From Lonnie Wheatley
Little Rock, AR — (October 24, 2013) — Sammy Swindell left little doubt about the possibility of capturing a potential third STN crown by racing to a convincing victory in Thursday night’s 25-lap preliminary feature at I-30 Speedway’s 26th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.
After capitalizing on some fortuitous happenings in his heat and qualifying races to garner the pole position for the main event, the Memphis area native fought off one challenge from Tyler Thomas in the early going before dominating the balance of the main event for his third career STN preliminary feature win and first since 2004.
“The track has changed some since we were here last year, so I’m really glad we raced last night,” Swindell commented of Wednesday night’s Short Track Nationals Open. “We were able to learn a lot and it really paid off tonight.”
While Swindell locked himself into the STN championship finale for the 11th time, unheralded Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, OK, claimed runner-up honors in his first STN effort with ASCS Gulf South champion Ray Allen Kulhanek of Conroe, TX, nipping California’s Randy Hannagan at the line to lock into his second career STN finale.
Swindell started the feature in the Big Game Tree Stands No. 1 from the pole position alongside another Gulf South shoe, Channin Tankersley, and gunned into the lead at the outset with fourth-starter Seth Bergman muscling into second before the caution flew after two laps for Terry McCarl, who spun to a stop before turn one with race-ending front end damage.
Fifth-starter Thomas, a POWRi Midget competitor with just a handful of winged Sprint Car starts to his credit, worked the middle of the track to pass both Tankersley and Bergman to move into second behind Swindell.
And after a lap six caution for Tankersley’s assisted turn four spin that sent Sean McClelland pitside, Thomas challenged Swindell for the point, actually edging into the lead at the line on the sixth lap.
Swindell proved too strong on the low side of the track though, racing back ahead and cruising the rest of the way with only a lap 13 caution for seventh-running Harli White, who clipped a tire and came to a stop in turn two.
While Swindell cruised to the stripe unabated, Thomas held down the runner-up position the rest of the way in a second Aaron Reutzel No. 87 machine.
Right behind Thomas, Kulhanek had his hands full with Randy Hannagan in the closing laps. With most of the field working the lower portion of the track, the San Jose, CA, native began working the middle of the track with some success past the midway point and worked past Christopher Bell, Dalton Davis and Seth Bergman to climb from seventh to fourth by the 19th circuit.
Hannagan reeled in Kulhanek with the pair then dicing side-by-side over the final three rounds before Kulhanek captured the critical third position by just inches at the line.
Hannagan settled for fourth from his 11th starting position with Bergman rounding out the top five.
Bell, last year’s STN runner-up, raced from 16th to sixth with 15th-starter Jason Sides, 18th-starter Mike Goodman, 17th-starter Brian Brown and Derek Hagar completing the top ten.
Kyle Bellm, Sean McClelland, Terry McCarl, Tankersley, Travis Rilat and Hagar topped heat race action for the 49-cars hand for the first of two STN qualifying nights with Harli White, Bergman, Hannagan, Swindell and Cody Gardner victorious in the qualifying races.
Hagar, Goodman and Sides won the “B” Mains.
Wayne Johnson went for a wild ride when he climbed a right rear tire six laps into the sixth and final heat race. Johnson, the 1997 STN winner, went to the hospital where x-rays on his leg proved negative.
The second half of the 26th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by COMP Cams field will take to I-30 Speedway’s ¼-mile clay oval on Friday night to finish setting the stage for Saturday night’s slate of STN Championship Feature events.
26th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Thursday Night Results:
First Heat (10 Laps): 1. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 2. 21x-Joey Moughan, 3. O5-Brad Loyet, 4. 17g-Cody Gardner, 5. 4am-Mike Goodman, 6. 95-Matt Covington, 7. 40dd-Caleb Griffith, 8. 1j-Nic Jenkins, 9. 13-Todd Fayard.
Second Heat (10 Laps): 1. 1-Sean McClelland, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 23x-Seth Bergman, 5. 12r-Nick Roberts, 6. 19-Klint Angelette, 7. 94-Jeff Swindell, 8. 4x-Shawn Petersen.
Third Heat (10 Laps): 1. 6T-Terry McCarl, 2. 3h-Brandon Hanks, 3. 31b-Christopher Bell, 4. 21t-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 38-Rick Pringle, 6. 22h-Randy Hannagan, 7. 4j-John James, 8. 93-Chris Sweeney.
Fourth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 0-Channin Tankersley, 2. 31g-Johnny Gardner, 3. 81a-Chris Morgan, 4. 17w-Harli White, 5. 81-Danny Wood, 6. 0m-Andy McElhannon, 7. 91-Justin Henderson, 8. 13TT-Triston Tidmore.
