ALGER, Wash. — Leading start to finish to open the 48th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by the Skagit Casino/Resort, Blake Hahn became the sixth different Dirt Cup winner since 2015 with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network Thursday at Skagit Speedway.
“Thank you to all the fans for coming out tonight. This is one of my favorite races we go to all year and to top the podium on the first night is a good start to the weekend. Dalton had the car dialed in tonight every time we hit the track. Hopefully, we can do this again tomorrow night,” stated Hahn.
With the victory, Hahn claimed the point lead with the series by 28 markers over Sam Hafertepe Jr. with John Carney II.
Winning the drag race into the first two turns over Jason Solwold, the Sage Fruit, Co. No. 52 worked high at first before moving near the middle groove the Skagit Speedway. With room to breathe over Solwold, the 2015 Dirt Cup champion came under fire from Matt Covington.
Finding Hahn in traffic as the race progressed to the ninth lap, Covington took a shot at the race lead through the third and fourth turns.
Patiently through traffic, Hahn controlled the pace with tire conservation a top priority.
“I felt the tire start to chatter and that’s about when I saw Matt take a shot underneath me,” Hahn explained. “Luckily, I had enough momentum to beat him into the next turn, otherwise, I was running second. After that, I just tried to keep the car as straight as possible and not let traffic put me in a bad position.”
Nose to tail through the top five at one point with the leaders trailing the back of the pack, the leaders spread out momentarily before the caution flag waved on lap 24 for Sam Hafertepe Jr. with a flat tire.
Pulling away on the restart with two laps to go, Hahn opened his advantage to 2.703 seconds at the checkered flag. Covington in second was joined on the podium by Jason Solwold. Seth Bergman moved up one to finish fourth with John Carney II finishing fifth.
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 52-Blake Hahn, ; 2. 95-Matt Covington, ; 3. 18-Jason Solwold, ; 4. 23-Seth Bergman, ; 5. J2-John Carney II, ; 6. 21P-Robbie Price, ; 7. 22X-Travis Jacobson, ; 8. 8C-Justyn Cox, ; 9. 28-Scott Bogucki, ; 10. 57C-Chris Schmelzle, ; 11. 22L-Garen Linder, ; 12. 33S-Lance Sargent, ; 13. 77X-Alex Hill, ; 14. 33-Colton Heath, ; 15. 17-Cam Smith, ; 16. 44W-Austen Wheatley, ; 17. 3-J.J. Hickle, ; 18. 9R-Reece Goetz, ; 19. 8-Devon Borden, ; 20. 96-Greg Hamilton, ; 21. (DNF) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, ; 22. (DNF) 57-Jake Helsel,