Johnson Covers 'Em for $16K in I-30 Speedway's Short Track Nationals


Lonnie Wheatley, LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 28, 2006) – Louisiana's Jason Johnson has enjoyed a career year in 2006.  And he topped it off in stellar fashion by wiring the field in Saturday night's 19th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires 40-lap championship feature at I-30 Speedway.


Johnson's 22nd overall feature victory of the season was a lucrative one as well, as the "Ragin' Cajun" pocketed $16,500 in Saturday night winnings alone including the $15,000 winner's share along with a $1,000 bonus from Huggins Cams and another $500 for winning the Pack's Dash for Cash earlier in the night.


After locking himself into the Dash for Cash with a runner-up showing in Friday night's preliminary feature, Johnson earned the pole by winning the Dash from third and then led all the way in the feature event, lapping all the way up to sixth position in the process.


"This is just a great team, I can't say enough about how great a job everybody does and just how good this car works," Johnson commented of his victory aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Diesel Service No. 41 Eagle.


With the STN record 99-car field narrowed down to 21 starters for the $64,975 championship feature event, only two incidents slowed the fast-paced event.


The first occurred after nine laps when Cody Gardner and Robbie Standridge tangled in turn three, with Standridge getting upside down.  Under the ensuing red flag, California's Brad Sweet, who dazzled the packed house by earning the most points on Saturday night to earn the seventh starting slot, was forced pitside with a dislodged fuel cell on his Jesse Hockett-owned mount.


Twenty-five laps later, the race's second and final caution flew when Minnesota's Travis Whitney looped his machine in turn two.  At the time, Kaeding and second-running Tim Kaeding held well over a half-lap advantage over the pack of cars dicing for third.  And that pack was in immediate danger of falling a lap off the pace until the caution.


While Johnson led throughout, Kaeding kept him in his sights much of the way, staying within a few car-lengths aboard Donnie Cooper's Wesmar-powered Carry All Service No. 01 Maxim over the last half of the race.


Kaeding made one last charge into turn one on the final lap, but tripped over the cushion and flipped over the embankment.  Instead of a runner-up showing, the California racer settled for 12th.


Taking advantage of Kaeding's last-lap miscue was Missouri's Brian Brown, who claimed the runner-up position and Hard Charger honors after starting tenth.  Brown had worked his way up to seventh by the lap nine red flag, then cracked the top five soon after the midway point.


After swapping third with Darren Stewart a time or two, Brown secured the spot on the 35th circuit then picked up the runner-up position on the final round aboard Tim and Gina Doogs' Ostrich-powered American Compressed Steel/Ditzfield Transfer No. 21 Maxim.


Piloting Bobby Sparks' Ostrich-powered RESM Transport No. 91 Eagle, Stewart held down second position for the opening ten rounds before Kaeding battled past.  Stewart briefly slipped back to fourth on the 22nd lap when Dale Howard raced by, but returned the favor a lap later.


Stewart ultimately crossed the stripe in the show position, with four-time Short Track Nationals champion Gary Wright charging from 12th to snare fourth in his final drive aboard the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim.


Saturday afternoon's preliminary feature winner, Sean McClelland, battled amongst the top eight throughout the race and picked off a pair of positions over the final six laps to round out the top five in Wade and Allisha Wisely's Wesmar-powered Oil Capital Transportation/Rush Truck Center No. 1 Maxim.


Mississippi's Dale Howard was the final car on the lead lap in sixth, with Oklahoma's Nick Smith posting his third consecutive STN top-ten finish by racing from 16th to seventh.  Former STN winner Terry Gray claimed eighth, while Joey Montgomery advanced from last chance race competition to finish ninth after starting 17th.  Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., completed the top ten after changing a flat tire under the lap 34 caution.


Tim Crawley was in the top-ten mix much of the way, surrendering sixth position when a faulty magneto cut his run short.


Defending STN winner Tim Montgomery pulled to the infield 13 laps into the race with a balky powerplant.


Dale Blaney, who locked himself into the STN finale with a runner-up showing in Saturday afternoon's prelim, dropped to the tail of the field at the start and exited with engine woes after taking the green flag.


Nine of the 21 starters made the cut for their first career STN finale, with McClelland faring the best by finishing fifth.  Other first-timers included Kaeding, Justin Sturch, Travis Whitney, teen shoe Derek Hagar, Sweet, Standridge, Gardner and Blaney.


Dusty Wasmund, Whitney, Crawley, Jan Howard, Preston Peebles II, Eric Schrock, Sweet, Gardner and Gray topped Saturday night's heat race action.


Mike Ward, Clint Garner, Jeff Mitrisin and Eric Lutz were then victorious in the last chance races.


After Johnson beat Stewart and Kaeding to the line in the Dash for Cash, Stenhouse, Standridge, Smith and Sweet won the qualifying races.


After his heat race win, Jan Howard flipped in the second qualifier when Jason Meyers spun in front of the field.  Lee Sowell was caught up in the incident as well, while Eric Baldaccini suffered wing damage.  Two laps later, the turn one cushion bit Clint Garner, who went for a wild ride.


