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Short Track Nationals Entries Already Rolling In!

[i Lonnie Wheatley, LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 24, 2009)]

From New York to California and numerous points in between, entries from the likes of Stewart, Hannagan, Blaney, Bacon, Boston, Becker, Zemken, Hafertepe and more are already rolling in.

And for good reason, as I-30 Speedway’s annual Short Track Nationals is just around the corner.

Solidly established as the nation’s most intense Sprint Car racing event, the 22nd Annual O’Reilly Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires atop the high-banked, ¼-mile Little Rock, AR, clay oval is just a few short weeks away.

A pivotal stop on the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters trail, the $15,000-to-win Short Track Nationals unfolds on October 29-31. And, to commemorate the 22nd running of the event, each of the October 31 STN championship feature event starters are assured a minimum of $2,200.

The winner could potentially take away as much as $20,000, as a front row starter will have the opportunity to take the COMP Cams Gambler’s Challenge. Taking the Challenge and then ultimately winning from either fourth, sixth, eighth or tenth would net the $5,000 bonus.

Among the early batch of entries is current Lucas Oil Sprint Car title contender Shane Stewart, who will be out to capture his first STN crown after narrowly missing out on at least a couple of previous occasions.

The Oklahoma native got his entry in at virtually the same time as San Jose, CA, shoe Randy Hannagan, a pair that rubbed unfriendly wheels just a short time ago at Knoxville.

Hannagan is one of an early trio of STN Rookie contenders that also includes current California Civil War Sprint Car points leader Sean Becker and New York’s Jessica Zemken, who ranks as the only female racer to ever win an ASCS feature event after posting a Patriot triumph at Brockville, Ontario, in June of 2007. Zemken will be teamed with Ohio’s Dale Blaney, who posted a top-ten run in last year’s edition of the Short Track Nationals.

While Hannagan, Becker and Zemken are among this year’s event rookie crop, last year’s STN Rookie of the Year, Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, OK, is also among the early entries.

Some other early entries include Nebraska’s Mike Boston, who dazzled the capacity crowd last year with an eleventh place run in his second STN try, Texas ace Sam Hafertepe, Jr., West Memphis contender A.G. Rains and Missouri’s Curtis Evans.

The popular Short Track Nationals format remains intact, with the blockbuster field split into Thursday and Friday’s qualifying action. The top three finishers from the Thursday and Friday preliminary features will be locked into Saturday night’s Odus Pack Building Materials Dash for Cash, which will determine the alignment of the front three rows of the Short Track Nationals championship feature.

The balance of the field will then battle through a full card of heats, last chance races and qualifying races on Saturday night to fill out the $15,000-to-win, 20-car STN championship main event.

More than $100,000 in cash will be doled out over the course of three-night event.

Tony Bruce, Jr., of Liberal, KS, reigns as the defending Short Track Nationals champion after besting last year’s field of 95 competitors to become the 15th different winner of the prestigious event.

Bruce joined a lofty list of Short Track Nationals champions, which includes Gary Wright, the only driver to win the STN on more than one occasion since the event became the nation’s premier showcase in 1993. Wright scored his first STN victory in 1995, then followed up with a second win in 1999. Wright extended his total of STN triumphs to four with back-to-back victory drives in 2003 and 2004.

Other past winners include Jason Meyers (2007), Jason Johnson (2006), Tim Montgomery (2005), Paul McMahan (2002), Jason Sides (2001), Mike Ward (2000), Tim Crawley (1998), Wayne Johnson (1997), Pete Butler (1996), Terry Gray (1994) and John Gerloff (1993).

Steve Kinser (1988, ’89 and ’91) and Sammy Swindell (1990) claimed early renditions of the Short Track Nationals before the 1992 finale was rained out.

Drivers planning on competing in the 22nd Annual O’Reilly Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires are encouraged to submit their entries as soon as possible. Entries postmarked by October 17 are $150, with entries submitted after that $250. Entry forms are available at or by calling the track at 501-455-4567.

Pertinent Short Track Nationals Information:

What: 22nd Annual O’Reilly Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.

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).

