Top-51 Picks from Short Track World by Panel of 15
14) Josh Wise (USAC) – Another of Tony Stewart’s protégés, Wise is the hottest “up-and-coming star,” in the open wheel ranks. Wise started racing for the Tony Stewart Racing in 2004 and, in 2005, finished in the top-five in all three of USAC’s National divisions. In that, he won the championship run in the National Midget Car Series, which was a feat, being the first driver since 1997 to win a National Midget championship driving for an owner other than Steve Lewis. Now, Wise is finally looking toward stock cars, as he’ll be making his debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Winchester Speedway this coming weekend in one of the Dodge Development cars. Again though…his downfall could be he’s just another Sprint Car driver.
15) Cassius Clark (PASS North) – Loads of talent, but still trying to figure out exactly what to do with it. He’s the Marcus Vick (Michael’s little brother who was kicked out of Virginia Tech this year) of short track racing. He’s a shy, skinny little kid who likes to have a good time and go fast. Some of those qualities can get you in trouble from time to time. If someone could just polish him up a little bit, his talent would shine through and the driver development programs will come calling. If the 24-year-old does settle down this year, he’s got a good shot at knocking Mike Rowe, Johnny Clark and Ben Rowe off their thrones in PASS North. Winning the season opening race at Oxford on Saturday night is a good first step in that direction.
16) Peter Sheppard (Super Late Models & Whatever Else) – He’s like this year’s number-one pick in the NFL Draft, already signed before the draft actually happens. The Canadian is property of Roush Racing. He was a surprise in last year’s Gong Show and Roush saw enough potential in him to sign him up. He’s been a star in CASCAR and the Maritime Pro Stocks, now he’s going to run anything the 20-year-old can as evident by his seventh-place finish in Carl Edwards’ USAC Silver Crown car a couple weeks ago. He’s polite and personable, but not enough is known about the Canadian just yet to give him an accurate evaluation.
Josh Wise is a Sprint Car ace.
Here is a list of the remainder of picks 11-26 in this year's Short Track Draft.
17) Jay Middleton (Super Late Models & ASA LM) – A lot of people think this kid is spoiled. But the truth of the matter is that while he may have a little bling in his racing machines, Middleton is as common as a kid as anyone you’ll meet. He and one other guy work on his racecars themselves. He’s got it all on the track; the savvyness to win championships and the strength to pull into victory lane. The 21-year-old was the Florida Pro Late Model champ a few years back and looked really good on the big tracks of the now defunct ASA Nat’l Tour two years ago. Now he’s back to the Super Late Model world and is a big draw no matter where he goes, especially in Florida. His personable nature will go a long ways in helping him on the corporate side, but he still has that baby face that makes him appear even younger than he is. That’s not a bad problem to have.
Jay Middleton is a top-20 pick for sure.
18) Matt Hirschman (RoC & NASCAR Modifieds) – This may the shock of the draft so far. Hirschman won the Race of Champions Modified Trail title last year and is beginning to make his presence felt with the big boys of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The 23-year-old has plenty of seasoning left ahead of him, but he’s got a good shoulder to lean on. His father is five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champ Tony Hirschman. If you look in the cockpit of Matt’s car, with the helmet on, you can’t tell the difference between father and son. They share the same intense determination. In fact, he reminds us of Kenny and Brandon Bernstein with the NHRA groundpounders. In this case, success will breed success, but it may take a year or so.
19) Auggie Vidovich (NASCAR Southwest Series) – Vidovich has worn out the NASCAR garage as much as much as Reggie Busch wore out defenders in the PAC 10 last year. He’s small in stature (if he’s 5’4” we’d be surprised), but he’s feisty inside a racecar. He may have shaken as many hands and kissed as many babies in the Cup garage as anybody else in the past couple years, but that hasn’t given him the break he’s looking for. One Cup scout told us, some guys just don’t cut it on the corporate side for one reason or another and hinted this may be the bad rap on the 24-year-old Vidovich. We’re sure he’d like to be given the chance to prove them wrong
20) Andy Seuss (True Value Modified Series) – If Seuss was a running back coming out of college, he’d be referred to as a blue-collar back. He’s not fancy, but he fits the mold of Memphis running back Deangelo Williams, who was taken by the Carolina Panthers. Both are tough-nosed and dedicated players willing to do anything to get the job done. Seuss did just that on a limited budget last year by winning his first True Value Modified Series main event. To top that off, the 19-year-old went down to New Smyrna Speedway during Florida Speedweeks and stole the Modified title from the likes of Ted Christopher, Donny Lia, Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers. He may still have that New England brogue, but he can, “Get Er Done” as they say in the South.
