LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — With the 29th annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires set to officially fire off Thursday night at I-30 Speedway, the field just keeps getting stronger.
The count has climbed to 64 entries from 16 different states as well as Canada with reigning Knoxville Nationals champion Jason Johnson and All Star Circuit of Champions kingpin Chad Kemenah among the latest to throw their hats into the ring for the $15,000 winner’s share.
The addition of “The Ragin’ Cajun” brings the number of past winners entered in the event to six along with three-time STN champ Sammy Swindell, two-time winners Paul McMahan and Tony Bruce Jr., and one-time winners Tim Crawley and Jason Sides.
A past winner among the car owner ranks, Bobby Sparks fields an entry for Kevin Ramey with Donnie Cooper (driver Paul McMahan), 2000 STN champ Mike Ward (driver Tim Crawley) and Brandon Berryman (driver Sheldon Haudenschild) among other car owners looking for more STN glory.
Johnson, the 2006 Short Track Nationals champion, will try to become the only person other than Steve Kinser to top the Short Track Nationals and the Knoxville Nationals in the same year. Kinser accomplished the feat in both 1988 and 1991.
Johnson, who has three top-fives among his seven career STN championship feature starts to his credit, knocked perennial Knoxville Nationals champion Donny Schatz off the top step of the Knoxville podium in a thrilling August finale for his first Nationals triumph.
While Johnson tries for a second STN triumph on the 10th anniversary of his initial victory, Ohio’s Chad Kemenah makes a run for the big money as well after outdueling Dale Blaney for the All Star crown.
Kemenah returns to Little Rock with some solid past STN experience, includingfour championship feature starts, the best of which resulted in a sixth-place run in 2013 after a third-place preliminary night showing in 2010.
Kemenah isn’t the only representative from Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions, with Sheldon Haudenschild trying to deliver Berryman a second consecutive STN crown after Christopher Bell topped the most recently completed STN in 2014.
A third-place finisher in All Star points this year, Haudenschild still qualifies as an STN rookie after the balance of the event was washed out last year following the Wednesday night opening.
The 29th edition of the COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires officially fires off Thursday night after Wednesday night’s Test ‘N Tune session from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Two full nights of heats, qualifiers and feature action on Thursday and Friday will be followed up by Saturday’s championship card that concludes with the $15,000-to-win, $2,000-to-start 40-lapper.
CREDIT: I-30 Speedway via Lonnie Wheatley