I-30 Short Track Nationals preview

Stout Short Track Nationals Field Ready to Rumble LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 27, 2004) - The time is almost upon us, as approximately 100 cars from throughout the nation will converge upon Little Rock's I-30 Speedway to vie for...

Stout Short Track Nationals Field Ready to Rumble

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 27, 2004) - The time is almost upon us, as approximately 100 cars from throughout the nation will converge upon Little Rock's I-30 Speedway to vie for the $15,000 winner's share in the 17th Annual Team Affiliated Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, contested over three nights this Thursday through Saturday.

The official pre-entry count reached 100 after another handful of entries trickled in early this week, including 1997 STN winner Wayne Johnson, 2003 National 360 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and New Jersey's Scott Pursell among others.

These hitters join previous winners already entered including three-time and defending race winner Gary Wright, Sammy Swindell, Terry Gray, Pete Butler, Tim Crawley and Mike Ward.

A number of other top talents will also bid for a first STN crown, including Shane and Darren Stewart, Floridians Kenny Adams and Danny Martin, Jr., Oregon's Roger Crockett, Ohio's Chad Kemenah and Greg Wilson, Indiana's Kelly Kinser, Louisiana's Jason Johnson, Oregon's Roger Crockett, Texans Travis Rilat and Kevin Ramey, Show-Me-Staters Brian Brown, Toby Brown and Tim and Joey Montgomery, Nebraska's Billy Alley, Pennsylvania's Trevor Lewis, Memphis area gun Eddie Gallagher and Aussie Kerry Madsen.

Throw in another seventy or so entries, including a homecoming Ricky Logan and many others with impressive on-track dockets as well, and this year's edition of the Short Track Nationals shapes up as an event to top all events.

Since the STN became the nation's premier event in 1993, Wright, Ward and Crawley have been the most successful, each making ten STN feature starts. Close behind with nine starts apiece are Butler, Wayne Johnson and Garry Lee Maier, who is questionable for this weekend's action.

While Wright is the only driver to top the event on more than one occasion since 1993, he also leads the way in top-fives and top-tens, with seven top-fives and top-ten finishes in all ten STN starts. Ward, Butler and Gray have each cracked the top-five on four occasions, while Butler and Gray follow Wright in the top-ten category with seven top-tens apiece.

Ninety-one different drivers have started at least one STN finale since 1993, with a handful making their first start last year. Missouri's Jerrod Hull fared the best of the newbies last year, charging all the way from 15th to finish fourth aboard Rich DeReu's mount, in which he returns this year. Cowtown king Claud Estes advanced impressively from 20th to nine, with Toby Brown racing from 18th to twelfth. Stenhouse and California transplant Steven Tiner, Jr., were both early casualties in their first STN main event starts last year.

In total, 36 of the currently entered drivers have started at least one STN Saturday night feature since 1993, with the rest of the field ready to challenge for a first time slot in Saturday's prestigious starting grid.

The entire field is eligible to battle through both nights of qualifying action on Thursday and Friday, which will feature the Sprint Bandits format of heats and qualifying races. The top two finishers from each night will be locked into Saturday night's Pack's Dash for Cash, the 2003 running of which ranks amongst the most intensely-contested Dashes in racing history. Key players in that Dash were Shane Stewart and Tim Crawley, the same pair that renewed their rivalry in ASCS Speedweek action earlier this year atop I-30 Speedway's quarter-mile clay oval. The pair will have one last opportunity to renew acquaintances this weekend before Stewart discards his true Outlaw schedule of the past couple of years for the World of Outlaws slate in 2005.

Saturday night, the balance of the field will vie for the remaining 16 starting slots in the $15,000-to-win, $1,700-to-start STN finale through a series of heat races, "C" Features and "B" Features.

Advance tickets for the 17th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires are on sale until Wednesday, October 27, for just $10 on Thursday and Friday night, and $20 for Saturday night's finale. After Wednesday passes by, Thursday and Friday tickets are $12 per night, with Saturday night tickets for $25. Children will be admitted for just $2 for Thursday and Friday's qualifiers and only $4 on Saturday.

All three nights of racing action are slated to get underway at 7:00 p.m.

I-30 Speedway is located just southwest of Little Rock off I-30 Exit 126. Additional information is available at www.i-30speedway.com or by calling the track at 501-455-4567.

Forty-five of the current 100 entries have combined for more than 260 feature victories throughout the country in 2004.

-lw-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Sammy Swindell , Brian Brown , Kerry Madsen , Shane Stewart , Travis Rilat , Kenny Adams , Greg Wil , Wayne Johnson , Kevin Ramey , Tim Crawley , Chad Kemenah , Roger Crockett , Jason Johnson