Jeff Mitrisin also flipped in the third qualifier, two laps after Travis Rilat spun while battling with Smith for the lead.


There were no injuries.


After advancing from last chance race action to finish eleventh in Friday night's preliminary feature, fifteen-year-old Channin Tankersley of Highlands, TX, earned the inaugural Josh Lofton Hard Charger Award when engine woes sidelined his first STN effort early Saturday afternoon.


19th Annual Short Track Nationals Championship Finale Results:


Locked in from Preliminary Features:  01-Tim Kaeding, 1m-Sean McClelland, 41-Jason Johnson, 6b-Dale Blaney, 47-Dale Howard, 91-Darren Stewart.


Heat Races – Top 32 in Finishing/Passing Points to Four Qualifying Races; Balance of Field to Four Last Chance Races.


First Heat (10 Laps):  1. 20-Dusty Wasmund, 2. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 8p-Zack Pringle, 4. 15s-Nick Smith, 5. 32m-Tim Montgomery, 6. 40a-Ernie Ainsworth, 7. 2mx-Ryan Marsch, 8. 41m-Scottie McDonald, 9. 12mt-Tommy Bryant, 10. 13F-Larry Pinegar II.


Second Heat (10 Laps):  1. 27-Travis Whitney, 2. 75h-Jesse Hockett, 3. 75y-Don Young, 4. 65-Skip Wilson, 5. 26E-Rafe Essary, 6. 33-Jon Corbin, 7. 4T-Justin Sturch, 8. R19-Scott Winters.  DNS: 71T-Channin Tankersley, 28-Mitch Runge.


Third Heat (10 Laps):  1. 87-Tim Crawley, 2. 40R-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 3. 71R-Ryan Anderson, 4. 24w-Kenny Coke, 5. 35R-Ron Blair, 6. 71b-Robert Bell, 7. 4am-Travis Jenkins, 8. 12m-Greg Merritt, 9. 53d-Jack Dover, 10. 2d-Rodney Droud.


Fourth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 4x-Jan Howard, 2. 53x-Joe Beaver, 3. 35b-Brad Best, 4. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 5. 5k-Jerry Kamer, 6. 11F-Foster Landon, 7. 44a-A.J. Bruns, 8. 07h-Rob Hartman, 9. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr.  DNS: 32b-Justin Barger.


Fifth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 11p-Preston Peebles II, 2. 12x-Robbie Standridge, 3. X-Chuck Swenson, 4. k9-Jody Rosenboom, 5. 44R-Ronny Howard, 6. 5-Eric Lutz, 7. 59-Dex Eaton, 8. 12T-Joe Young, 9. 1*-Kent Buckley, 10. 00g-Ryan Grubaugh.


Sixth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 86e-Eric Schrock, 2. 7c-Chris Morgan, 3. 51-Lee Sowell, 4. 94T-Steven Tiner, 5. 44h-Donny Howard, 6. 74e-Claud Estes, 7. 21c-Joey Montgomery, 8. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 9. 42b-Nathan Brown.


Seventh Heat (10 Laps):  1. 77-Brad Sweet, 2. 21b-Brian Brown, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. d12-Jason Meyers, 5. 88-Mike Ward, 6. 21T-Kent Lewis, Jr., 7. 23-Brian Bell, 8. 42s-Josh Baker, 9. 38-Rick Pringle.


Eighth Heat (10 Laps):  1. 1g-Cody Gardner, 2. 21R-Raymond Stull, 3. 3-A.G. Rains, 4. 40g-Clint Garner, 5. 15b-Brad Bowden, 6. 55-Brian McClelland, 7. 86b-Buster Dickerson, 8. 71s-Jake Simmons, 9. 94b-Cody Branchcomb.


Ninth Heat (10 Laps):  1 10T-Terry Gray, 2. 9w-Gary Wright, 3. 45-Josh Howard, 4. 9JR-Derek Hagar, 5. 10J-Jeff Mitrisin, 6. 95-Jeff Day, 7. 11T-Tyler Thompson, 8. 99-Justin Melton, 9. 26m-Marshall Skinner.


Last Chance Races – Top 4 Finishers to tail of the Four Qualifying Races.


First Last Chance Race (10 Laps):  1. 88-Mike Ward, 2. 95-Jeff Day, 3. 44R-Ronny Howard, 4. 59-Dex Eaton, 5. 86b-Buster Dickerson, 6. 13F-Larry Pinegar II, 7. 42b-Nathan Brown, 8. 55-Brian McClelland, 9. 71s-Jake Simmons, 10. 07h-Rob Hartman.  DNS: 6t-Skip Wilson, 11F-Foster Landon, 1*-Kent Buckley, 32b-Justin Barger.


