This message was edited on
November 11, 2009 at
12:34:06 AM by Gary Thomas
Photo by Jim Fleming
Jonathan Allard charges to sixth place finish at 22nd O'Reilly Short Track Nationals in Arkansas
By Gary Thomas
Little Rock, Arkansas – November 10, 2009…Making the most of his first ever visit to the annual Short Track Nationals former two-time King of California Jonathan Allard moved forward in the main event on Saturday night at the I-30 Speedway and brought home a sixth place finish at the helm of the Bobby Sparks Racing No. 91a sprint car.
The result for Allard was also good enough for Short Track Nationals "Rookie of the Year" honors for the event and put a successful cap on the season. "This was a tough field out here and there was a lot of fast cars this weekend so it's pretty cool to get a good finish racing with these guys," Allard said. "I really have to thank Bobby Sparks and the team for giving me the chance to come out and run this car at the Short Track Nationals, as well as the Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals a few weeks ago."
The Lucas Oil ASCS National Sprint Car Series sanctioned event was postponed by one week due to wet weather and although some drivers were unable to compete due to other commitments, a stout 101-car field was still on hand this past weekend to battle it out for part of the $107,000 purse. Allard was part of Friday's preliminary night and got the weekend started off on an exciting note by making a thrilling late charge to go from third to first and pick up victory on the final lap of the fifth heat race. He then started eighth and finished sixth in his qualifying race, before scoring a 14th place finish in the 25-lap feature.
After the first two prelim nights a total of six cars were locked into the main event for Saturday and the remainder of the field was placed into more heat races and last chance qualifiers to determine the rest of the starters for the 40-lap, $15,000 to win feature. Allard would begin the evening by starting 10th in the opening heat race and was able to carve his way forward to score a fourth place finish at the checkered flag, which gave him enough points to earn the pole position in the third of eight last chance qualifier races. The winner of each last chance qualifier moved to the main event, where they would be lined-up in positions 13-20 based on points from the prelim nights and Saturday's heat races.
The Chico, CA driver wasted no time blasting into the top-spot as he took command from the get-go and led for the duration of the 10-lap contest to claim victory and move into the main event. With Allard being the highest driver in points of the eight qualifier winners it then put the Sparks Racing, Sundial Shirt Company No. 91a machine on the outside of the sixth row in the feature. Drivers were given a multiple groove track and it made for outstanding racing on the I-30 bullring as drivers fought it out amongst each other with side-by-side racing seen with regularity. Allard moved up into the top-10 quickly, but contact while racing with Paul McMahan on lap 15 resulted in McMahan getting upside down and Allard suffering wing damage that he was forced to deal with for the remainder of the race.
The final 25-circuits clicked off caution free and despite the damage to the No. 91a sprinter Allard did a solid job to cross the stripe in sixth after 40-laps of racing, finishing behind only Tony Bruce Jr., Wayne Johnson, current ASCS National Sprint Car Series point leader Shane Stewart, Travis Rilat and three-time World of Outlaw champ Sammy Swindell. The victory for Bruce made him only the third driver to ever score back-to-back Short Track Nationals titles.
The Short Track Nationals puts a wrap on what was another solid season for Allard that saw him finish runner-up in the Golden State Challenge King of California Series standings, while claiming his fourth career Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial triumph along the way. "JA" also scored a fourth place finish at the World of Outlaw sanctioned Gold Cup Race of Champions in September, which was his second straight top-five in the $50,000 to win event. In addition to that he made his first career A-main start at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in August where he tallied a 15th place result in the 40-lap main event and also picked-up a preliminary night victory during the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at the Skagit Speedway in June.
For more news on Chico, CA's Jonathan Allard log onto http://www.allardmotorsports.com
Chico, CA's Jonathan Allard charging into the corner this past weekend at the 22nd Short Track Nationals where he scored a sixth place finish in the 40-lap $15,000 to win main event on Saturday night. Former World of Outlaw regular Tony Bruce Jr. was the winner of the event, which saw a total of 101 drivers in action over the three nights. Photo by Dennis Krieger Imagery