Swindell Banks $15K in 24th Annual Short Track Nationals Finale!

By Lonnie WheatleyTim Aylwin photo
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 29, 2011) – It had been more than 20 years since his first dose of STN glory, but Sammy Swindell finally became the event’s fourth multi-time champion by taking the $15,000 winner’s share in Saturday night’s 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires 40-lap championship finale atop the high-banked, ¼-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval.

After starting fourth, Swindell battled past early leader Shane Stewart on the 13th circuit and then went on to post his second Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National win of the year in front of Brady Bacon with Stewart taking the final podium position in third.

And, the 1990 STN winner added his second win with a flat left front tire over the final dozen circuits of the feature event that doled out over $80,000 alone to cap the blockbuster weekend that included 100 competitors.

“The last few years all I needed to do was finish and I’d win but things broke or different things have happened like a tire going flat or whatever,” Swindell explained after his ninth career STN feature start. “We had a flat tonight but it didn’t slow us down, with three wheels it was still better than anybody else. Those guys better go back to work.”

Swindell was one of six drivers locked into Saturday night’s STN championship feature after a third-place run in Friday night’s preliminary feature, explaining that, “The Big Game Tree Stands Maxim has worked great all weekend, we just didn’t show our hand until they paid the purse.”

While Swindell worked forward from fifth in the Dash for Cash to earn the fourth starting position in the main event, Dash winner Danny Lasoski led the way to the green flag with Stewart alongside.

Stewart gunned into the lead at the outset aboard Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita No. 57 A.R.T. and set the early pace in front of Swindell, third-starter Bacon and Lasoski while wading through four caution periods in the initial eight laps that sent Seth Bergman tailback with A.G. Rains, Wayne Johnson and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., all forced pitside in separate cautions.

After Hafertepe, Jr., looped it exiting turn four and suffered race-ending nose wing damage on a lap nine restart after W. Johnson stopped, Swindell went to work on Stewart for the point in short order.

While Stewart worked the low line, Swindell worked just to his outside and finally raced into the lead through turns three and four on the 13th lap after battling side-by-side for several rounds. Swindell then slipped away and opened up nearly a straightaway advantage just past the midway point as he worked traffic, leaving Stewart, Bacon and Lasoski to dice for the second position.

With Swindell comfortably ahead, Bacon battled his way past Stewart for second in the Wesmar-powered Fatheadz Eyewear No. 99 Triple-X on the 26th circuit, just two laps before one final caution flew for Kyle Larson’s disabled mount on the frontstretch. Larson had been battling among the top ten before apparent engine woes cut his first STN championship feature start short.

While Swindell’s left front tire went completely flat under the caution, the veteran shoe still had the advantage of four lapped cars between himself and his chasers on the restart. And, even though 2006 STN champion Jason Johnson was able to unlap himself on the restart, Bacon wasn’t quite able to clear traffic soon enough to mount a serious charge on the leader, ultimately falling 1.568 seconds short of Swindell at the stripe.

“At the end, I wish we could have got a restart with me right there behind him,” Bacon explained. “We might have been able to get him when we were slowed down when his flat was messing him up, but once he got in a rhythm I just couldn’t quite pull up on to him.”

With Swindell leading Bacon to the stripe, Stewart claimed the show position with Lasoski fourth in Mark Burch’s Engler Machine No. 1m Wolfweld and Jason Sides fifth in the Sparks Construction No. 91.

Stevie Smith raced from 14th to sixth in his rookie STN outing, with Paul McMahan surviving the lap nine restart contact with Hafertepe, Jr., to claim seventh after starting 13th.

Tim Crawley was eighth in front of his hometown crowd, with 2010 STN winner Brad Sweet turning in the top passing performance by racing from 20th ninth. Tim Shaffer completed the top ten.

Stevie Smith was one of seven drivers starting a first career STN championship finale with the others including Joey Saldana (13th), Seth Bergman (14th), Ray Allen Kulhanek (15th), Larson (16th), Aaron Reutzel (17th) and Matt Covington (18th).