Fifth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 39c-Travis Rilat, 2. 14z-Zach Pringle, 3. 12d-Dalton Davis, 4. 87T-Tyler Thomas, 5. 5x-Tyson Hall, 6. 17h-Blake Hahn, 7. 21b-Brian Brown, 8. 69-Larry Howery.
Sixth Heat (10 Laps): 1. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 2. 21tx-Brandon Schure, 3. 1s-Sammy Swindell, 4. 6-Tim Shaffer, 5. 23-Howard Moore, 6. 57-Kyle Chady, 7. 3-A.G. Rains, 8. 77x-Wayne Johnson.
Qualifying Races – Top 14 in Combined Passing/Finishing Points to “A” Feature; Balance to “B” Mains
First Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 17w-Harli White, 2. 12d-Dalton Davis, 3. 0-Channin Tankersley, 4. 94-Jeff Swindell, 5. 21x-Joey Moughan, 6. O5-Brad Loyet, 7. 21tx-Brandon Schure, 8. 12r-Nick Roberts, 9. 1j-Nic Jenkins. DNS: 77x-Wayne Johnson.
Second Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 23x-Seth Bergman, 2. 95-Matt Covington, 3. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 4. 21b-Brian Brown, 5. 31b-Christopher Bell, 6. 41-Jason Johnson, 7. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 8. 23-Howard Moore, 9. 93-Chris Sweeney, 10. 4j-John James.
Third Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 22h-Randy Hannagan, 2. 6T-Terry McCarl, 3. 3h-Brandon Hanks, 4. 7s-Jason Sides, 5. 91-Justin Henderson, 6. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 7. 3-A.G. Rains, 8. 69-Larry Howery, 9. 38-Rick Pringle. DNS: 81a-Chris Morgan.
Fourth Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 1s-Sammy Swindell, 2. 87T-Tyler Thomas, 3. 4am-Mike Goodman, 4. 19-Klint Angelette, 5. 57-Kyle Chady, 6. 4x-Shawn Petersen, 7. 31g-Johnny Gardner, 8. 5x-Tyson Hall, 9. 39c-Travis Rilat, 10. 13-Todd Fayard.
Fifth Qualifier (10 Laps): 1. 17g-Cody Gardner, 2. 17h-Blake Hahn, 3. 14z-Zach Pringle, 4. 81-Danny Wood, 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 6. 6-Tim Shaffer, 7. 40dd-Caleb Griffith, 8. 0m-Andy McElhannon, 9. 13TT-Triston Tidmore.
“B” Features – Top 3 from Each Advance to “A” Feature
First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 2. 95-Matt Covington, 3. 81-Danny Wood, 4. 21tx-Brandon Schure, 5. 91-Justin Henderson, 6. 19-Klint Angelette, 7. 94-Jeff Swindell, 8. 40dd-Caleb Griffith, 9. 93-Chris Sweeney, 10. 0m-Andy McElhannon, 11. 38-Rick Pringle. DNS: 77x-Wayne Johnson.
Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 4am-Mike Goodman, 2. 21b-Brian Brown, 3. 21x-Joey Moughan, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 6. 57-Kyle Chady, 7. 13-Todd Fayard, 8. 1j-Nic Jenkins, 9. 12r-Nick Roberts, 10. 4x-Shawn Petersen, 11. 13TT-Triston Tidmore. DNS: 5x-Tyson Hall.
Third “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 7s-Jason Sides, 2. 6-Tim Shaffer, 3. O5-Brad Loyet, 4. 17h-Blake Hahn, 5. 69-Larry Howery, 6. 3-A.G. Rains, 7. 23-Howard Moore, 8. 4j-John James, 9. 81a-Chris Morgan, 10. 39c-Travis Rilat. DNS: 31g-Johnny Gardner.
“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. 1s-Sammy Swindell (1), 2. 87T-Tyler Thomas (5), 3. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek (6), 4. 22h-Randy Hannagan (11), 5. 23x-Seth Bergman (4), 6. 31b-Christopher Bell (14), 7. 7s-Jason Sides (15), 8. 4am-Mike Goodman (16), 9. 21b-Brian Brown (17), 10. 9jr-Derek Hagar (13), 11. 6-Tim Shaffer (20), 12. 95-Matt Covington (18), 13. 12d-Dalton Davis (10), 14. 3h-Brandon Hanks (12), 15. 0-Channin Tankersley (2), 16. 17w-Harli White (9), 17. 14z-Zach Pringle (8), 18. 6T-Terry McCarl (3), 19. 1-Sean McClelland (7). DNS: 17g-Cody Gardner.
Lap Leaders: Sammy Swindell 1-5, Tyler Thomas 6, Sammy Swindell 7-25.