Hahn Hustles to Third Career Short Track Nationals Triumph at I-30 Speedway

Blake Hahn. (Lonnie Wheatley photo)

From Lonnie Wheatley

LITTLE ROCK, AR (October 23, 2021) – The tone was set with Friday night’s “Twin 20’s” and Saturday delivered an absolute race for the ages.

And when the final checkered flag flew upon I-30 Speedway’s 34th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, it was Sapulpa, Oklahoma’s Blake Hahn putting an exclamation point on his first Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour championship by notching his third career STN triumph.

Following several lead changes along the way, Hahn ultimately battled past Jordon Mallett on the 39th round to take the $10,041 winner’s share in the 41-lap STN championship feature event.

“I know Jordon is so good running the bottom that I had to keep working the top and it came in for me,” Hahn explained after the triumph aboard the Drive WFX No. 52 Sprint Car.

Hahn crossed the stripe ahead of Sam Hafertepe, Jr., who fell one position short of going back-to-back in the Short Track Nationals while Mallett settled for the show position.

Hahn gridded the feature fourth after Cody Gardner earned the pole position for the feature by topping the Pack Building Materials “Dash for Cash”. Gardner gunned into to the early lead and paced the opening seven rounds ahead of Mallett, Hahn and Hafertepe, Jr.

But when Gardner jumped the cushion exiting turn four on the eighth round, Mallett pounced for the lead.

Traffic came into play within a dozen laps with Hahn disposing of Gardner for second on the 11th round and then racing past Mallett for the point the next time around. Mallett battled right back to recapture the lead on the 16th round and paced the next 23 rounds as Hahn, Hafertepe, Jr., and Dylan Westbrook continually traded positions right behind the leader.

Westbrook’s strong run was sidelined by a cut tire after 34 laps that precipitated the race’s first of just two cautions.

While trying to fend off Hafertepe, Jr., in the process, Hahn went to work on Mallett and edged into the lead only to have it waved off when Garet Williamson spun in turn one with 36 laps in the books.

Set for a five-lap dash to the stripe, Mallett moved to the topside to try to slow Hahn’s advances but to no avail as Hahn was able to slip by with just three laps to go. He brought Hafertepe, Jr., with him and was able to hold on to the stripe.

J.J. Hickle followed the lead trio of Hahn, Hafertepe, Jr., and Mallett across the stripe in fourth with Derek Hagar rounding out the top five.

Matt Covington was sixth with Gardner, Eric Baldaccini, Miles Paulus and Eric Lutz completing the top ten.

In addition to Hickle, Baldaccini, Paulus and Lutz, others making the cut for their first STN championship feature included Jason Barney, Slater Helt, Justin Zimmerman and Dustin Gates. At the other end of the spectrum, Tim Crawley made it into an STN record 24th championship feature before making an early exit.

Marshall Skinner, Helt, Crawley, Howard Moore, Williamson and Gardner topped heat race action before Chase Porter and Gary Floyd won “C” Mains and Gates and Crawley topped “B” Mains.

After Michigan’s Ryan Ruhl turned a pirouette and turned over exiting turn four on the final lap of the fifth heat, Landon Crawley went for a wild ride off the turn on embankment in the sixth heat. There were no injuries.

Sixty-three drivers from 13 different states as well as Canada and Australia took part in the 34th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.

Short Track Nationals
Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour presented by MAVtv
I-30 Speedway
Little Rock, Arkansas
Saturday, October 23, 2021

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 26-Marshall Skinner[1]
2. 19-Jason Long[2]
3. 21M-Spencer Meredith[4]
4. 12-Tony Bruce Jr[5]
5. 42P-Preston Perlmutter[6]
6. X-Charlie Louden[9]
7. 21R-Gunner Ramey[8]
8. 0V-Mike Vaculik[3]
9. 13-Chase Howard[10]
10. 27J-Joseph Poe Jr[7]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 22S-Slater Helt[4]
2. 98P-Miles Paulus[3]
3. 44M-Chris Martin[5]
4. 13M-Chance McCrary[1]
5. 24-Jeffrey West Jr[7]
6. 27W-Austin Wood[6]
7. 21B-Brandon Hinkle[8]
8. 10L-Landon Britt[9]
9. 44H-Ronny Howard[2]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 0C-Tim Crawley[2]
2. 52-Blake Hahn[4]
3. 95-Matt Covington[3]
4. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[1]
5. 91X-Michael Day[5]
6. 2C-Chase Porter[8]
7. 6-Dustin Gates[9]
8. 12M-Greg Merritt[6]
9. 92-Cody Hays[7]

