Heavy Hitters Among Early Entries for 16th Annual Short Track Nationals Lonnie Wheatley - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 6, 2003) - A number of the nation's top drivers, including Gary Wright, Shane Stewart and current O'Reilly ASCS National Tour ...
Heavy Hitters Among Early Entries for 16th Annual Short Track Nationals
Lonnie Wheatley - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 6, 2003) - A number of the nation's top drivers, including Gary Wright, Shane Stewart and current O'Reilly ASCS National Tour point leader Travis Rilat are among the early entries for the upcoming 16th Annual Team Affiliated "Short Track Nationals" presented by Hoosier Tires. The much anticipated annual event, which will take place at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway on Thursday through Saturday, October 23-25, offers $15,000 to the winner with $1,600 just to start the Saturday night finale.
Rilat and Wright were recently voted the nation's top two drivers in the National 360 Sprint Car Poll. Hailing from Forney, TX, Rilat, currently holding a 32 point lead over Wright in the ASCS National points chase with just two nights of racing remaining, has picked up a handful of victories in ASCS National Tour action along with an ASCS non-winged Sooner Region triumph. Rilat also scored a $10,000 victory by topping the Kele World Challenge during the Knoxville Nationals.
Wright, with two previous Short Track Nationals titles to his credit, has been among the nation's most prolific winners this season, piling up 19 feature victories. Fourteen of the Hooks, TX, hotshoe's triumphs have come in ASCS National competition, including one at I-30 Speedway, along with three ASCS Gulf South Region wins, an East Bay Winter Nationals prelim victory and a weekly score at I-30.
Shane Stewart, from Bixby, OK, has been among the nation's hottest drivers in recent months. Splitting his time between ASCS, the World of Outlaws and All Stars, Stewart has racked up eight ASCS National triumphs, including a victory in the series' most recent visit to I-30 Speedway. Stewart was also crowned ASCS Speedweek champion earlier in the season, as well as Southern Iowa Speedweek Mr. Sprint Car.
Other top shoes among the early entries include Tim and Joey Montgomery, both of Fredericktown, MO. Tim Montgomery, the perennial track champion at St. Francois County Speedway in Farmington, MO, has once again reached double digits in the win column.
Joining Wright on the list of past Short Track Nationals winners on the pre-entry list is Pete Butler of Mabelvale, AR, who topped the 1996 edition of the event. Butler recently wrapped up the 2003 I-30 Speedway championship.
Iowa hotshoe Josh Higday, who finished third in Knoxville Raceway 360 Sprint Car points, is slated to be aboard Brian Ridge's #83 at the 16th Annual Short Track Nationals. Other Knoxville Raceway regulars that have already entered the Short Track Nationals include Clint Garner and Larry Ball, Jr.
The Memphis area is well-represented in the early entries, including the Howard Brothers (Jan, Dale and Josh), Garry and Brian Bell, Raymond Stull, Corey Bailey, Kenny Coke, Greg Merritt and Jeff Leach.
Liberal, KS, hotshoe Jason Martin, who has posted ASCS Sooner and Rocky Mountain Regional victories over the past two seasons, is set to make the trek to Little Rock along with fellow Kansas J.D. Johnson, as are occasional ASCS competitors and Cowtown Speedway (Ft. Worth) regulars Claud Estes and Skip Wilson.
Qualifying events for the Saturday, October 25, $15,000-to-win Short Track Nationals finale will take place with half the entrants competing on Thursday night and the other half on Friday night. Passing points will be used to determine feature lineups. The top two finishers from each qualifying feature will be locked in for Saturday's "Pack's Dash for Cash", which will determine their feature starting position.
ASCS rules will be in effect, with mufflers mandatory (Schoenfeld 112535-no gutting). The weight rule of 1,300 pounds without the driver will be enforced, and the Hoosier medium/hard spec tire must be used on the right and left rear.