THE 51 SHORT TRACK BOWL
Who’s In Our National Championship Game?
Charlie Bradberry Bowl – JR Norris (SES) vs. Dave Mader III (Blizzard) – In 2006, the racing world lost accomplished racer Charlie Bradberry.  The Charlie Bradberry Bowl is held in his honor, in his homestate of Alabama.  And JR Norris, who was one of Charlie’s closest friends, will square off against fellow Alabama native and Blizzard Champion Dave Mader III, who would have had to have battled Bradberry tooth and nail for the title.  It doesn’t matter who wins this game… because Charlie would have been the big winner.

Alamo Bowl - Chris Davidson (USRA) vs. Casey Smith (USRA) -  It’s all about Texas in this bowl, so there are no two better drivers to put in the pot than the two best
that Texas has to offer... and the two guys that have formed quite a “Texas-sized” rivalry.  Davidson and Smith aren’t shy about swapping some paint and making things interesting, which is just what these bowl folks want to see.  We’re going with Smith in this tight-knit game.

Motor City Bowl - Nathan Haseleu (WCS) vs. Mike David (West) -  A couple of “car guys” meet up for this matchup in Detroit.  By winning the Wisconsin Challenge Series title, Haseleu proved that he’s the man when it comes to SLM racing in the Upper Midwest.  David had a stellar season in the West Series, coming just a few points short of the title with two victories.  Still, David’s west coast offense may not match up well with Haseleu’s home-field advantage in the Motor City. 
Dave Mader takes on JR Norris in a battle in honor of their lost friend and fellow champion Charlie Bradberry. 
It’s that time of the year again.  The sports world is focused on college football, the Bowl season and the National Championship “Bowl Championship Series.”  

Playing in a bowl game is what teams and players fight for all year long in college football.  One win or loss here or can take you out of or put you in contention for one of the lesser bowls, or maybe in line for the National Championship.

We as Speed51.com have decided to take the college bowl system and apply it to the short track world.  We want to find out which drivers from which series would face each other in specific bowl games.  We’ve grouped some of the major short track series in the country into the specific “football conferences” they would fit in, based upon where they race.

So here is our full list of short track racing bowl games.

GMAC Bowl – Earl Paules (RoC Mods) vs. Gary Whipkey (Main Event Series) – In a matchup of Conference USA (RoC) and the MAC (Main Event), it’s two of the 2006 series champions.  Both of these guys are car guys, which make it perfect then are in the GMAC Bowl.  And since GMAC loans out money, we’re putting ours on Paules.
Glass City Bowl – Michael Simko vs. Don St. Denis (Outlaw SLM) – Everyone has been waiting for round two, and here it is.  Last we saw of these two, Simko was doing his best “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” drop-kick through St. Denis’ windshield during the Glass City 200 nd St. Denis was trying to get back at Simko with Rocky Balboa-like haymakers.  It provided for one of the most entertaining moments this season, so the rematch should be a doozy.  This bowl is being co-promoted in Toledo by Don King and Vince McMahon in a unique battle-to-the-death football game.  Simko seemed to have the agility advantage.  The only way we’d give St. Denis the edge is if Mr. Myagi came back to life and was on his sideline for this game.
Simko did his best Daniel-San impression to St. Denis, now he gets a rematch on the gridiron.  (Todd Ridgeway Photo)
Cotton Bowl - Steve Kinser (NST) vs. Terry Mathis (Pro Challenge) – Kinser travels all over and represents the Big 12 with his National Sprint Tour, while Mathis is an SEC guy with his Pro Challenge car.  Both are in their later ages, with lots of “grey” hair that matches the color of cotton.  So that makes them perfect opponents.  Both are champions, but Kinser’s titles give him the edge here.

