Sammy Swindell charged to an unprecedented fifth COMP Cams Short Track Nationals victory in Saturday night’s 40-lap finale atop the high-banked, quarter-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval.
The Memphis area racer surged into the lead on the opening lap from his second row starting position. He then led all the way aboard the Rains Motorsports No. 3s to capture the $15,000 winner’s take in the 30th edition of the event 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 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 Aaron Reutzel earned the pole position in the feature by beating Tim Crawley to the line in the 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, while Reutzel rallied back around Balog to secure third. Balog settled for fourth ahead of Ronnie Pitt and Tony Bruce Jr. rounding out the Top 5.
After starting on the front row outside, Tim Crawley crossed the stripe sixth. Derek Hagar climbed a handful of positions to capture seventh, while Jason Martin was eighth. Morgan Turpen became the first female to post a Top 10 STN championship feature by crossing the stripe in ninth. An STN rookie along with Balog, Skylar Gee completed the Top 10.
Dale Howard, Kyle Bellm, Jeff Swindell, Seth Bergman, Cody Gardner and Morgan Turpen topped the six STN Saturday Night Showdowns. Brad Bowden and Scott Bogucki earned “C” Main wins with Steven Tiner and Wayne Johnson posting “B” Main wins. illie 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 front stretch 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 during the course of the weekend.