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Sammy Survives to Win Epic STN Opener

Sammy Swindell. (Photo courtesy of The Wheatley Collection)

Sammy Swindell. (Photo courtesy of The Wheatley Collection)

From Lonnie Wheatley

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (November 3, 2016) – The opening night of the 29th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires came down to the last lap with Sammy Swindell withstanding a late bid from Jason Johnson to win Thursday night’s 25-lap preliminary feature atop the ¼-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval.

While Johnson looped it in turns one and two as he made a run at Swindell on the final circuit, he made the save to salvage a third-place finish behind Swindell and early leader Tim Crawley, thus locking three past event champions into Saturday night’s $15,000-to-win, $2,000-to-start finale.

“I never really heard anything, I didn’t know that anybody was there,” Swindell said in victory lane after successfully kicking off a bid for a fourth STN crown.

Piloting a second A.G. Rains entry, Swindell spent the early portion of the race chasing pole starter Crawley.

But as traffic became a factor, Swindell moved in to challenge for the point and slipped Crawley exiting turn two on the 12th round.

While Swindell and Crawley raced through traffic, Knoxville Nationals champion Jason Johnson was on the move from the seventh starting position, cracking the top three with a daring move around both Zach Pringle and Aaron Reutzel at the completion of the ninth lap.

A straightaway behind the lead duo, Johnson began chipping away at the advantage and took second away from Crawley by the 20th circuit.

Johnson went to work on Swindell’s lead and had the storied racer within striking range with two laps to go. With the white flag flying, Johnson dove to the low side of turn one underneath Swindell only to do a 360-degree loop after contact with the lapped car of Kevin Swindell Motorsports entry Spencer Bayston.

Sammy Swindell was able to capitalize by securing his fifth career STN preliminary feature win while Crawley raced back into second aboard Mike Ward’s No. 88.

Johnson settled for the third and final lock-in position aboard the Priority Aviation No. 41 while local shoe Zach Pringle missed the cut by just one position as he fended off Reutzel for fourth.

Reutzel rounded out the top five with Ernie Ainsworth, Harli White, Tim Shaffer, Parker Price-Miller and Sheldon Haudenschild completing the top ten.

The feature was interrupted by only one caution when Jamie Ball spun in turn one on the second lap. As Ball’s mount reared up on the rear bumper, his front end clipped Mark Smith’s top wing. Both continued on, though Smith called it quits after six laps. Seventeen of the 20 feature starters saw the checkered flag.

Shawn Dancer, Joey Schmidt, Swindell, Ainsworth, Crawley, Max Stambaugh, Andy Shouse and Brian Bell topped heat race action for the 62-car field with Johnson, Price-Miller, Jamie Ball and Haudenschild winning the Qualifying Races. Forrest Sutherland Terry McCarl won “C” Mains while Bayston and Howard Moore took “B” Main honors.

Two-time STN champ Tony Bruce, Jr., was the first flip victim of the 29th Annual Short Track Nationals when he jumped a right rear and flipped in turn four on the opening lap of the third. Others joined the club including Brian Bell in the first Qualifier, C.J. Hulsey in the first “C” Main and Schmidt and Andy McElhannon in a wild “B” Main double flip. There were no injuries.

The 29th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires resumes with racing action at 8:00 p.m. Friday night at I-30 Speedway.
29th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Thursday Night Results:

Heat Races (Top 40 in Finishing/Passing Points to Qualifying Races; Balance to Two “C” Mains):

First Heat (10 Laps): 1. 49-Shawn Dancer, 2. 2-Parker Price-Miller, 3. M1-Mark Smith, 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 5. 21b-Brandon Hinkle, 6. 44-Ronny Howard, 7. 74e-Claud Estes, 8. 4-Tommy Snellgrove.

Second Heat (10 Laps): 1. 1s-Joey Schmidt, 2. 38-Rick Pringle, 3. 49x-Tim Shaffer, 4. 31g-Johnny Gardner, 5. 47x-Dylan Westbrook, 6. 21-Kevin Hinkle, 7. 10-Dustin Homan, 8. 30-Joseph Miller.

Third Heat (10 Laps): 1. 3s-Sammy Swindell, 2. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 3. 10h-Chad Kemenah, 4. 91s-Kevin Ramey, 5. 2k-Brandon Long, 6. 17*-Robbie Standridge, 7. 10c-Jason Keith, 8. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr.

