Hietala finished two rounds at 16-under 126, a new 36-hole record by a stroke. Jon Mills set the original mark in 2005, then Roland Thatcher matched it last year en route to victory.
David Branshaw carded a 7-under 64 to get into second place at 14 under. Garth Mulroy posted a 6-under 65 in the second round and is third at 13-under-par 129.
Hietala began on the 10th tee Friday and parred his first three holes. He broke into red figures with a 15-foot birdie at 13, then converted a 12-footer for birdie at No. 14.
At the 237-yard, par-3 16th, Hietala roped a 4-iron to 12 feet and converted the birdie putt. Once again, he posted back-to-back birdies when he kicked in a short birdie putt at the par-5 17th.
Hietala made a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 third. His finish is what got him into the Cox Classic record book.
At the par-four seventh, Hietala drained a 20-foot birdie putt, then chipped in for birdie at the par-3 eighth when his 7-iron tee shot missed the putting surface.
Hietala drove the green at the 315-yard, par-4 ninth. Not only did he reach the green, his ball stopped three feet from the hole. Hietala rolled home the eagle putt for the new 36-hole record.
'The finish kind of jumped up on me,' said Hietala, who won the 2005 Louisiana Open. 'I was coasting at five-under. Finishing 3-2-2, you can't argue with that. It's a good way to finish.'
Hietala has a new approach to playing on the Nationwide Tour. With his wife taking a job to bring in more income, and a fear of failure seemingly behind him, Hietala is going for broke.
'I got in this habit of playing golf for the wrong reasons,' acknowledged Hietala. 'I wasn't trying to play golf, I was trying to make the cut. I was afraid to hit a bad shot, afraid of what people would think.
'I've been hanging out with Chris Smith and Chris Anderson and they have been telling me, 'hit that driver as hard as you can. Get over that fear.' This is the Ryan I know (these two days).'
Vance Veazey (66) and Alex Prugh (64) share fourth place at 12-under 130.
Overnight leader D.A. Points only managed a three-under 68 and is in sixth at 11-under 131.
Bryce Molder (66), David McKenzie (67), last week's Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational winner Bill Lunde (64) and two-time winner this year Colt Knost (67) are tied for seventh place at 10 under.