Bergman worked his way into the main event by fending off Crawley in the First “B” Main. Crawley earned his 17th STN finale starting berth with the runner-up finish, matching four-time event winner Gary Wright’s total of 17 STN feature starts. Hafertepe, Jr., an STN runner-up last year, beat Covington to the stripe in the Second “B” Main.

Kyle Bellm and Channin Tankersley topped “C” Main action, Marshall Skinner and Ernie Ainsworth claimed wins in the “D” Mains and father-son duo Zach and Rick Pringle swept through “E” Main action.

With a total of 100 competitors taking part in the 24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, more than $116,000 in purse money was distributed over the course of the three-night event.

24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Saturday Results:

“E” Mains (Top 4 Advance to Corresponding “D” Main):

First “E” Main (10 Laps): 1. 8z-Zach Pringle. 2. 33a-Austin Alumbaugh, 3. 38m-Ryan Moore, 4. 14T-Tyler Brown, 5. 165-Miranda Arnold, 6. 32-Charles Tankersley, 7. 23j-Junior Jenkins, 8. 58-Wade Oliver, 9. 4bx-Kevin Baugh. DNS: 31-Justin Webb, 33h-Mark Huddleston.

Second “E” Main (10 Laps): 1. 38p-Rick Pringle, 2. 51b-Jimmy Brooks, 3. 44-Ronny Howard, 4j-John James, 5. 4T-Tommy Snellgrove, 6. 19-Jay Snellgrove, 7. 12-Steven Schaberg. DNS: 5k-Jerry Kamer, X-Charlie Louden, 51s-Lee Sowell, 51x-Beau Smith.

“D” Mains (Top 4 Advance to Corresponding “C” Main):

First “D” Main (10 Laps): 1. 26-Marshall Skinner, 2. 93-Chris Sweeney, 3. 01n-Jeremy Newkirk, 4. 36b-Jonathan Beason, 5. 8z-Zach Pringle, 6. C4-Casey Rowland, 7. 76-John Ricketts, 8. 3h-Nate Van Haaften, 9. 33a-Austin Alumbaugh, 10. 44c-Henry Gustavus, 11. 1m-Jim Moughan, 12. 38m-Ryan Moore, 13. 0m-Andy McElhannon, 14. 14T-Tyler Brown. DNS: 9s-Justin Sturch, 31b-Brandon Berryman.

Second “D” Main (10 Laps): 1. 40-Ernie Ainsworth, 2. 15b-Sean McClelland, 3. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 4. 28c-Jonathan Cornell, 5. 9k-Kyle Sager, 6. 87m-Brian McClelland, 7. 64-Scotty Thiel, 8. 38p-Rick Pringle, 9. 52-Frank Sudduth, 10. 19k-Klint Angelette, 11. 4j-John James, 12. 44-Ronny Howard, 13. 17b-Ryan Bickett. DNS: 4b-Eric Baldaccini, 0c-Zach Chappell, 51b-Jimmy Brooks.

“C” Mains (Top 4 Advance to Corresponding “B” Main):

First “C” Main (15 Laps): 1. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 2. 74e-Claud Estes, 3. 21b-Brian Brown, 4. 05-Brad Loyet, 5. 5h-Mason Moore, 6. 36b-Jonathan Beason, 7. X1m-Jack Dover, 8. 21k-Ryan Kitchen, 9. 93-Chris Sweeney, 10. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 11. 01n-Jeremy Newkirk, 12. 47-Dale Howard, 13. 89g-David Gravel, 14. 26-Marshall Skinner, 15. 66-Tommy Worley, 16. 51h-Mike Hess.

Second “C” Main (15 Laps): 1. 71-Channin Tankersley, 2. 9x-Gary Wright, 3. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 4. 28c-Jonathan Cornell, 5. 4s-Danny Smith, 6. 1x-Gary Taylor, 7. 87j-Justin Carver, 8. 39-Brad Bowden, 9. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 10. 40-Ernie Ainsworth, 11. 1g-Cody Gardner, 12. 15b-Sean McClelland, 13. 27-Andy Shouse, 14. 6b-Ryan Beechler, 15. 11g-Mike Goodman. DNS: 21x-Jimmy Hurley.