Fourth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 88s-Shane Stewart, 4. 26-Marshall Skinner, 5. 42-Andy McElhannon, 6. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 7. 9x-Jake Bubak, 8. D6-Dakota Gaines.

Fifth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 88c-Tim Crawley, 2. 8z-Zach Pringle, 3. 40-Howard Moore, 4. 14m-Jordon Mallett, 5. 12w-Dale Wester, 6. 77c-C.J. Hulsey, 7. 14-Coleman Gulick, 8. 88r-Cody Gardner.

Sixth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 5m-Max Stambaugh, 2. 5J-Jamie Ball, 3. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 4. 39-Spencer Bayston, 5. 79-Jordan Thomas, 6. 85-Forrest Sutherland, 7. 24-Terry McCarl, 8. 23s-Trey Starks.

Seventh Heat (10 Laps): 1. 27-Andy Shouse, 2. X-Charlie Louden, 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 5. 59-Brad Bowden, 6. 69-Jamey Mooney, 7. 15*-Jeff Masson.

Eighth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 23b-Brian Bell, 2. 31b-Sheldon Haudenschild, 3. 17w-Harli White, 4. 77x-Alex Hill, 5. 10k-Dewayne White, 6. 43-Matthew Bauldwin, 7. 29-Brandon Stevenson.

Qualifying Races – Top 14 in Combined Passing/Finishing Points to “A” Feature; Balance to “B” Mains

First Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 88c-Tim Crawley, 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 4. M1-Mark Smith, 5. 91s-Kevin Ramey, 6. 47x-Dylan Westbrook, 7. 2k-Brandon Long, 8. 5m-Max Stambaugh, 9. 23b-Brian Bell, 10. 88s-Shane Stewart.

Second Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 2-Parker Price-Miller, 2. 77x-Alex Hill, 3. 40-Howard Moore, 4. 3s-Sammy Swindell, 5. 10h-Chad Kemenah, 6. 39-Spencer Bayston, 7. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 8. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 9. 1s-Joey Schmidt, 10. 42-Andy McElhannon.

Third Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 5J-Jamie Ball, 2. 17w-Harli White, 3. 38-Rick Pringle, 4. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth, 5. 14m-Jordon Mallett, 6. X-Charlie Louden, 7. 49x-Tim Shaffer, 8. 79-Jordan Thomas, 9. 26-Marshall Skinner, 10. 21b-Brandon Hinkle.

Fourth Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 31b-Sheldon Haudenschild, 2. 8z-Zach Pringle, 3. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 4. 7s-Jason Sides, 5. 27-Andy Shouse, 6. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 7. 49-Shawn Dancer, 8. 31g-Johnny Gardner, 9. 10k-Dewayne White, 10. 59-Brad Bowden.

“C” Features – Top 3 from Each Advance to Corresponding “B” Feature

First “C” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 85-Forrest Sutherland, 2. 17*-Robbie Standridge, 3. 9x-Jake Bubak, 4. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr., 5. 12w-Dale Wester, 6. 44-Ronny Howard, 7. 30-Joseph Miller, 8. 15*Jeff Masson, 9. 77c-C.J. Hulsey, 10. 10c-Jason Keith. DNS: 14-Coleman Gulick.

Second “C” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 24-Terry McCarl, 2. 43-Matthew Bauldwin, 3. 88r-Cody Gardner, 4. 23s-Trey Starks, 5. 74e-Claud Estes, 6. 10-Dustin Homan, 7. 29-Brandon Stevenson, 8. 21-Kevin Hinkle, 9. 69-Jamey Mooney, 10. D6-Dakota Gaines. DNS: 4-Tommy Snellgrove.

“B” Features – Top 3 from Each Advance to “A” Feature

First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 39-Spencer Bayston, 2. 10h-Chad Kemenah, 3. 49x-Tim Shaffer, 4. X-Charlie Louden, 5. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 6. 26-Marshall Skinner, 7. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 8. 38-Rick Pringle, 9. 91s-Kevin Ramey, 10. 85-Forrest Sutherland, 11. 2k-Brandon Long, 12. 17*-Robbie Standridge, 13. 9x-Jake Bubak, 14. 21b-Brandon Hinkle, 15. 1s-Joey Schmidt, 16. 42-Andy McElhannon.