Second Last Chance Race (10 Laps):  1. 40g-Clint Garner, 2. 26e-Rafe Essary, 3. 15b-Brad Bowden, 4. 21c-Joey Montgomery, 5. 74e-Claud Estes, 6. 33-Jon Corbin, 7. 41m-Scottie McDonald, 8. 12T-Joe Young, 9. 12mt-Tommy Bryant, 10. 2mx-Ryan Marsch, 11. 2d-Rodney Droud, 12. 38-Rick Pringle, 13. X-Chuck Swenson.  DNS: 71T-Channin Tankersley.


Third Last Chance Race (10 Laps):  1. 10J-Jeff Mitrisin, 2. k9-Jody Rosenboom, 3. 9JR-Derek Hagar, 4. 21T-Kent Lewis, Jr., 5. 53d-Jack Dover, 6. 5k-Jerry Kamer, 7. R19-Scott Winters, 8. 71b-Robert Bell, 9. 4T-Justin Sturch, 10. 11T-Tyler Thompson, 11. 42s-Josh Baker, 12. 94b-Cody Branchcomb.  DNS: 00g-Ryan Grubaugh.


Fourth Last Chance Race (10 Laps):  1. 5-Eric Lutz, 2. 40a-Ernie Ainsworth, 3. 26m-Marshall Skinner, 4. 23-Brian Bell, 5. 12m-Greg Merritt, 6. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 7. 44h-Donny Howard, 8. 44a-A.J. Bruns, 9. 99-Justin Melton, 10. 24w-Kenny Coke, 11. 28-Mitch Runge.  DNS: 4am-Travis Jenkins, 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr.


Pack’s Dash for Cash – Finishing Order Determines Front Three Rows of “A” Feature.


Pack’s Dash for Cash (6 Laps – Starting position in parentheses):  1. 41-Jason Johnson (4), 2. 91-Darren Stewart (1), 3. 01-Tim Kaeding (3), 4. 47-Dale Howard (2), 5. 1m-Sean McClelland (6), 6. 6b-Dale Blaney (5).


Qualifying Races – Winner from Each Qualifier Locked into "A" Main; Top 8 Additional Point Earners Advance to "A" Main (Rows 4-9 Lined up according to Saturday Night points)


First Qualifier (12 Laps):  1. 40R-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 2. 21b-Brian Brown, 3. 35R-Ron Blair, 4. 9w-Gary Wright, 5. 53x-Joe Beaver, 6. 86e-Eric Schrock, 7. 94T-Steven Tiner, 8. 95-Jeff Day, 9. 88-Mike Ward, 10. 59-Dex Eaton, 11. 45-Josh Howard, 12. 44R-Ronny Howard.


Second Qualifier (12 Laps):  1. 12x-Robbie Standridge, 2. 10T-Terry Gray, 3. 21c-Joey Montgomery, 4. 3-A.G. Rains, 5. 27-Travis Whitney, 6. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 7. 40g-Clint Garner, 8. 15b-Brad Bowden, 9. 26E-Rafe Essary, 10. 4x-Jan Howard, 11. 51-Lee Sowell, 12. 51-Lee Sowell.


Third Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 87-Tim Crawley, 3. 1g-Cody Gardner, 4. 9JR-Derek Hagar, 5. K9-Jody Rosenboom, 6. 20-Dusty Wasmund, 7. 21T-Kent Lewis, Jr., 8. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 9. 35b-Brad Best, 10. 10J-Jeff Mitrisin, 11. 29-Travis Rilat, 12. 8p-Zack Pringle.


Fourth Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 77-Brad Sweet, 2. 32m-Tim Montgomery, 3. 75y-Don Young, 4. 21R-Raymond Stull, 5. 26m-Marshall Skinner, 6. 7c-Chris Morgan, 7. 23-Brian Bell, 8. 5-Eric Lutz, 9. 11p-Preston Peebles II, 10. 71R-Ryan Anderson, 11. 75h-Jesse Hockett.  DNS: 40a-Ernie Ainsworth.


Tenth row of “A” Feature comprised of top two point earners over the three programs of racing that haven’t already qualified:  Jesse Hockett and Tim Montgomery.


I-30 Speedway Track Champion Provisional:  Justin Sturch. 


19th Annual Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires Championship “A” Feature:


A Feature (40 Laps – Starting position in parentheses):  1. 41J-Jason Johnson (1), 2. 21b-Brian Brown (10), 3. 91-Darren Stewart (2), 4. 9w-Gary Wright (12), 5. 1m-Sean McClelland (5), 6. 47-Dale Howard (4), 7. 15s-Nick Smith (16), 8. 10T-Terry Gray (11), 9. 21c-Joey Montgomery (17), 10. 40R-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (8), 11. 75h-Jesse Hockett (19), 12. 01-Tim Kaeding (3), 13. 4T-Justin Sturch (21), 14. 27-Travis Whitney (15), 15. 87-Tim Crawley (9), 16. 9JR-Derek Hagar (18), 17. 32m-Tim Montgomery (20), 18. 77-Brad Sweet (7), 19. 12x-Robbie Standridge (13), 20. 1g-Cody Gardner (14), 21. 6b-Dale Blaney (6).