By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (October 19, 2011) – The anxiety sets in each October. Like kids sleeping restlessly on Christmas Eve, the anticipation builds for race fans as they wait and wonder just what names may appear on the entry list for I-30 Speedway’s annual Short Track Nationals in Little Rock, AR.
The wait is over. With the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires just one week away, the initial list of drivers set to battle it out in the $15,000-to-win, $2,400-to-start spectacle has been revealed.
With entries still streaming into the I-30 Speedway track office, 78 entries from 19 different states from California to Connecticut and points in between have already been submitted for the prestigious Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National event atop the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval.
#X Charlie Louden (Camden, AR)
#0c Zach Chappell (Talala, OK)
#0m Andy McElhannon (Hernando, MS)
#01n Jeremy Newkirk (Roland, AR)
#01x Paul McMahan (Hendersonville, TN)
#1m Jim Moughan (Springfield, IL)
#1mx Danny Lasoski (Higginsville, MO)
#1x Gary Taylor (Snohomish, WA)
#03 Joe Wood, Jr. (Oklahoma City, OK)
#3a A.G. Rains (West Memphis, AR)
#3g Stevie Smith (New Oxford, PA)
#3h Nate Van Haaften (Otley, IA)
#4b Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX)
#4bx Kevin Baugh (Redfield, AR)
#4j John James (Wichita Falls, TX)
#4s Danny Smith (Danville, IN)
#4t Tommy Snellgrove (Little Rock, AR)
#05 Brad Loyet (Sunset Hills, MO)
#5h Mason Moore (Pleasant Grove, CA)
#5k Jerry Kamer (Jacksonville, AR)
#5m Miranda Arnold (Sedalia, MO)
#6b Ryan Beechler (McKinney, TX)
#6s Justin Spoerl (Mesquite, TX)
#8 John Carney III (El Paso, TX)
#9 Joey Saldana (Brownsburg, IN)
#9x Gary Wright (Hooks, TX)
#11c Matt Covington (Glenpool, OK)
#11g Mike Goodman (Tulsa, OK)
#14k Kyle Bellm (Nixa, MO)
#14m Jordon Mallett (Greenbrier, AR)
#14t Tyler Brown (Vilonia, AR)
#15b Sean McClelland (Tulsa, OK)
#16 Anthony Nicholson (Bartlett, TN)
#17b Ryan Bickett (Ramona, SD)
#18b Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS)
#18h Mike Hess (Springfield, IL)
#19 Klint Angelette (Thibodaux, LA)
#21b Brian Brown (Grain Valley, MO)
#21k Ryan Kitchen (Weston, NE)
#21t Ray Allen Kulhanek (Conroe, TX)
#22h Randy Hannagan (San Jose, CA)
#23b Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA)
#23j Junior Jenkins (Greenville, TX)
#28 Jonathan Cornell (Sedalia, MO)
#29 Travis Rilat (Forney, TX)
#31 Justin Webb (Drummonds, TN)
#33 Austin Alumbaugh (Higginsville, MO)
#36b Jonathan Beason (Broken Arrow, OK)
#36m Jason Martin (Liberal, KS)
#38 Ryan Moore (Moss Point, MS)
#39 Brad Bowden (Hernando, MS)
#40 Ernie Ainsworth (Southaven, MS)
#41 Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA)
#44 Ronny Howard (Nesbit, MS)
#45x Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM)
#47 Dale Howard (Byhalia, MS)
#49 Brad Sweet (Grass Valley, CA)
#51b Jimmy Brooks (College Station, TX)
#51s Lee Sowell (Lake Cormorant, MS)
#52 Frank Sudduth (Sapulpa, OK)
#57 Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK)
#64 Scotty Thiel (Sheboygan, WI)
#66 Tommy Worley (Bismarck, MO)
#71 Channin Tankersley (Highlands, TX)
#74e Claud Estes III (Godley, TX)
#76 John Ricketts (Burleson, TX)
#77x Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK)
#81 Danny Wood (Norman, OK)
#87a Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX)
#87j Justin Carver (Goodlettsville, TN)
#87m Brian McClelland (Broken Arrow, OK)
#88 Tim Crawley (Benton, AR)
#89g David Gravel (Watertown, CT)
#93 Chris Sweeney (Channelview, TX)
#94 Derek Hagar (Marion, AR)
#99 Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK)
Record Watch – With entries still coming in on a daily basis, last year’s record of 125 competitors could still be matched. The previous record was 108 in 2007.