Gator Bowl - Ted Christopher (Mods) vs. Darrell Wallace (Legends) – Gators are known for their big mouths and the fact they devour their prey.  That puts Christopher vs. Wallace as the best matchup.  Both drivers are good at eating up the competition, but both also have a tendency to run their mouths.  And both have gotten in trouble for it.  But thanks to his years of experience, TC is going into this bowl a early favorite.
Music City Bowl – Korey Ruble (GAS) vs. Alex Yontz (UARA) – It is fitting that these two youngsters who made plenty of noise in 2006 should converge on Nashville for this bowl.  Ruble won a bunch of GAS races and Yontz grabbed a couple UARA Late Model Stock events, placing them both on the map as potential stars.  Both did well in their respective end-of-season events, but Ruble’s second-place at the Snowflake 100 doesn’t have the same tune that Yontz’s Bailey’s 300 victory at Martinsville does, so Yontz holds the edge in this one.

Sun Bowl – Jeff Scofield (Sunbelt) vs. Eric Holmes (West & SWS) – The two places that come to mind when talking about sunshine are Florida and California, so that’s why these two are perfect for this matchup. 
Alex Yontz (right) made plenty of noise this year, and he hopes to sing the same tune in Music City.
Florida’s Scofield was the Sunbelt SLM champ, winning races left and right in the Sunshine State.  Holmes won the NASCAR West Series championship, finished second in Southwest Series points, and showed well in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale.  Those stats alone make Holmes the favorite, but his 51-eisman trophy and the ability to race outside of California (where Scofield never leaves Florida) make this matchup in El Paso, TX a lock for Holmes.

Meineke Car Care Bowl - Mike Stefanik (Mods) vs. James Buescher (ASA South) – In Charlotte, its an ACC and Big East showdown.  But looking at the name, it could be all about someone who wins races and takes care of their car in the process.  That is what both Stefanik and Buescher do.  Both quietly won their series titles while taking care of their equipment and being there at the end.  But Stefanik’s nine titles make him the overwhelming favorite.
PapaJohns.com Bowl – Billy Venturini (ARCA) vs. Johnny Clark (PASS) -  This battle of heavyweights should prove to be a stout one, both on the field and on the scales.  Neither driver seems to have found a slice of pizza they didn’t like, but both made plenty of money this season in their series to buy plenty of it online.  Venturini scored his first-career ARCA victory and finished third in points.  Clark was the PASS North Champion and nearly won the Mason-Dixon Meltdown.  Clark holds the slight advantage in this one, only because Venturini may have lost a little energy on his recent honeymoon. 

Champs Sports Bowl – Jean-Paul Cyr (ACT) vs. Mike Olsen (BES) – This is a nod for the multiple-time champions in their respective series.  Olsen scored Busch East (or Busch North for the traditionalists) title number two in 2006, while Cyr maintained his domination in the ACT Late Model ranks in the Northeast by winning his sixth crown.  These two know how to get the job done in the Northeast, so picking a winner when they both hit Orlando, FL will be tough.
International Bowl – Patrick LaPerle (PASS North) vs. Boris Jurkovic (CRA) – It’s a perfect bowl for Big East Conference driver LaPerle, because its in Toronto and they love a Canadian to win.  The MAC is represented by Boris Jurkovic, who is getting the nod just because he was a good (he won the All American 400) and his name has some international flavor too, even though he’s from Illinois.  Thanks to the fans and crazy Canadian fans, we’re going with LaPerle.

Granite Bowl - Sean Caisse (BES) vs. Matt Kobyluck (BES) – For this Bowl, a field will be set up in the infield at NHIS.  One of the biggest rivalries in the sport got started when both Caisse and Kobyluck got together at NHIS while racing hard in 2005.  It boiled over when the two got into it again in 2006, where Kobyluck parked Caisse on the track and NASCAR then parked Kobyluck.  We’re taking Kobyluck.  With his size, no one should bet against him on a football field.

Capital One Bowl - Chuck Barnes (SLM) vs. Preston Peltier (PASS South) – In a battle of SEC (Peltier) and Big Ten (Barnes), there are two guys that spend some money.  Barnes drives all over the country competing in races, which racks up the credit card bills.  Peltier spent a lot of money replacing body panels, always seeming to find bad luck while running up front.  In this race though, we’re taking Barnes in a speedster’s battle.

