By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (September 28, 2011) – Entries pouring into the I-30 Speedway track office and tickets being sent out is a sure sign that it’s that time of the year in Little Rock, AR.
“That time of the year” being the approach of the track’s annual Short Track Nationals, a showcase Sprint Car event that scores of race fans and race teams from throughout the country plan annual pilgrimages about.
Once again sanctioned by the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series, the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires set for October 27-29 offers up a hefty $15,000 winner’s share with an unmatched $2,400 just to start Saturday night’s STN championship feature event. A Test ‘N Tune session on Wednesday, October 26, will precede the three hotly-contested nights of competition.
With such substantial start money, a total of $77,700 will be paid out in the STN championship feature alone, a figure not even remotely approached by any other major event, as only one other feature over the course of the year barely eclipses the $50,000 mark. Well over $100,000 will be paid out over the course of the three-night spectacle at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway.
With a record 125 competitors taking to I-30 Speedway’s high-banked, ¼-mile red clay oval last October, Grass Valley, CA, native Brad Sweet became the 16th different winner of the prestigious event when he took advantage of a white-flag lap skirmish between Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Greg Wilson to snare the victory.
In the process, Sweet denied the effort of Tony Bruce, Jr., to become the first driver to take three consecutive STN titles after winning over fields of 95 in 2008 and then 101 in 2009.
With those back-to-back wins before the Sweet triumph, Bruce, Jr., matched four-time STN winner Gary Wright and two-time event winner Steve Kinser as the only ones able to knock down back-to-back wins.
Bruce also ranks with Wright as one of just two drivers to win the STN on more than one occasion since the event became the nation’s premier showcase in 1993. Wright scored his first STN victory in 1995, then followed up with a second win in 1999. Wright extended his total of STN triumphs to four with back-to-back victory drives in 2003 and 2004.
Other past winners include Jason Meyers (2007), Jason Johnson (2006), Tim Montgomery (2005), Paul McMahan (2002), Jason Sides (2001), Mike Ward (2000), Tim Crawley (1998), Wayne Johnson (1997), Pete Butler (1996), Terry Gray (1994) and John Gerloff (1993).
Steve Kinser (1988, ’89 and ’91) and Sammy Swindell (1990) claimed early renditions of the Short Track Nationals before the 1992 finale was rained out.
Drivers planning on competing in the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires are encouraged to submit their entries as soon as possible. Entries postmarked by October 17 are $150, with entries submitted after that $250. Entry forms are available at http://www.i-30speedway.com/flyers/stn_2011.pdf or by calling 501-455-4567.
What: 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.
Where: I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR). I-30 Speedway is located seven miles southwest of Little Rock off I-30 Exit 126 (Alexander Road).
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 27-29, 2011. $15,000 to win the STN finale on October 29 with $2,400 to start the STN championship feature. Race time is 7:30 p.m. each night. Rain date is November 3-5. Test ‘N Tune session on Wednesday night, October 26.
Past Winners: Brad Sweet (2010), Tony Bruce, Jr. (2009 and 2008), Jason Meyers (2007), Jason Johnson (2006), Tim Montgomery (2005), Gary Wright (2004, 2003, 1999 and 1995), Paul McMahan (2002), Jason Sides (2001), Mike Ward (2000), Tim Crawley (1998), Wayne Johnson (1997), Pete Butler (1996), Terry Gray (1994), John Gerloff (1993), Steve Kinser (1991, ’89 and ‘88) and Sammy Swindell (1990). 1992 finale was rained out.
The Series: A signature stop on the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National trail, Shane Stewart is trying to finish off a second driver’s championship while Jason Johnson tries to give the JJR No. 41 team the owner’s title for the second year in a row. After Lone Star Speedway’s Lone Star Sprint Nationals on October 13-15, which is show-up points only, Johnny Herrera, Jeff Swindell and company will try to close the gap in the Devil’s Bowl Winter Nationals (October 21-22) prior to the STN.
After the STN the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars will finish out the year at Las Cruces’ Southern New Mexico Speedway (November 11-12), and then USA Raceway’s Western World Championships in Tucson (November 17-19).
Current Top 15 Driver Points: 1. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 2,367, 2. Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM) 2,270, 3. Jeff Swindell (Bartlett, TN) 2,226, 4. Tim Crawley (Benton, AR) 2,140, 5. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 2,125, 6. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 2,047, 7. Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) 1,956, 8. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 1,951, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 1,889, 10. Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 1,852, 11. Zach Chappell (Talala, OK) 1,671, 12. Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) 1,326, 13. Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK) 1,121, 14. Logan Forler (Eatonville, WA) 1,091, 15. Jack Dover (Springfield, NE) 1,087.
The Trade Show & Midway: This year’s rendition of the Short Track Nationals will also include the Seventh Annual Short Track Nationals Trade Show & Midway. Fans, drivers & crews will have the opportunity to visit vendor displays, which opens at noon on Thursday and then at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The deadline for guaranteed vendor space is Monday, October 24. Inquiries regarding vendor space should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tickets: Advance tickets are on sale through Wednesday, October 26, no advance sales after that. Tickets ordered in advance are just $45 for all three nights. Day of show prices are $15 on Thursday and Friday and $25 on Saturday. To order tickets in advance or for more information, call the track at 501-455-4567 or e-mail orders to racing@I-30speedway.com. Children’s tickets will be available at the event for just $2 on both Thursday and Friday and then $5 on Saturday. There is a $1 per ticket surcharge for orders placed via credit/debit cards. Pit passes are $30 on both Thursday and Friday and $35 on Saturday.
For more information regarding the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, contact I-30 Speedway at 501-455-4567.