Short Track Nationals preview

STN Kicks off Thursday -- Wright Ready to Defend Crown LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 26, 2005) -- A $15,000 winner's share with a minimum of $1,800 to all of Saturday's championship feature starters. That's the carrot that lures nearly...

STN Kicks off Thursday -- Wright Ready to Defend Crown

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 26, 2005) -- A $15,000 winner's share with a minimum of $1,800 to all of Saturday's championship feature starters. That's the carrot that lures nearly 100 of the nation's top drivers to Little Rock's I-30 Speedway for the 18th Annual Team Affiliated Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, which kicks off Thursday night and runs through Saturday night.

And those 100 or drivers are what draw fans from across the land to Little Rock, AR, at the end of each October.

Prominent among the current 86 entries, with more expected by race time tomorrow night, is four-time and defending Short Track Nationals champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX.

After scoring STN wins in 1995,1999 and 2003, Wright faced long odds in last year's edition. Wright clawed his way up from the 15th starting position then after early leaders Shane Stewart and Sammy Swindell each encountered late problems, Wright took quick advantage and collected an unprecedented fourth STN crown.

In search of a record third consecutive STN win, Wright enters this weekend's prestigious event in strong form. Wright just secured his second consecutive ASCS National championship with a sweep of the Devil's Bowl Speedway Winter Nationals last weekend. The weekend sweep ran Wright's 2005 feature win total to 18, tops amongst the current 86 STN entries.

In addition to Wright, other recent entries include ASCS Sooner Region champion Sean McClelland, NOSA runner-up Wade Nygaard, SOD Rookie of the Year Louie Carufel, South Dakota's Lyle Howey III, Memphis-area racers Ronny Howard and Bryce Vowan and Iowa's Robert Bell.

Other past winners joining Wright in this year's STN field include Wayne Johnson, Tim Crawley, Pete Butler and Mike Ward.

Just a few of the other top shoes expected to contend for STN bragging rights over the weekend include Daryn Pittman, Shane Stewart, Tim Montgomery, Brian Brown, Travis Rilat, Jason Johnson, Jerrod Hull, Jake Peters, Jesse Hockett and Darren Stewart.

Pertinent Short Track Nationals Information:

What: 18th Annual Team Affiliated Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.

Where: I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR).

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 27-29, 2005. $15,000 to win the STN finale on October 29, with $1,800 to start the STN championship feature. Rain date is November 3-5.

Past Winners: Gary Wright (2004, 2003, 1999 and 1995), Paul McMahan (2002), Jason Sides (2001), Mike Ward (2000), Tim Crawley (1998), Wayne Johnson (1997), Pete Butler (1996), Terry Gray (1994), John Gerloff (1993), Steve Kinser (1991, '89 and '88) and Sammy Swindell (1990). 1992 finale was rained out.

Entry Info: The pre-entry deadline of Thursday, October 20, has passed. Entries are still accepted until race day at $250. Entries received via mail that are postmarked October 20 or earlier will still be honored at the $150 pre-entry fee. Entry forms may be obtained at www.i-30speedway.com/specialevents.htm or by calling the track at 501-455-4567.

Current Entries: Seventeen different states are represented among the current 86 entries, including Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Past winners entered include Gary Wright, Wayne Johnson, Tim Crawley, Peter Butler and Mike Ward.

The field has combined for more than 260 feature wins in 2005, with 52 of the entries scoring at least one feature win. Among the current entries, the most prolific 2005 winners have been Gary Wright (18), Jesse Hockett (15), Jerrod Hull (14), Mike Ward, Brian Brown, Joey Montgomery and Sean Jones (11), and Travis Rilat, Tim Crawley and Tim Montgomery (10).

Entries by State:

Arkansas (19) -- Tim Crawley, Pete Butler, Marshall Skinner, Lewis Jenkins, Jr., A.G. Rains, Steven Tiner, Eric Sandage, Rick Pringle, Justin Sturch, Bryce Vowan, Josh Lofton, Joe Young, Scott Bolden, Cody Gardner, Josh Baker, Kenny Taylor, Andy Goin, Mark Huddleston, Adam Mason.

Illinois (2) -- Robbie Standridge, Jimmy Hurley.

Iowa (1) -- Robert Bell.

Kansas (2) -- Tony Bruce, Jr., Chris Morgan.

Louisiana (2) -- Jason Johnson, Stephen Chevallier.

Michigan (1) -- Louie Carufel.

Minnesota (1) -- Scott Winters.

Mississippi (9) -- Jan Howard, Dale Howard, Josh Howard, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Raymond Stull, Jim Bowden, Brad Bowden, Ronny Howard, Donny Howard.

