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Old October 9th, 2006, 02:51 AM   #1
pitprincess
 
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Early Entries Filter in for Short Track Nationals

Early Entries Filter in for Short Track Nationals

by Lonnie Wheatley
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- With the prestigious running of the annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires just three weeks away, entries are beginning to flow into I-30 Speedway's track office with some of Sprint Car racing's top stars among the early entries.

Entries from Florida to California have already been received for the 19th edition of the Short Track Nationals, which will take place atop I-30 Speedway's high-banked, quarter-mile clay oval on October 26-28, with the Saturday night finale offering up the lucrative winner's share of $15,000. The Saturday night, October 28, finale pays $1,900 to each starter.

Among the early entries are Knoxville Raceway 410-ci championship contender Brian Brown, O'Reilly ASCoT contenders Jason Johnson, Jesse Hockett and Nick Smith, NCRA kingpin Garry Lee Maier and Florida hotshoe Danny Martin, Jr.

Vying for the Knoxville Raceway crown this weekend, Grain Valley, MO, racer Brian Brown has piled up 14 feature wins this year in a wide variety of competition.

Louisiana's Johnson has climbed to second in ASCS National points on the strength of eight wins in National competition. Overall, Johnson has racked up 20 total wins in 2006 including 16 in ASCS competition and two in Australia.

Missouri's Hockett and Oklahoma's Smith have engaged in a spirited duel for ASCS National Rookie of the Year honors, currently ranked third and fourth in points, respectively. Hockett has one ASCS National win among his seven feature wins, picking off the O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless championship as well. Smith has a pair of ASCS National wins to go along with a pair of ASCS Regional wins.

Just one race away from his second consecutive NCRA championship, Cimarron, KS, veteran Maier has made his way to victory lane on seven occasions this year.

One of the top shoes from the southeastern portion of the United States, Sarasota, Florida's Martin currently holds a five-race win streak and has climbed to second in series points.

Other drivers already entered include Missouri shoes Eric Schrock and Ryan Marsch, Texas racers Claud Estes, Eric Baldaccini, Brad Welborn and Preston Peebles II, Kansan Chris Morgan, Illinois' Robbie Standridge, Mississippi's Lee Sowell and California's Steven Tiner.

Five of the drivers already entered made the cut for the 2005 Short Track Nationals 20-car finale among a field of 91 entries. Nick Smith, Brian Brown, Jason Johnson, Jesse Hockett and Eric Schrock each made last year's starting grid, with Johnson snaring an STN best fourth-place finish. Hockett posted an STN-best finish of eighth, with Smith finishing among the STN top ten for the second year in a row by taking the checkered flag in tenth.

Three other drivers have made the STN finale in the past as well, including Maier, Estes and Tiner, each of whom last made the big show in 2003. Maier has started the STN main event on nine occasions, with a fifth-place run in 2002 the most recent of his three top-five showings. Former Cowtown Speedway champion Estes and Tiner, who was spent the 2006 season wrenching for Danny Lasoski, both made their only STN start in '03.

Additional Short Track Nationals Information:

What: 19th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.

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

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 26-28, 2006. $15,000 to win the STN finale on October 28, with $1,900 to start the STN championship feature. Rain date is November 2-4.

Past Winners: 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 ‘8 and Sammy Swindell (1990). 1992 finale was rained out.

Entry Info: Entries postmarked by Friday, October 20, are just $150. Entries after the October 20 deadline are $250, with no exceptions. Entry forms may be obtained at http://www.i-30speedway.com/driverentry.htm or by calling the track at 501-455-4567.

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, $1,900-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.

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 also include the Second Annual Short Track Nationals Trade Show & Midway. Fans, drivers & crews will have the opportunity to visit vendor displays, which will be open each day. The deadline for guaranteed vendor space is Monday, October 23.

Tickets: Advance tickets are on sale through Wednesday, October 25, no advance sales after that. Those ordering in advance by credit card received a discount, with all three nights just $44. There is a discount for purchasing with cash in advance as well. Day of show cash prices are $12 on Thursday and Friday, and $25 on Saturday. To order tickets in advance or for more information, call the track at 501-455-4567.

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