51’s PRELIM SHORT TRACK DRAFT – AND FANTASY GAME
Eight Teams Chose Their Drivers, Wait For Results
- With the 1st pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team One selects Matt Hawkins from the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. Team Owner’s Outlook: “This fact may be forgotten someday down the road when the kid is big-time but, Mike Garvey was the man that molded him from a “maybe” into a “somebody” on the racing map. The proof came with the Snowflake 100 win and a win in his first Pro Cup Start.”
- With the 2nd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Two selects Bobby Santos from the Open-Wheel and ARCA ranks. Team Owner’s Outlook: “A lot of people might not agree, but we believe that he is a modern-day Ted Christopher. He can win in anything and he’s our number one pick.”
- With the 3rd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Three selects Texas-native Ryan Lawler from the Super Late Model world. Team Owner’s Outlook: “Young, he’s smart behind the wheel, he’s aggressive enough to win, he’s well-spoken, he’s learning all about how racecars are constructed (from the masterful Robert Hamke) and most of all – he can win.”
- With the 4th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Four selects Colt James from the ASA Late Model Challenge Series. Team Owner’s Outlook: “He’s been an undiscovered talent till now – a sleeper like Colston from New Orleans last year that will score big time dividends."
- With the 5th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Five selects, from the Modified Tour, driver James Civali. Team Owner’s Outlook: “At a young age, he’s personable and friendly outside the car, but a fierce competitor inside. That’s what we’re looking for in the future of our team.
- With the 6th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Six selects Andy Seuss from the Modified ranks. Team Owner’s Outlook: “Andy won at Nashville and is solid wherever he goes... North or South. He’s exactly what we want in a driver.”
- With the 7th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Seven selects Busch East Series competitor Sean Caisse. Team Owner’s Outlook: “He’s just my personal pick. He’s young, and if he shows patience and takes care of his stuff, he’ll be a dead ringer for a championship and a future shot.”
Maybe a surprise to some, but Matt Hawkins was the top-pick in the 2007 Prelim Short Track Draft.
- With the 8th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Eight selects USAR Pro Cup driver Woody Howard. Team Owner’s Outlook: “Woody might be a little under the radar and he needs to become a little more personable, but there is no doubting his driving talents and that is why we want to take him in the first round for our team.”
SECOND ROUND (PICKS 9-16)
- With the 9th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Eight selects Super Late Model driver Chuck Barnes Jr. “Chuck is still so damn talented, but never seems to get the right opportunities. He went out and won an ARCA race with a low-budget team. If he can do that, he’ll perform great with out high-dollar team.”
- With the 10th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Seven selects Ben Rowe from the PASS Super Late Model Touring Series. “Ben might be a little bit older, but that doesn’t make him any less of a driver. I think he’s the most underrated driver in the Northeast and that makes me want to give him a shot.”
Woody Howard was the final pick of the first round in our draft, and he's got the hardware to show it.
- With the 11th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Six selects Super Late Model and ARCA competitor Tim Russell. “He’s got dominating in Florida down. Now, we would like to see what he could do out of the state.”
- With the 12th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Five selects Clay Rogers, former USAR Hooters Pro Cup champion. "He conquered Pro Cup South, should do the same up North this year. He’s the leader of our team with plenty of short track success under his belt."
- With the 13th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Four selects USAR Pro Cup and Modified driver Brandon Ward. ":He’s been good in everything he has driven and he’s got the look to boot."
- With the 14th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Three selects Canadian Super Late Model driver Patrick Laperle. “The best Canadian import since Molson. He’s very aggressive and great to watch.”
- With the 15th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Two selects Jason Hogan, Super Late Model driver. “Jason is getting older and older, but we still think he’s got the total package both on the racetrack and off of it. He’s still very high on our list.”
- With the 16th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team One selects ASA Late Model Series driver Travis Dassow. “Remember, Dassow is only 20 and with the master Howie Lettow’s tutelage, the future for the kid who cut his teeth at Wisconsin’s Slinger Speedway is REAL bright.”
THIRD ROUND (PICKS 17-24)
- With the 17th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team One selects Modified driver Matt Hirschman. “The real deal! Has all his dad’s talents but is a more savvy-media friendly version of the champ. He’s a champion in ROC. He’s a championship crew chief as well. This kid deserves a shot.”
- With the 18th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Two selects open-wheel driver Bryan Clauson. “Clauson finished second in his first ARCA start at Lakeland, which isn’t an easy place. He’s still got some work to do, but he’s worth the time and effort for out team.”
- With the 19th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Three selects Andrew Myers from the West Series. “Consistent, smart behind and the wheel and overlooked out on the left coast.”
- With the 20th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Four selects Derek Thorn from the ASA Late Model Challenge Series. "See Brandon Ward, plus thorn looks a lot like Nortre Dame’s Brady Quinn, only we think he can quarterback a lot better."
- With the 21st pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Five selects RCR Development Driver and WoO Late Model star Tim McCreadie. "He may be older, but he’s got \
kid-like looks and can drive the wheels off a car on dirt and drove his West ride for
RCR like a dirt car to a top-10 finish. He’ll bring the fans from the dirt side over to our team."
- With the 22nd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Six selects Pro Cup rookie Frank Deiny Jr. “He’s been solid so far in Pro Cup and won at Myrtle Beach in the fall. He might need a little PR work, but he’s got the talent.”
- With the 23rd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Seven selects defending West
Andrew Myers was taken by team three in the third round of our draft.