The States – Only ten of the current 78 entries hail from the host Razorback state, bested by Lone Star State reps that number 15 Texas entries and Sooner shoes from Oklahoma that number 12. Nineteen different states are currently represented.
The breakdown: Texas 15, Oklahoma 12, Arkansas 10, Missouri 8, Mississippi 7, Tennessee 4, California 3, Illinois 2, Indiana 2, Kansas 2, Louisiana 2, Washington 2, Connecticut 1, Iowa 1, Nebraska 1, New Mexico 1, Pennsylvania 1, South Dakota 1, Wisconsin 1.
A pair of entries, second entries from Donnie Cooper and Ronny Howard, are currently listed as TBA’s.
STN Kings – Seven past winners are among the current entries including defending STN champion Brad Sweet, four-time winner Gary Wright, back-to-back winner Tony Bruce, Jr., and one-time winners Jason Johnson, Paul McMahan, Tim Crawley and Wayne Johnson. Bruce, Jr., is rumored to be fielding a second entry for 2011 sensation Kyle Larson, though no entry has been filed yet, Crawley drives for 2000 STN winner Mike Ward and 2002 STN winner Paul McMahan rejoins forces with Donnie Cooper for another run at STN glory.
STN Experience – Twenty-six of the currently entered drivers have made at least one career STN championship feature start. Though he’s missed the feature cut the last two years, Gary Wright still leads the way with 17 career STN championship feature starts, just one ahead of Tim Crawley at 16.
Career STN championship feature starts: Gary Wright 17, Tim Crawley 16, Wayne Johnson 13, Dale Howard 7, Travis Rilat 7, Shane Stewart 7, Brian Brown 5, Jason Johnson 5, Danny Wood 5, A.G. Rains 4, Ernie Ainsworth 3, Zach Chappell 3, Brady Bacon 2, Tony Bruce, Jr. 2, Paul McMahan 2, Danny Smith 2, Brad Sweet 2, Tommy Worley 2, Justin Carver 1, Claud Estes 1, David Gravel 1, Derek Hagar 1, Johnny Herrera 1, Danny Lasoski 1, Sean McClelland 1, Joe Wood, Jr. 1.
Rookie Crop – At least 16 of the currently entered drivers are set for their maiden STN voyage. Three event rookies raced their way into last year’s STN championship finale including fifth-place Brandon Wimmer, sixth-place Justin Carver and David Gravel, who is once again the lone STN from Connecticut.
This year’s rookie crop includes some high profile entries including defending STN champ Brad Sweet’s stablemate Joey Saldana, Posse member Stevie Smith and Brad Loyet, who captured 2011 titles in both the Sprint Car and Midget ranks (ASCS Warrior and POWRi).
This year’s STN rookie class includes the following: Austin Alumbaugh, Kevin Baugh, Ryan Beechler, John James, Ryan Kitchen, Charles Louden, Brad Loyet, Andy McElhannon, Mason Moore, Joey Saldana, Stevie Smith, Justin Spoerl, Frank Sudduth, Scotty Thiel, Nate Van Haaften, Justin Webb
While the pre-entry discount deadline of October 17 has come and gone, post-entries for the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires may still be filed for $250 by calling the track at 501-455-4567 or at http://www.i-30speedway.com/flyers/stn_2011.pdf.
Fans can purchase advance tickets by calling 501-455-4567. Advance tickets are just $45 for all three nights of wild racing action.
The Pertinent Info:
The What: 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.
The 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).
The 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.
The 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.