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Swindell Stops Nightmare at I-30 – Wins STN Opener

Lonnie Wheatley, LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 12, 2017) – Sammy Swindell kicked off his pursuit of an unprecedented fifth Short Track Nationals crown in strong fashion by wiring the field in Thursday night’s 25-lap feature that kicked off I-30 Speedway’s 30th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires.

Though he led the entire distance aboard the Rains Motorsports No. 3s, it wasn’t without some strong mid-race pressure from “North Pole Nightmare” Bill Balog.  Swindell ultimately worked through traffic in the latter stages to secure the win ahead of Balog with Tony Bruce, Jr., making a late rally to steal the third and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s $15,000-to-win, $2,000-to-start STN championship finale.

After accumulating the most points through heat and qualifying race action, it was 1998 STN champion and hometown favorite Tim Crawley leading the feature field to the green flag with four-time and defending race winner Swindell alongside.

Swindell gunned into the lead at the outset and kept Crawley and third-starter Balog at bay in the opening rounds before the red flag flew for Josh Baughman’s wild ride through turns three and four.  The Odessa, TX, racer walked away unscathed.

Back under way, Swindell set the pace on the low side while Balog worked the top side to dispose of Crawley for second by the seventh circuit.

Soon after the race’s second and final interruption for a Cody Gardner spin in turn one with eight laps in the books, Balog turned up the heat and began pressuring for the point. Swindell stayed steady on the low side though and worked through traffic over the final eight circuits to post his sixth career STN preliminary feature win.

A former Alaska resident now calling Wisconsin home, Balog put Ronnie Pitts’ No. 1x entry into the big show in his first official STN start after a 2015 effort was eliminated due to inclement weather.

In the lead duo’s wake, the battle for the third and final lock-in position was heated with Aaron Reutzel driving the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution No. 87 past Crawley for third at the midway point.

But, two-time STN winner Tony Bruce, Jr., was on the move in the Smith Racing No. 86, taking fourth away from Crawley on the 21st lap and then gobbling up more than a half straightaway deficit to nip Reutzel at the line for third by mere inches.

Reutzel settled for fourth with Sam Hafertepe, Jr., climbing from 13th to round out the top five.  Crawley crossed the stripe sixth with Ernie Ainsworth, Jonathan Cornell, Seth Bergman and 19th-starter Howard Moore completing the top ten.

Crawley, Morgan Turpen, Ray Allen Kulhanek, Steven Tiner, Reutzel, Kyle Bellm, Skylar Gee, Gardner and Swindell topped heat race action for Thursday night’s 71-car field with Bergman, Andy McElhannon, Swindell and Balog winning the qualifying races.

Brian Bell and Willie Croft topped “C” Main action with Alex Sewell and Steven Tiner winning the “B” Mains.

Sean McClelland flipped in turn one in qualifying race action while two-time STN king Paul McMahan flipped in “B” Main competition.  There were no injuries.

The 30th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires at I-30 Speedway continues with another full slate of preliminary action on Friday night.  The green flag is set to fly at 7:30 p.m.

30th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Thursday Night Results:

Heat Races (Top 40 in Finishing/Passing Points to Qualifying Races; Balance to Two “C” Mains):

First Heat (10 Laps):  1. 88-Tim Crawley, 2. 84-Brandon Hanks, 3. 95-Matt Covington, 4. 40-Howard Moore, 5. 6-Dustin Gates, 6. 23b-Brian Bell, 7. 10k-Dewayne White, 8. 36-Jason Martin.

Second Heat (10 Laps):  1. 10m-Morgan Turpen, 2. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth, 3. 01-Paul McMahan, 4. 12w-Dale Wester, 5. 4s-Danny Smith, 6. 1xx-Eddie Gallagher, 7. 21b-Zach Pringle, 8. 121-Jan Howard.

Third Heat (10 Laps):  1. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 2. 43-Matthew Bauldwin, 3. 42-Andy McElhannon, 4. 32m-Adam Miller, 5. 38-Rick Pringle, 6. 84b-Scott Bogucki, 7. 44-Ronny Howard, 8. 44c-Chase Howard.

Fourth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 94x-Steven Tiner, 2. 17g-Channin Tankersley, 3. 17-Josh Baughman, 4. 1x-Bill Balog, 5. 7m-Chance Morton, 6. 58-Gary Floyd, 7. 21k-Kevin Hinkle, 8. 21-Butch David.