Boris Jurkovic's name on the All American 400 win list adds a bit of international flavor to the International Bowl  (51 Photos)
Short People Bowl – Jesse Smith (ASALM North) vs. Ryan Crane (SLM) – These two little guys raced like giants in 2006.  Smith burst onto the ASA Late Model scene with a Rookie of the Year title and Northern Division championship.  Crane kicked off his season with the win in The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway and also won a Blizzard Series event in Pensacola.  They may be tiny in stature, but size doesn’t matter.  Or so we’re told.  We’ll give the nod to Smith in this one simply because the pint-sized teenager is sponsored by Spam, which is an undetectable performance enhancer.

The “Age Doesn’t Matter” Bowl – Kirby Allen (Redneck Racing Series) vs. Zach Stroupe (Pro
Challenge) – Redneck Racing Series champion Kirby Allen likely has food in his refrigerator older than Zach Stroupe, but Allen’s age and wisdom will still match up well to the youthful excitement of the 14-year-old Pro Challenge Carolinas Region champ Stroupe.  Allen probably has car parts on his #44 Redneck Racer older than Stroupe, for that matter.  Stroupe had the bigger year, however, with his Carolinas crown, Pro Challenge Rookie of the Year, Most Popular Driver and second-place in National Points titles.  Based on sheer energy, Stroupe is our guy in this one.

Outback Bowl - Benny Gordon (Pro Cup North) vs. Matt Hawkins (GAS, ASALM) – On the track, both succeeded in 2006, but if Hawkins is going to have a shot to take down the Pro Cup North champion, he’s going to have to eat at his local Outback to bulk up a bit.  The super-skinny Hawkins won the Snowflake 100 as well as a couple of Georgia Asphalt Series events, but the pudgy Gordon went pretty much unrivaled in the Pro Cup North division.  Based on pure size and brawn (just ask Jeff Fultz’s team), Gordon should take this one pretty easily.
Ryan Crane may be short in stature, but he's a giant in the SLM world
Bad Hair Day Bowl – Landon Cassill (SLM) vs. Corey LaJoie (Pro Challenge) – If Shaggy from Scooby Doo was a racecar driver, he’d be spitting images of these two drivers.  Cassill won races on all three ASA Late Model divisions in 2006, but ever since he chopped his locks late in the year, he’s struggled.  He didn’t fare well at Nashville and was a no-show at Pensacola for the Snowball Derby, a race he nearly won last year.  LaJoie kept his grunge-rock look all year and it won him a bunch of Pro Challenge Carolinas Region events.  Until Cassill goes back to the long hair, LaJoie remains the best of the bad hair.

“We Couldn’t Think Of Any Where Else To Put Them” Bowl – Rip Michaels (SWS) vs. Gary Lewis
(NWS) – These two NASCAR Touring Series champions are two guys we want to see play in the post-season,
Corey LaJoie's hair brought him several Pro Challenge victories this season, now it's time to see if it can help him win in a bowl game.
no bowls wanted to invite them, so we just made our own.  And since they are both on the West Coast, we’ll play the Bowl in Lakeland, Florida.  Both have their loyal followings in their respective regions, which could make this one of the most interesting matchups of the post-season.  We’ll take Michaels.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP BOWLS

Fiesta Bowl - Tim McCreadie (Dirt LM) vs. Scott Hantz (CRA) – The first of the championship bowls puts the WoO Dirt Late Model Champoin up against the CRA Super Series Champoin.  “T-Mac” has been a hot commodity in the NASCAR world and is now probably going to RCR, where Hantz is a life-timer in the Super Late Models.  Both are fast and both seem to get the job done, albeit if different ways.  McCreadie is the more “NY Hardcore” (as his website proclaims), while Hantz gets the job done quietly.  This might be the most intriguing matchup of the entire bowl schedule.

Orange Bowl – Philip Morris (NASCAR Weekly) vs. Tim Schendel (MWS) – A battle of NASCAR Champions should draw the people to the Orange Bowl.  Morris won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Championship, while Schendel was the NASCAR Midwest Series Champ, in addition to winning the Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale.  Morris will continue to build his impressive Weekly Racing Series stats in 2007, while Schendel will look for new places to run.  Schendel has proven to be versatile, but Morris’ countless wins and steady future give him a three-point advantage.