Missouri (10) -- Brian Brown, Tim Montgomery, Joey Montgomery, Jesse Hockett, Jerrod Hull, Toby Brown, Eric Schrock, Hunter Schuerenberg, Jon Corbin, Tim Moss.

Nebraska (1) -- Don Droud, Jr.

New Mexico (1) -- Scott Box.

North Dakota (2) -- Chris Shirek, Wade Nygaard.

Oklahoma (7) -- Daryn Pittman, Wayne Johnson, Shane Stewart, Darren Stewart, Sean McClelland, Nick Smith, Cody Branchcomb.

Pennsylvania (1) -- Bill Brian, Jr.

South Dakota (6) -- Jake Peters, Clint Garner, Eric Lutz, Dusty Ballenger, Mitch Runge, Lyle Howey III.

Tennessee (6) -- Mike Ward, Kevin Swindell, Ernie Ainsworth, Chad Jones, Garry Bell, Bennie Chesteen.

Texas (13) -- Gary Wright, Travis Rilat, Kevin Ramey, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Preston Peebles II, Jerry Bell, Claud Estes, Skip Wilson, Sean Jones, Brad Welborn, Kent Lewis, Jr., Shawn Sander, John Carney, Jr.

TBA (2) -- Drivers yet to be determined for No. 4am and No. 42 entries.Format: A version of the Sprint Bandits popular format of heats and qualifying races will be in place for all three nights of competition. Each night, Heat Races will be aligned according to the pre-race draw, with the passing points system in effect.

Each night, the top 40 in passing points from Heat Race competition will transfer directly into four, fully inverted Qualifying Races. The balance of the field will make up four Last Chance races, lined straight-up according to Heat Race passing points, with the top four finishers of each Last Chance race transferring to the tail of the respective Qualifying Races. Passing points only will be awarded in Last Chance races, with no finishing position points awarded.

With passing points in effect for the Qualifying Races as well, the Thursday and Friday preliminary features will be comprised of the top twenty in combined points from Heats, Qualifiers and Last Chance Races, with the top three feature finishers locked into Saturday's main event.

With six cars locked into Saturday's $15,000-to-win, $1,800-to-start main event, the top twelve drivers in combined passing points from Saturday's Heats, Qualifiers and Last Chance Races will fill positions seven through eighteen. The final two slots of the STN finale will be awarded to the two remaining drivers that have accumulated the most points through Heat, Qualifying and Last Chance racing action over the three nights of racing.

Drivers must compete in either Thursday's prelim or Friday's prelim to be eligible for passing points on Saturday. Drivers that show up for Saturday only will start tailback in their Heat Race and receive no passing points all night.

Another interesting twist to this year's Short Track Nationals will be the alignment of Saturday night's "Pack's Dash for Cash", which will include the top three finishers from both Thursday and Friday night. The Dash will be aligned by a pill draw conducted in "Cheater's Day" fashion. Thursday's winning driver will draw the first pill then give that pill to the driver of his choice. Friday's winner will draw the second pill and give that pill to one of the remaining drivers, and so on until the lineup is determined.

The finishing order of Saturday's "Pack's Dash for Cash" will then determine the starting lineup for the front three rows of the $15,000-to-win finale.

Trade Show: This year's rendition of the Short Track Nationals will include the inaugural Short Track Nationals Trade Show & Midway. Fans, drivers & crews will have the opportunity to visit vendor displays, which will be open from noon on Thursday, October 27, and from 9 a.m. on October 28-29.

Tickets: Advance tickets on sale until Wednesday, October 26, no advance sales after that. Advance tickets for Thursday (Oct. 27) and Friday (Oct. 28) are $10 per night. Advance tickets for Saturday (Oct. 29) are $20. Day of show prices are $12 on Thursday and Friday, and $25 on Saturday.Children's tickets are not sold in advance. Five and under are free, with ages 6-12 (accompanied by adult) $3 on Thursday and Friday and just $5 on Saturday.

STN on the Web: American Dirt Network will carry all three nights of racing action live at www.americandirtnetwork.com/. Coverage begins each night at 8:30 p.m. EDT and 7:30 p.m. CDT.

For more information regarding the 18th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, contact I-30 Speedway at 501-455-4567.

-lw-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Kevin Swindell , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Preston Peebles , Brian Brown , Cody Branchcomb , Daryn Pittman , Jason Sides , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Travis Rilat , Jesse Hockett , Nick Smith , Wayne Johnson , Eric Sandage , Hunter Schuerenberg , Kevin Ramey , Tim Crawley , Chris Morgan , Jason Johnson , Sean McClelland