein[2]; 4. 36-Brandon Vaughan[9]; 5. 4G-Bill Griffith[8]; 6. 88-Scott Orr[3]; 7. AK47-Alan Ketcham[7]; 8. 2D-Curtis Deisenroth[14]; 9. 74-Lenny Guyton[6]; 10. 36S-Adam Schaeff[11];

A-Feature (20) Laps
1. 13h-Jacob Hawkins[5]; 2. 5-Jonathan Taylor[8]; 3. 18-Ryan Sutter[10]; 4. 20m-Josh Morton[2]; 5. 95j-Jerry Bowersock[7]; 6. 88-Scott Orr[21]; 7. 47-Collin Thirlby[9]; 8. 49-Brian Ruhlman[6]; 9. 3w-Dylan Woodling[3]; 10. 22t-Tony Anderson[12]; 11. 36-Brandon Vaughan[19]; 12. 11H-Mike Hohlbein[18]; 13. 4L-Mike Learman[16]; 14. 5x-Tim Richardson[13]; 15. 27-Frank Paladino[17]; 16. 4G-Bill Griffith[20]; 17. 188-Aaron Orr[14]; 18. 3g-Brian Gray[15]; 19. 2D-Curtis Deisenroth[23]; 20. 1-Scottie Williams[1]; 21. 74-Lenny Guyton[24]; 22. 16-Jeff Koz[4]; 23. O9D-Joel Dick[11]; 24. AK47-Alan Ketcham[22];


1.O1-Earnie Woodard, 18.500 (NTR); 2.95-Gary Rahe Jr., 18.824; 3.410-Paul Pardo, 19.116; 4.5W-Craig Swartz, 19.293; 5.82-Chris Douglas, 19.316; 6.87-Andy Welch, 19.420; 7.22T-Tony Anderson, 19.466; 8.91-Rob Trent, 19.643; 9.OOP-Dean Pitts, 19.672; 10.23-Casey Barr, 19.782; 11.5G-Anthony Goode, 19.797; 12.11-TJ Smith, 19.984; 13.27-Frank Paladino, 20.088; 14.15-Andrew Trick, 20.270; 15.99J-Donnie Jeschke, 20.480; 16.463-Daniel Sanchez, 20.594; 17.33-Erik Skaggs, 20.740; 18.J2-Keith Lyall, 20.900; 19.17-Jeremy Creech, 22.130; 20.1W-Mark Wooten, 99.991;

Heat #1 (8) Laps – All Transfer
1. O1-Earnie Woodard[6]; 2. 410-Paul Pardo[5]; 3. 82-Chris Douglas[4]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson[3]; 5. OOP-Dean Pitts[2]; 6. 5G-Anthony Goode[1]; 7. 27-Frank Paladino[7]; 8. 33-Erik Skaggs[9]; 9. 17-Jeremy Creech[10];

Heat #2 (8) Laps – All Transfer
1. 95-Gary Rahe Jr.[6]; 2. 11-TJ Smith[1]; 3. 5W-Craig Swartz[5]; 4. 91-Rob Trent[3]; 5. 15-Andrew Trick[7]; 6. J2-Keith Lyall[9]; 7. 99J-Donnie Jeschke[11]; 8. 1W-Mark Wooten[10]; 9. 463-Daniel Sanchez[8]; 10. 23-Casey Barr[2]; 11. 87-Andy Welch[4];

A-Feature (15) Laps
1. 410-Paul Pardo[4]; 2. 95-Gary Jr. Rahe[5]; 3. 82-Chris Douglas[2]; 4. 91-Rob Trent[7]; 5. 22T-Tony Anderson[1]; 6. 11-TJ Smith[9]; 7. OOP-Dean Pitts[8]; 8. 27-Frank Paladino[13]; 9. 15-Andrew Trick[10]; 10. 33-Erik Skaggs[16]; 11. J2-Keith Lyall[17]; 12. 99J-Donnie Jeschke[14]; 13. O1-Earnie Woodard[6]; 14. 23-Casey Barr[11]; 15. 5G-Anthony Goode[12]; 16. 1W-Mark Wooten[19];


Images from the Event

Courtesy Campbell Photo


Video Highlights From The Event

PLAYLIST: 65th Season Opener (3 videos)

Archived Video

Watch 65th Season Opener Live

This event video has been archived and is available for on-demand viewing