Little Rock, Ark. – Sammy Swindell continues to dole out lessons to the younger generation of racers as he charged to an unprecedented fifth Short Track Nationals victory in Saturday night’s 40-lap event finale atop the high-banked, ¼-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval.
The Memphis area racer surged into the lead on the opening lap from his second row starting position and led all the way aboard the Rains Motorsports No. 3s JR1-chassi to capture the $15,000 winner’s take in the 30th edition of the COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.
Swindell’s second event win in a row was no cakewalk though, as he had to run a flawless race over the latter half of the race to keep Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Aaron Reutzel at bay less than a handful of car lengths back.
“We had that caution and A.G. (Rains) signaled for me to go up high and we were definitely a lot better up there,” Swindell explained.
While Clute, TX shoe Aaron Reutzel earned the pole position in the feature aboard the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution No. 87 Triple-X by beating Tim Crawley to the line in the Pack Building Materials Dash for Cash, it was fourth-starting Swindell splitting the front duo down the backstretch on the opening circuit to take command.
With Swindell leading the way, Hafertepe, Jr., snuck by Reutzel for second moments before a caution flew for Wayne Johnson’s stalled mount just five laps into the race.
Back under way, Swindell stretched out a half straightaway lead as he sliced through traffic until a final caution flew with just a dozen laps remaining. With Hafertepe, Jr., and Reutzel back on his tailtank, Swindell shifted to the top shelf and was perfect over the final rounds to preserve the win.
In hot pursuit, Hafertepe, Jr., and Reutzel were soon joined by a surging Bill Balog in the battle for second. Reutzel slid Hafertepe, Jr., for second coming to the white flag only to have the current Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour points leader cross back under to maintain the position as Balog slipped by for third.
Hafertepe, Jr., prevailed on the final lap to take runner-up honors aboard the Towline Variety/Lonestar Speedway No. 15h Cool-chassis while Reutzel rallied back around Balog to put his Triple-X chassis in third.
“North Pole Nightmare” Balog settled for fourth aboard Ronnie Pitts’ No. 1x with Liberal, KS, native Tony Bruce, Jr., rounding out the top five aboard the Smith Racing/Tiger Towing No. 86.
After starting on the front row outside, Tim Crawley crossed the stripe sixth while Derek Hagar climbed a handful of positions to capture seventh. Hailing from Lincoln, NE, by way of Liberal, KS, Jason Martin was eighth while Tennessee’s Morgan Turpen became the first female to post a top-ten STN championship feature by crossing the stripe in ninth. An STN rookie along with Balog, Canadian Skylar Gee completed the top ten.
Dale Howard, Kyle Bellm, Jeff Swindell, Seth Bergman, Cody Gardner and Morgan Turpen topped the six STN SaturdayNight Showdowns. Brad Bowden and Scott Bogucki earned “C” Main wins with Steven Tiner and Wayne Johnson posting “B” Main wins. Willie Croft held the lead in the first “B” Main until mechanical woes stopped him short while Marshall Skinner made hard contact with the infield tires along the frontstretch while racing in a transfer position as well.
Mississippi’s Jan Howard was the winner of the Second Annual “Red Shirt Dash” in honor of Lanny Edwards for C Main non-transfers.
A total of 74 competitors took part in the 30th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires at I-30 Speedway with nearly $108,000 in prize money awarded over the course of the weekend.
-Story and photo by Lonnie Wheatley
1. 3s-Sammy Swindell (4) [$15,000], 2. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (3) [$8,000], 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel (1) [$5,000], 4. 1x-Bill Balog (6) [$4,000], 5. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr. (5) [$3,750], 6. 88-Tim Crawley (2) [$3,500], 7. 9jr-Derek Hagar (12) [$3,400], 8. 36-Jason Martin (7) [$3,200], 9. 10m-Morgan Turpen (10) [$3,100], 10. 99-Skylar Gee (14) [$3,000], 11. 88r-Cody Gardner (8) [$2,600], 12. 23-Seth Bergman (13) [$2,400], 13. 8-Alex Sewell (17) [$2,300], 14. 7m-Chance Morton (20) [$2,200], 15. 94x-Steven Tiner (15) [$2,100], 16. 23b-Brian Bell (18) [$2,000], 17. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek (11) [$2,000], 18. 47-Dale Howard (9) [$2,000], 19. 40-Howard Moore (19) [$2,000], 20. 2c-Wayne Johnson (16) [$2,000]