Fifth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 2. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 17w-Harli White, 4. 29-Willie Croft, 5. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 6. 12T-Joe Young, 7. 1s-Joey Schmidt, 8. 16-Blake Baccus.

Sixth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 2. 2-Michael Day, 3. 26-Marshall Skinner, 4. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 5. 5-Eric Lutz, 6. 99x-Dalton Stevens, 7. 31-Justin Webb, 8. 4-Tommy Snellgrove.

Seventh Heat (10 Laps):  1. 99-Skylar Gee, 2. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 3. 47-Dale Howard, 4. 51J-Ryan Jamison, 5. 22-Sean McClelland, 6. 2h-Wally Henson, 7. 10-Terry Gray, 8. 20g-Jake Greider.

Eighth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 88r-Cody Gardner, 2. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 3. 2c-Wayne Johnson, 4. 23-Seth Bergman, 5. 44m-Chris Martin, 6. D6-Dakota Gaines, 7. X-Charlie Louden, 8. 00-Tristan Lee.

Ninth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 3s-Sammy Swindell, 2. 8-Alex Sewell, 3. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 4. 39-Brad Bowden, 5. 23x-Junior Jenkins, 6. 52-Blake Hahn, 7. 11g-Mike Goodman.

Qualifying Races – Top 14 in Combined Passing/Finishing Points to “A” Feature; Balance to “B” Mains

First Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 23-Seth Bergman, 2. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth, 3. 88-Tim Crawley, 4. 88r-Cody Gardner, 5. 9jr-Derek Hagar, 6. 10m-Morgan Turpen, 7. 11x-John Carney II, 8. 40-Howard Moore, 9. 2-Michael Day, 10. 32m-Adam Miller.

Second Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 42-Andy McElhannon, 2. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 4. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 01-Paul McMahan, 6. 43-Matthew Bauldwin, 7. 94x-Steven Tiner, 8. 7m-Chance Morton, 9. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 10. 22-Sean McClelland.

Third Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 3s-Sammy Swindell, 2. 17-Josh Baughman, 3. 84-Brandon Hanks, 4. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 5. 5-Eric Lutz, 6. 8-Alex Sewell, 7. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 8. 44m-Chris Martin, 9. 2c-Wayne Johnson, 10. 95-Matt Covington.

Fourth Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 1x-Bill Balog, 2. 26-Marshall Skinner, 3. 17g-Channin Tankersley, 4. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 5. 17w-Harli White, 6. 99-Skylar Gee, 7. 47-Dale Howard, 8. 39-Brad Bowden, 9. 6-Dustin Gates, 10. 12w-Dale Wester.

“C” Features – Top 3 from Each Advance to Corresponding “B” Feature

First “C” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 23b-Brian Bell, 2. 38-Rick Pringle, 3. 52-Blake Hahn, 4. 36-Jason Martin, 5. 51J-Ryan Jamison, 6. 10-Terry Gray, 7. X-Charlie Louden, 8. 11g-Mike Goodman, 9. 12T-Joe Young, 10. 58-Gary Floyd, 11. 10k-Dewayne White, 12. 31-Justin Webb, 13. 99x-Dalton Stevens, 14. 4-Tommy Snellgrove, 15. 121-Jan Howard (DNS), 16. 00-Tristan Lee (DNS).

Second “C” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 29-Willie Croft, 2. 4s-Danny Smith, 3. D6-Dakota Gaines, 4. 2h-Wally Henson, 5. 21b-Zach Pringle, 6. 20g-Jake Greider, 7. 23s-Junior Jenkins, 8. 1s-Joey Schmidt, 9. 44-Ronny Howard, 10. 21k-Kevin Hinkle, 11. 21-Butch David, 12. 16-Blake Baccus, 13. 1xx-Eddie Gallagher (DNS), 14. 84b-Scott Bogucki (DNS), 15. 44c-Chase Howard (DNS).

“B” Features – Top 3 from Each Advance to “A” Feature

First “B” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 8-Alex Sewell, 2. 99-Skylar Gee, 3. 40-Howard Moore, 4. 5-Eric Lutz, 5. 84-Brandon Hanks, 6. 11x-John Carney II, 7. 23b-Brian Bell, 8. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 9. 44m-Chris Martin, 10. 52-Blake Hahn, 11. 6-Dustin Gates, 12. 32m-Adam Miller, 13. 38-Rick Pringle, 14. 17w-Harli White, 15. 2-Michael Day, 16. 22-Sean McClelland (DNS).

