By Lonnie Wheatley
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 26, 2022) – The time has finally come!
The annual pilgrimage to “The Natural State” is under way as I-30 Speedway’s 35th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires takes place this weekend atop the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval.
And the list of potential win suspects continues to grow for the $15,041-to-win event as the likes of past event winner Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 16-year-old phenom Ryan Timms, California sensation Justin Sanders and Canada’s Dylan Westbrook are among the latest to add their names to the mix.
Add in the fact that Thursday’s appetizer, the ASCS Mid-South $5,646-to-win 15th Annual Ralph Henson Tribute event, along with ideal weather conditions makes for a perfect weekend of Sprint Car racing.
Five time Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour champion Hafertepe, Jr., of Sunnyvale, TX, finally snared his first STN crown in 2020 after serving as bridesmaid on three previous occasions with runner-up finishes. Hafertepe, Jr., joins previous winners Blake Hahn, Tim Crawley and Wayne Johnson among those looking to add another STN triumph to the ledger.
Oklahoma City’s Timms has burst on to the Sprint Car scene in a big way in 2022 with nine Sprint Car wins along with a pair of Midget triumphs and raced to a runner-up finish in just his second World of Outlaws start one day after his 16th birthday in August.
A perennial frontrunner in California, Aromas, California’s Sanders joins forces with the Swindell Speedlab No. 39 for his STN debut. Sanders currently sits atop the Rod End Supply Winged 360 Sprint Car Power Rankings with 11 triumphs and raced his way into the Knoxville Nationals feature event in August in his debut aboard the No. 39 Sprint Car.
Westbrook, a Hills Racing teammate to Hafertepe, Jr., ranks among the nation’s top 360-ci Sprint Car racers as well with a pair of ASCS National Tour triumphs among his seven wins this season. The Scotland, Ontario racer picked up an ASCS National win at I-30 Speedway in 2021 and posted a top-five finish in the 2020 STN championship finale.
With the entry count already hovering about the 50 mark, more are expected over the next several days with the pre-entry deadline that includes a driver pit pass on Tuesday, September 27. The entry form is available at https://www.i-30speedway.com/downloads/get.aspx?i=760397.
Blake Hahn made it three STN wins in the past four years with a late move past Jordon Mallet last year, matching Steve Kinser’s three STN titles in the early years of the event while Hall of Famers Sammy Swindell and Gary Wright lead the way with five and four victories, respectively.
Other drivers with multiple STN wins include Paul McMahan and Tony Bruce, Jr., with single wins posted by the likes of Hafertepe, Jr., NASCAR star Christopher Bell, reigning World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet, Jason Meyers, Jason Johnson, Tim Montgomery, Jason Sides, Mike Ward, Tim Crawley, Wayne Johnson, Pete Butler, Terry Gray and John Gerloff.
The Pertinent Info:
The What: 35th 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: September 29 through October 1, 2022.
Thursday, September 29 – $5,646-to-win ASCS Mid-South sanctioned “15th Annual Ralph Henson Tribute
Friday, September 30 – 35th Annual Short Track preliminary that culminates with $1,500-to-win “Twin 20’s” with top two from each feature locking into the STN finale.
Saturday, October 1 – 35th Annual Short Track Nationals championship finale.
The Mufflers: Leave ’em at home, no mufflers required for this weekend.
The Format: Friday’s preliminary event will be contested under a derivative of the All Star Circuit of Champions format, with group qualifying establishing heat race lineups with an invert of four in each heat race. The Friday preliminary will conclude with “Twin 20’s”, a pair of $1,500-to-win 20-lap “A” Main events.
The top two from each of the “Twin 20’s” will be locked into Saturday night’s “Dash for Cash” and the championship main event.
Friday events points accumulated will be carried over to Saturday night, with another set of heats utilizing passing points added to the Friday total to set the championship feature lineups. The top two in combined points from Friday night and the Saturday heat races with join Friday’s four lock-ins in the Pack Building Materials “Dash for Cash”. The next eight in points will occupy STN championship feature positions 7-14 with the balance of the field in “B” and “C” Mains. Three will transfer from both “B” Mains to set the 20-car feature field. The 21st position is reserved for this year’s I-30 Speedway track champion if necessary.
The Feature Purse:
October 1, STN Finale: 1st – $15,041, 2nd – $7,500, 3rd – $5,000, 4th – $2,500, 5th – $2,000, 6th – $1,700, 7th – $1,600, 8th – $1,500, 9th – $1,450, 10th – $1,400, 11th – $1,350, 12th – $1,300, 13th – $1,200, 14th – $1,150, 15th – $1,100, 16th – $1,100, 17th- $1,100, 18th – $1,100, 19th – $1,100, 20th – $1,100.
September 30 STN Preliminary “Twin 20’s”: 1st – $1,500, 2nd – $750, 3rd – $650, 4th – $625, 5th – $600, 6th – $550, 7th – $525, 8th – $500, 9th – $450, 10th – $400, 11th – $350, 12th – $325, 13th – $300, 14th – $275, 15th – $250, 16th – $250, 17th – $250, 18th – $250, 19th – $250, 20th – $250.
The Past Winners:
2020–Sam Hafertepe, Jr.
2009-Tony Bruce, Jr.
2008-Tony Bruce, Jr.
The Tickets: Advance two-day tickets are $45.
Day of show prices are $20 on Friday and $30 on Saturday.
Children under 12 are admitted free on both nights.
To order tickets or for more information, check online at https://i-30speedway.com/short-track-nationals/ or call the track at 501-455-4567.
Pit passes are $40 on both Friday and Saturday. Driver pit pass for Friday and Saturday is included in the $100 entry fee if submitted by the deadline.
The Broadcast: If you can’t make it to the STN to catch all the breathtaking action in person, no need to fret as you can catch it all live online at www.floracing.com.
For more information regarding I-30 Speedway’s Short Track Nationals, check at www.i-30speedway.com or call the track at 501-455-4567.