Heat Race #4 (8 Laps)
1. 3-Howard Moore[1]
2. 1S-Joey Schmidt[3]
3. 74-Tucker Boulton[2]
4. 28A-Keith Ainsworth[4]
5. 91A-Ernie Ainsworth[7]
6. 88-Travis Reber[5]
7. 3G-Paxton Gregory[6]
8. 8X-Tony Higgins[8]
9. 3B-Chris Banja[9]

Heat Race #5 (8 Laps)
1. 24W-Garet Williamson[1]
2. 5L-Eric Lutz[6]
3. 72P-Gary Floyd[2]
4. 28-Scott Bogucki[9]
5. 87-Jason Barney[8]
6. 69-Jamey Mooney[3]
7. 38-Rick Pringle[7]
8. 3J-Junior Jenkins[5]
9. 16W-Ryan Ruhl[4]

Heat Race #6 (8 Laps)
1. G6-Cody Gardner[4]
2. 17B-Ryan Bickett[1]
3. 0B-Eric Baldaccini[8]
4. 1Z-Justin Zimmerman[7]
5. 47X-Dylan Westbrook[9]
6. 30-Joseph Miller[6]
7. 44-Jason Howell[5]
8. 0Z-Landon Crawley[3]
9. 23P-Hunter Poe[2]

Dash #1 (6 Laps)
1. G6-Cody Gardner[1]
2. 14-Jordon Mallett[2]
3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]
4. 52-Blake Hahn[6]
5. 9JR-Derek Hagar[5]
6. 63-JJ Hickle[3]

C-Main (10 Laps)
1. 2C-Chase Porter[2]
2. 13M-Chance McCrary[1]
3. 3G-Paxton Gregory[3]
4. 88-Travis Reber[6]
5. 12M-Greg Merritt[5]
6. 92-Cody Hays[8]
7. 8X-Tony Higgins[10]
8. 28A-Keith Ainsworth[4]
9. 69-Jamey Mooney[7]
10. 27J-Joseph Poe Jr[11]
11. 0V-Mike Vaculik[9]

C-Main 2 (10 Laps)
1. 72P-Gary Floyd[1]
2. 44-Jason Howell[4]
3. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[3]
4. 38-Rick Pringle[6]
5. 3B-Chris Banja[9]
6. 44H-Ronny Howard[10]
7. 19-Jason Long[2]
8. 3J-Junior Jenkins[7]
9. 16W-Ryan Ruhl[5]
10. 23P-Hunter Poe[8]

B-Main (12 Laps)
1. 6-Dustin Gates[2]
2. 24W-Garet Williamson[3]
3. 1Z-Justin Zimmerman[1]
4. 74-Tucker Boulton[5]
5. 28-Scott Bogucki[10]
6. 21R-Gunner Ramey[6]
7. 91X-Michael Day[7]
8. 17B-Ryan Bickett[4]
9. 24-Jeffrey West Jr[9]
10. 42P-Preston Perlmutter[8]
11. 2C-Chase Porter[13]
12. 3G-Paxton Gregory[15]
13. 13-Chase Howard[12]
14. 21M-Spencer Meredith[11]
15. 13M-Chance McCrary[14]

B-Main 2 (12 Laps)
1. 0C-Tim Crawley[1]
2. 26-Marshall Skinner[2]
3. 87-Jason Barney[3]
4. 10L-Landon Britt[8]
5. 12-Tony Bruce Jr[4]
6. X-Charlie Louden[9]
7. 91A-Ernie Ainsworth[7]
8. 1S-Joey Schmidt[5]
9. 30-Joseph Miller[6]
10. 44-Jason Howell[14]
11. 27W-Austin Wood[10]
12. 21K-Kevin Hinkle[15]
13. 72P-Gary Floyd[13]
14. 21B-Brandon Hinkle[11]
15. 0Z-Landon Crawley[12]

A-Main (41 Laps)
1. 52-Blake Hahn[4]
2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[3]
3. 14-Jordon Mallett[2]
4. 63-JJ Hickle[6]
5. 9JR-Derek Hagar[5]
6. 95-Matt Covington[12]
7. G6-Cody Gardner[1]
8. 0B-Eric Baldaccini[8]
9. 98P-Miles Paulus[11]
10. 5L-Eric Lutz[10]
11. 87-Jason Barney[20]
12. 24W-Garet Williamson[17]
13. 47X-Dylan Westbrook[7]
14. 44M-Chris Martin[14]
15. 3-Howard Moore[13]
16. 22S-Slater Helt[9]
17. 1Z-Justin Zimmerman[19]
18. 6-Dustin Gates[15]
19. 0C-Tim Crawley[16]
20. 26-Marshall Skinner[18]