“B” Mains (Top 7 from each Advance to “A” Main):

First “B” Main (15 Laps): 1. 23b-Seth Bergman, 2. 88-Tim Crawley, 3. M1-Tim Shaffer, 4. 01x-Paul McMahan, 5. 77x-Wayne Johnson, 6. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 7. 41-Jason Johnson, 8. 22h-Randy Hannagan, 9. 28s-Jeff Swindell, 10. 18b-Tony Bruce, Jr., 11. 81-Danny Wood, 12. 3a-A.G. Rains, 13. 21b-Brian Brown, 14. 74e-Claud Estes, 15. 05-Brad Loyet, 16. 14k-Kyle Bellm.

Second “B” Main (15 Laps): 1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. 11c-Matt Covington, 3. 187-Kyle Larson, 4. 3g-Stevie Smith, 5. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 6. 9-Joey Saldana, 7. 49-Brad Sweet, 8. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 9. 94-Derek Hagar, 10. 9x-Gary Wright, 11. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 12. 28c-Jonathan Cornell, 13. 36-Jason Martin, 14. 71-Channin Tankersley, 15. 14m-Jordon Mallett. DNS: 91d-Cody Darrah.

Dash for Cash (Finish Determines Alignment of Front Three Rows of Main Event):

Dash (6 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 1mx-Danny Lasoski (4), 2. 57-Shane Stewart (2), 3. 99-Brady Bacon (6), 4. 1s-Sammy Swindell (4), 5. 91s-Jason Sides (1), 6. 29-Travis Rilat (3).

24th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Championship “A” Feature:

A Feature (40 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 1s-Sammy Swindell (4) [$15,000], 2. 99-Brady Bacon (3) [$10,000], 3. 57-Shane Stewart (2) [$7,500], 4. 1mx-Danny Lasoski (1) [$5,000], 5. 91s-Jason Sides (5) [$2,750], 6. 3g-Stevie Smith (14) [$2,700], 7. 01x-Paul McMahan (13) [$2,650], 8. 88-Tim Crawley (9) [$2,600], 9. 49-Brad Sweet (20) [$2,575], 10. M1-Tim Shaffer (11) [$2,550], 11. 29-Travis Rilat (6) [$2,525], 12. 41-Jason Johnson (19) [$2,500], 13. 9-Joey Saldana (18) [$2,475], 14. 23-Seth Bergman (7) [$2,450], 15. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek (16) [$2,425], 16. 187-Kyle Larson (12) [$2,400], 17. 87-Aaron Reutzel (17) [$2,400], 18. 11c-Matt Covington (10) [$2,400], 19. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (8) [$2,400], 20. 77x-Wayne Johnson (15) [$2,400], 21. 3a-A.G. Rains (21) [$2,400].

Lap Leaders: Shane Stewart 1-12, Sammy Swindell 13-40.

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Driver Points (Top 15): 1. Shane Stewart 2,811, 2. Johnny Herrera 2,674 3. Jeff Swindell 2,628, 4. Brady Bacon 2,561, 5. Tim Crawley 2,513, 6. Gary Wright 2,473, 7. Jason Johnson 2,394, 8. Seth Bergman 2,317, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. 2,303, 10. Aaron Reutzel 2,242, 11. Zach Chappell 2,026, 12. Wayne Johnson 1,778, 13. Jack Dover 1,471, 14. Dustin Morgan 1,371, 15. Danny Wood 1,275.

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Owner Points (Top 15): 1. Jason Johnson Racing #41 – 2,946, 2. Paul Silva #57 – 2,811, 3. Herrera/Main #45x – 2,674, 4. Swindell Group #28 – 2,628, 5. Bacon/Tel-Star #99 – 2,561, 6. Mike Ward #88 – 2,513, 7. Petersen Motorsports #23 2,317, 8. Bruce Racing #18 – 2,303, 9. Kenny Reutzel #87 – 2,242, 10. Randy Washburn #0 – 2,026, 11. Gary Wright #9 – 1,877, 12. M&M Motorsports #2 – 1,371, 13. Danny Wood #81 – 1,275, 14. Bryan Sundby #38 – 1,196, 15. Sam Hafertepe #15h – 1,128.