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps):  1. 94x-Steven Tiner, 2. 10m-Morgan Turpen, 3. 17g-Channin Tankersley, 4. 29-Willie Croft, 5. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 6. 4s-Danny Smith, 7. 7m-Chance Morton, 8. 15J-Jeremy Middleton, 9. D6-Dakota Gaines, 10. 43-Matthew Bauldwin, 11. 39-Brad Bowden, 12. 12w-Dale Wester, 13. 47-Dale Howard, 14. 2c-Wayne Johnson, 15. 01-Paul McMahan, 16. 95-Matt Covington.

“A” Feature – Top 3 Finishers Locked into Saturday night’s $15,000 to win STN Finale.

A Feature (25 Laps – Starting position in parentheses):  1. 3s-Sammy Swindell (2), 2. 1x-Bill Balog (3), 3. 86-Tony Bruce, Jr. (4), 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel (7), 5. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (13), 6. 88-Tim Crawley (1), 7. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (10), 8. 28-Jonathan Cornell (8), 9. 23-Seth Bergman (9), 10. 40-Howard Moore (19), 11. 9jr-Derek Hagar (14), 12. 26-Marshall Skinner (5), 13. 10m-Morgan Turpen (18), 14. 99-Skylar Gee (17), 15. 94x-Steven Tiner (16), 16. 8-Alex Sewell (15), 17. 88r-Cody Gardner (12), 18. 17g-Channin Tankersley (20), 19. 42-Andy McElhannon (6), 20. 17-Josh Baughman (11).

Lap Leaders: Sammy Swindell 1- 25.

30th Annual STN Points after Night One (Best of the Two Preliminary Nights – Lock-Ins not included in point totals):

1. 88-Tim Crawley 508.0
2. 87-Aaron Reutzel 501.0
3. 28-Jonathan Cornell 481.0
4. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth 479.0
5. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 478.0
6. 23-Seth Bergman 474.0
7. 26-Marshall Skinner 472.0
8. 9jr-Derek Hagar 450.0
9. 42-Andy McElhannon 441.0
10. 88r-Cody Gardner 432.0
11. 8-Alex Sewell 430.0
12. 99-Skylar Gee 428.5
13. 94x-Steven Tiner 427.5
14. 17-Josh Baughman 425.0
15. 10m-Morgan Turpen 424.5
16. 17g-Channin Tankersley 418.5
17. 40-Howard Moore 416.0
18. 5-Eric Lutz 406.0
19. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek 405.5
20. 84-Brandon Hanks 402.5
21. 14k-Kyle Bellm 376.0
22. 11x-John Carney II 374.0
23. 17w-Harli White 365.0
24. 01-Paul McMahan 361.0
25. 43-Matthew Bauldwin 358.5
26. 7m-Chance Morton 358.0
27. 44m-Chris Martin 350.0
28. 29-Willie Croft 343.5
29. 15J-Jeremy Middleton 342.5
30. 47-Dale Howard 342.5
31. 39-Brad Bowden 339.0
32. 4s-Danny Smith 333.0
33. 6-Dustin Gates 332.0
34. 2c-Wayne Johnson 324.0
35. 23b-Brian Bel 322.0
36. 2-Michael Day 320.5
37. 32m-Adam Miller 314.5
38. 12w-Dale Wester 313.0
39. d6-Dakota Gaines 309.5
40. 52-Blake Hahn 308.5
41. 22-Sean McClelland 305.0
42. 95-Matt Covington 304.0
43. 38-Rick Pringle 303.5
44. 51J-Ryan Jamison 287.5
45. 2h-Wally Henson 282.0
46. 21b-Zach Pringle 276.0
47. 23x-Junior Jenkins 272.5
48. X-Charlie Louden 268.0
49. 10-Terry Gray 267.0
50. 12T-Joe Young 267.0
51. 36-Jason Martin 259.0
52. 58-Gary Floyd 258.0
53. 1s-Joey Schmidt 256.0
54. 99x-Dalton Stevens 256.0
55. 44-Ronny Howard 255.0
56. 11g-Mike Goodman 253.0
57. 20g-Jake Greider 252.5
58. 1xx-Eddie Gallagher 251.0
59. 10k-Dewayne White 247.0
60. 21k-Kevin Hinkle 245.0
61. 84b-Scott Bogucki 242.0
62. 31-Justin Webb 240.0
63. 16-Blake Baccus 233.0
64. 21-Butch David 231.0
65. 44c-Chase Howard 224.0
66. 4-Tommy Snellgrove 222.0
67. 121-Jan Howard 221.0
68. 00-Tristan Lee 209.5