Sugar Bowl - Junior Miller (SMT) vs. Mike Rowe (PASS South) – This is a battle for the older, more veteran crowd.  Of all of champions in 2006, these two “senior citizens” had their way with the younger crowd.  Miller took it to the Myers brothers, LW Miller and a host of others at both Bowman Gray Stadium (he became the
Philip Morris (#26) was the best NASCAR Weekly Series driver, but he'll have his hands full with fellow NASCAR Champ Tim Schendel in the Orange Bowl.
all-time wins leader at the Stadium) and on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.  Rowe beat out young gun Ryan Lawler and several others to win the first ever PASS South title, while also finishing second in the PASS North points.  We’re giving the edge to Rowe in this battle of geriatrics. 

Rose Bowl – Frank Kimmel (ARCA) vs. Donny Schatz (WoO) – A battle of two drivers that beat up on their competition pretty bad this year, earning them rights to play in the “second biggest” bowl game of the year.  Maybe their competition wasn’t the best, but they still put up some impressive numbers.  Kimmel won by over 200 points in ARCA competition and had seven more top-fives than anyone else.  Schatz’s numbers were even more impressive (winning title by nearly 400 points, earning 17 wins, 11 more than his closest competition), albeit a little biased thanks to the WoO and National Sprint Tour split.  In this matchup though, we’re going with Kimmel.
Bowl always attracts local flavor.  And, its sponsored by a fast food company with great food.  So there is no better matchup than Southeast Series and Super Late Model driver Jason Hogan vs. this year’s Legends Series breakout Casey Roderick.  Both are from Georgia, and everyone knows Hogan likes to eat, so that makes this matchup one to watch. 

Las Vegas Bowl - Matt Hirschman (Mods) vs. Ryan Lawler (PASS South) – While we at 51 don’t condone wagering, if you were going to place bets on who two of the “next big things” in racing were going to be, the safe money would be on these young talents.  Hirschman broke out of his five-time Mod Tour Champion father’s shadow in 2006, racing well to the RoC Mod North title and two huge year-end victories in the North-South Shootout and Mason-Dixon Meltdown.  Lawler seemingly came out of nowhere and in his first season in a Super Late Model, nearly took the PASS South championship on the back of his first victory in the series.  Hirschman showed the most prowess late in the year, though, winning those two races while Lawler wrecked at SoBo and struggled in Irwindale, so Hirschman gets the nod in this one.
Dairy Queen Bowl – Johhny Brazier (SLM) vs. Cassius Clark (PASS North) – Yes, it’s the Dairy Queen Bowl… or better referred to as the DQ Bowl.  Brazier got an automoatic berth in the bowl (and will likely get the automatic win) after getting DQed in post-race tech following his victory in the Snowball Derby.  His opponent is Cassius Clark, who never technically got DQed, but had several point and monetary fines and almost had wins taken away from him in PASS North competition following motor “issues.”  Brazier gets the nod here, because he needs to win something.

Chick-fil-A Bowl – Jason Hogan (SES) vs. Casey Roderick (Legends) – Sent in the Georgia Dome, this
Johnny Brazier had the win taken away...he's out for revenge in the DQ Bowl
BCS National Championship - Clay Rogers (Pro Cup) vs. Kelly Bires (ASA Cha.) – In our National Championship game, we put two of the best of the year together in one event for an all-out slugfest.   Rogers won both the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division Championship and overall National Championship.  He won seven events, earned 15 top-fives in 21 starts and his team even won the Pit Crew Challenge.  After all that was said and done, he also won the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.  Bires went on to win eight races with his WalTom Racing team in the ASA Challenge Series and ASA Late Model North Series.  Bires also went out in an independent show and beat the likes of Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart in a race at Madison earlier
Clay Rogers' season included championships in the Pro Cup and the Snowball Derby.  Can a 51 BCS National Title in the works as well?
this year.  He was so good, the Wood Brothers signed him on as a development driver for 2007.  The race could be a slugfest, with two great teams backing to great drivers, but we’re going to go with the experience of Rogers.