21) Jeremy Clements (ARCA & Dirt Late Models) – This kid has overcome a bunch and is as versatile as Tim McCreadie, who was taken 15-spots ahead of him in the draft. Just a
Andy Seuss' Speedweeks championship has put him on the lists of several key individuals.
couple of years ago, Clements was driving his Dirt Late Model when a driveshaft broke and came through the cockpit and nearly severed his hand. After nearly a year of rehabilitation, the 21-year-old is back and as bad as ever. Just a couple of weeks ago, Clements was running right up front in his ARCA car at Nashville amongst the driver development teams… and he was doing it all with his own, family-owned team.
22) Burt Myers (NASCAR Modifieds) – He comes from a great racing heritage in the south. His family has been around for years and Burt is trying to keep the family name going. He’s been the only guy to unseat Southern Modified “Kingpin” Junior Miller in the last half a decade. He’s funny as hell and a good racer to boot. In fact, he matured a bunch on the track during the past couple seasons. And he’s bilingual. He can speak both English and Southern at the drop of a dime. Myers needs some work, but his finesse behind the wheel speaks for itself. He just needs to get himself into a full-bodied stock car to break the long-standing stigma of being a Southern Modified driver.
23) Tim Russell (FASCAR & Super Late Models) – At the end of last year the kid would have been on everybody’s top-10 list. His stock has fallen after a rough run in the Daytona ARCA event and the team’s struggles to grasp a Super Late Model. In a Pro Late Model, he set Florida on fire last year by winning 10 out of 14 races. He face is chiseled like a young Harrison Ford and his foot loves to go to the floorboard. Nextel Cup star Mark Martin thinks he’s a hell of a shoe too. He’s already got the attention of Ganassi Racing, but as of right now he’s still a free agent. The 23-year-old He needs someone to hold his hand to help him advance and make the right moves.
24) Woody Howard (Hooters Pro Cup) – His shirt reads property of Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR loves tapping the Late Model Stock Car world and have been successful with that approach. Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola are indications of that. Woody Howard, 24, is their latest Late Model Stock Car project. They have him competing in the Pro Cup Northern Division this year, but in ’05, his rookie season, he did impress people by pulling into victory lane not once, not twice but three times. Eventually, he finished fourth in the final championship standings and earned the coveted Rookie of the Year title.
25) Ben Rowe (PASS North) – Ben Rowe is the Peyton Manning of New England’s Super Late Model ranks. He is the son of a famous player (legendary short tracker
Mike Rowe is his dad) and he scores nearly every time he hits the track. He’s won two PASS North titles in the last three years and a bunch of races too. He probably will never get a shot at NASCAR’s “Big-Three,” but it’s not because he couldn’t get the job done. Benji is a big boy with a heck of a Maine accent, but one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s getting up there in the age bracket (31), but we’ll be talking about him for years to come in the New England racing ranks.
26) Johnny Clark (PASS North) – The guy that beat Rowe for the PASS North title two years ago was Johnny Clark. He’s a lot like Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Nobody ever heard of him until recently, but he’s got the toughness to make it in the biz. The 26-year-old was part of Roush Racing’s Gong Show last year and many were impressed with he driving talents, but not as much with his off-track demeanor. Smooth out his rough edges and keep the New England beard off him and he’s still got a shot at making it to the big time.
to the top-10 and he’s on the Dodge Development program in ARCA. Chase Miller has got the right qualities; talent, patience, maturation and good looks, now he just needs time to prove how good he really can be. He looked mighty good at Nashville’s ARCA event a couple weeks ago and with the guidance of Eddie Sharp, we think the 19-year-old could win one before the year is out.
13) J.R. Norris (NASCAR Southeast Series & Super Late Models) – His stock has bounced more than a bad check in the past year. Right now, the 26-year-old is back on the rise. He won the Southeast Series opener Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and he won a Midwest Series race at The Milwaukee Mile last year. He’s really good on the big tracks too, as evident by his two victories in the Southeast Series on mile-and-a-half speedways. You either love him or hate him. NASCAR likes the kid a lot, but competing in Richie Wauters Super Late Models the past two years has hurt him because everyone expects him to win every time out with that stellar equipment.
11) Charlie Bradberry (Super Late Models) – He hasn’t slipped much despite a limited number of races and bad decisions during the past couple of years. The 22-year-old skipped out on the final race of the BAMA Super Series last year while leading the point chase, only to DNQ in sub par Busch Series equipment in Phoenix (AZ). He needs to get out of Alabama and win some Super Late Model races in other areas to build back his stature. He’s got the makings of a number-one pick if he makes the right decisions.
12) Chase Miller (ARCA) – He has surprised everyone in a year’s time. In fact, one year ago he wasn’t even listed on our Short Track Draft; now he’s inching closer