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 40-Howard Moore, 2. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 3. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 4. 47x-Dylan Westbrook, 5. 23b-Brian Bell, 6. 14m-Jordon Mallett, 7. 49-Shawn Dancer, 8. 88s-Shane Stewart, 9. 24-Terry McCarl, 10. 79-Jordan Thomas, 11. 5m-Max Stambaugh, 12. 88r-Cody Gardner, 13. 31g-Johnny Gardner, 14. 10k-Dewayne White, 15. 59-Brad Bowden, 16. 43-Matthew Bauldwin.

“A” Feature – Top 3 Finishers Locked into Saturday night’s $15,000 to win STN Finale.

A Feature (25 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 3s-Sammy Swindell (2), 2. 88c-Tim Crawley (1), 3. 41-Jason Johnson (7), 4. 8z-Zach Pringle (4), 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel (5), 6. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (3), 7. 17w-Harli White (6), 8. 49x-Tim Shaffer (9), 9. 2-Parker Price-Miller (9), 10. 31b-Sheldon Haudenschild (11), 11. 7s-Jason Sides (14), 12. 39-Spencer Bayston (15), 13. 40-Howard Moore (16), 14. 27-Andy Shouse (8), 15. 28-Jonathan Cornell (20), 16. 5J-Jamie Ball (10), 17. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (18), 18. 77x-Alex Hill (12), 19. 10h-Chad Kemenah (17), 20. M1-Mark Smith (13).

Lap Leaders: Tim Crawley 1-11, Sammy Swindell 12-25.

29th Annual STN Points after Night One (Best of the Two Preliminary Nights – Lock-Ins not included in point totals):

1. 8z-Zach Pringle 501.0
2. 87-Aaron Reutzel 496.0
3. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth 496.0
4. 17w-Harli White 482.0
5. 2-Parker Price-Miller 471.5
6. 31b-Sheldon Haudenschild 467.5
7. 7s-Jason Sides 457.0
8. 27-Andy Shouse 452.0
9. 40-Howard Moore 446.0
10. 5J-Jamie Ball 443.5
11. 49x-Tim Shaffer 433.0
12. 39-Spencer Bayston 432.0
13. 77x-Alex Hill 431.0
14. 15J-Jeremy Middleton 425.5
15. 10h-Chad Kemenah 423.0
16. m1-Mark Smith 421.0
17. X-Charlie Louden 403.5
18. 28-Jonathan Cornell 399.0
19. 47x-Dylan Westbrook 394.0
20. 14m-Jordon Mallett 393.5
21. 38-Rick Pringle 393.5
22. 51b-Joe B. Miller 387.0
23. 23b-Brian Bell 381.0
24. 49-Shawn Dancer 380.0
25. 91s-Kevin Ramey 373.5
26. 9jr-Derek Hagar 360.5
27. 26-Marshall Skinner 354.0
28. 2k-Brandon Long 354.0
29. 5m-Max Stambaugh 354.0
30. 88s-Shane Stewart 338.5
31. 79-Jordan Thomas 338.0
32. 31g-Johnny Gardner 333.5
33. 1s-Joey Schmidt 324.5
34. 85-Forrest Sutherland 321.5
35. 24-Terry McCarl 318.5
36. 17*-Robbie Standridge 312.0
37. 10k-Dewayne White 310.0
38. 21b-Brandon Hinkle 309.5
39. 59-Brad Bowden 305.5
40. 42-Andy McElhannon 305.0
41. 43-Matthew Bauldwin 297.5
42. 9x-Jake Bubak 296.5
43. 88r-Cody Gardner 293.5
44. 12w-Dale Wester 292.0
45. 74e-Claud Estes 287.5
46. 44-Ronny Howard 281.0
47. 23s-Trey Starks 279.5
48. 21-Kevin Hinkle 277.5
49. 10-Dustin Homan 275.5
50. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr. 272.0
51. 29-Brandon Stevenson 267.0
52. 77c-C.J. Hulsey 266.0
53. 69-Jamey Mooney 266.0
54. 15*-Jeff Masson 263.0
55. 30-Joseph Miller 261.5
56. 14-Coleman Gulick 257.0
57. 10c-Jason Keith 253.5
58. 4-Tommy Snellgrove 248.5
59. d6-Dakota Gaines 245.0