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 29-31, 2009. $15,000 to win the STN finale on October 31, with $2,200 to start the STN championship feature. Race time is 7:30 p.m. each night. Rain date is November 5-7. Test ‘N Tune session on Wednesday night, October 28.

Past Winners: Tony Bruce, Jr. (2008), Jason Meyers (2007), Jason Johnson (2006), Tim Montgomery (2005), 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.

The Series: The premier stop on the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters trail, Jason Johnson currently holds a 26 point edge over Shane Stewart in the $60,000 championship chase with Saturday’s (September 26) event at Lucas Oil Speedway and the Devil’s Bowl Winter Nationals (October 16-17) still on the slate before the Short Track Nationals. The Lucas Oil Sprint Cars will then finish off the season with USA Raceway’s 42nd Annual Western World Championships presented by Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, AZ, on November 19-21.

Current top 20 in Lucas Oil Sprint Car points: 1. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 1,864, 2. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 1,838, 3. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 1,800, 4. Travis Rilat (Forney, TX) 1,725, 5. Tim Crawley (Benton, AR) 1,699, 6. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 1,697, 7. Paul McMahan (Hendersonville, TN) 1,678, 8. Danny Wood (Norman, OK) 1,618, 9. Jack Dover (Springfield, NE) 1,617, 10. Jesse Hockett (Warsaw, MO) 1,561, 11. Sean McClelland (Tulsa, OK) 1,424, 12. Gary Taylor (Snohomish, WA) 1,321, 13. Kenneth Walker (Sapulpa, OK) 1,280, 14. Chad Corken (Highlands Ranch, CO) 1,205, 15. Darren Long (Elida, OH) 1,193, 16. Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) 1,172, 17. Gavin Punch (Collinsville, OK) 1,119, 18. Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) 907, 19. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 882, 20. Nick Smith (Broken Arrow, OK) 870.

The Format: A version of the popular Sprint Bandits 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 2009 passing points system in effect.

Approximately half of the STN entrants will battle through Thursday’s qualifying program, with the other half racing through Friday night’s qualifying program. Those not locked in after the first two nights (top three from each night) will race through a full card of Heats, Last Chance Races and Qualifying Races on Saturday night to fill out the October 31 STN championship finale.

With six cars locked into Saturday’s $15,000-to-win, $2,200-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, Last Chance and Feature racing action over their qualifying night and Saturday night.

Drivers must compete in either Thursday’s prelim or Friday’s prelim to be eligible for passing points on Saturday.

Saturday’s Odus Pack Building Materials Dash for Cash 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 COMP Cams Gambler’s Challenge: The COMP Cams Gambler’s Challenge offers the pole sitter of the STN championship feature event the opportunity to pull a playing card that will grant a new starting position for the 40-lap finale. Upon accepting the Gambler’s Challenge, the driver will draw the fourth, sixth, eighth or tenth starting position. If the driver can win from the starting position drawn, a $5,000 bonus will push the overall winner’s take to $20,000.

If the pole sitter declines to draw a card, the outside front row starter will be presented with the same COMP Cams Gambler’s Challenge.

The driver that takes the COMP Cams Gambler’s Challenge is assured an extra $1,000 regardless of finishing position.

The Trade Show & Midway: This year’s rendition of the Short Track Nationals will also include the Fifth Annual Short Track Nationals Trade Show & Midway. Fans, drivers & crews will have the opportunity to visit vendor displays, which opens at noon on Thursday and then at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The deadline for guaranteed vendor space is Monday, October 26.

The Tickets: Advance tickets are on sale through Wednesday, October 28, no advance sales after that. Tickets ordered in advance are just $45 for all three nights. Day of show prices are $15 on Thursday and Friday and $25 on Saturday. To order tickets in advance or for more information, call the track at 501-455-4567 or e-mail orders to Children’s tickets will be available at the event for just $2 on both Thursday and Friday and then $5 on Saturday. There is a $1 per ticket surcharge for orders placed via credit/debit cards. Pit passes are $30 on both Thursday and Friday and $35 on Saturday.

For more information regarding the 22nd Annual O’Reilly Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires, contact I-30 Speedway at 501-455-4567.