Series champion Eric Holmes. “Eric is a young guy and a proven champion. When I’ve seen him race, I’ve liked what I’ve seen and I think he’s got the total package. Plus, he’s great on the bigger tracks.”
- With the 24th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Eight selects former Legends standout and Busch East winner Tim Andrews. “Tim doesn’t race that much, but when he does, people stand up and pay attention. Winning at Dover did wonders for his career last year and we’re ready to give him a full-time shot.”
FOURTH ROUND (PICKS 25-32)
- With the 25th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Eight selects Super Late Model driver Josh Hamner. “We still think Hamner needs more seat time, but with the more time he gets, the better he is getting as well. We let him test some and we think he could be a steal here in the fourth round.”
- With the 26th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Seven selects West Series rookie David Mayhew. “This is really based on my seeing him at Phoenix earlier this year. He showed he can drive a big track with the new soft setups that they run. And he did it with a family team, one car and one motor.”
- With the 27th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Six selects Cassius Clark from the PASS Super Late Model Series. “He’s won numerous SLM races in the last couple of years and looks poised to do it again now that his team is set to go for the PASS North Championship.
- With the 28th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Five selects Modified standout Jimmy Blewett. "Dominated Speedweeks, including the Evans Memorial, plus won an SK race at Thompson last week. Call him “Showtime” or “The People’s Champ,” he adds a ton of character and personality to our team. If we can let him be “Showtime,” but keep the reins on him a bit, he’ll be a superstar."
- With the 29th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Four selects Super Late Model driver Nathan Haseleu. "He’s been there (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) and he’s back. He’s got plenty of talent and reminds us a lil of Mark Martin."
- With the 30th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Three selects Super Late Model driver Ryan Crane. “Underrated talent who has won big in the tough Southeastern Super Late Model ranks. He’s college-educated and just as smart outside of the car as in it.”
- With the 31st pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Two selects Josh Wise from the USAC ranks. “We are a huge fan of Josh now that he’s gotten more stock car experience. Coupled with his ability to wheel a sprint car, he’s a sure fit for our future teams plans.”
- With the 32nd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team One selects open wheel standout Darren Hagen. “Wheel man…bottom line. Whether its dirt or asphalt Hagen can get it done for a young pup. Good young man as well.”
Cassius Clark was a fourth-round draft pick. Will that be a steal?
FIFTH ROUND (PICKS 33-40)
- With the 33rd pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team One selects Modified driver Donny Lia. “Lia lost stock because of a tough year in 2006, but he didn’t lose his god-given talent during that time. Still needs polishing and confidence outside of the car.”
- With the 34th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Two selects former Midwest Series champion Tim Schendel. “Tim has proven that he can drive a car whether its light or heavy and he can drive it well. He might be getting older, but that doesn’t stop his talent.”
- With the 35th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Three selects PASS Super Late Model driver Corey Williams. “If desire, determination talent and the right attitude, instead of a large checkbook, would be the keys to getting a good ride, you would see Williams in a development deal by now.”
Every year, drivers, team members and fans look forward to the annual Short Track Draft here on Speed51.com. Then, last year, Speed51.com introduced a new feature before the official draft was announced, the NFL-style “live” Prelim Draft. This year, the Prelim Draft is back… with a twist. Now, its taken on a little bit more of a fantasy role.
We sat down eight actual members of the Speed51.com draft panel (comprised of Speed51.com staff members, media members, NASCAR insiders, talent scouts and others) and let them draft a true team, one at a time. Like a real draft, when one driver was gone, he was gone. The theme behind the draft was simple. They are the owner of a NASCAR team (either Cup, Busch or Truck). They get five drivers, an alternate (used if a regular member of the team gets injured or moves up to the “big leagues” during the season), two “underclassman” (a development driver under the age of 18) and a coach to lead their drivers. And a reminder that this was a team you were building for the future, not full of veterans. These had to be full-time (or majority) Short Track drivers.
However, this year, the teams will be followed all year long. Each driver on each team, along with the underclassman and the coaches, will earn points based on where they finish. The best 15 finishes for each driver will be counted, and points will be earned. At the end of the season, we’ll see which team’s drivers had the best season.
Because of this new wrinkle, a few team’s decisions changed. A couple of drivers might have gotten drafted higher had they planned to race more, or if their 2007 decisions were a little clearer.
A random “draft order” was determined, and Team One was one the clock.
FIRST ROUND (PICKS 1-8)
- With the 36th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Four selects Alex Yontz from the UARA Late Model Series. "His draft value has dropped a bunch after not qualifying for a UARA race recently, but he did win the biggest LMSC event of them all – the 300-lapper at Martinsville last fall."
- With the 37th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Five selects Modified driver Woody Pitkat. "One of the most successful short track racers in ’06 with titles at two historic and competitive tracks, Thompson and Stafford. He’s young and talented. NASCAR should wake up to this kid and realize he’s one of the few drivers that actually came up through their Weekly Series ladder and should help him get into the Grand National divisions now."
- With the 38th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Six selects Georgia driver and GAS regular Bubba Pollard. “Every team needs a guy named Bubba. He’s a contender every week, just steps away from his next win.”
- With the 39th pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Seven selects UARA driver Kevin Leicht. “Leicht has proven to be consistent and he comes from a pretty good family of racers.”
- With the 40th and final pick of the 2007 Prelim Draft, Team Eight selects Justin Larson from the Goodyear Challenge Series. “Larson is our wild card. We’ve not heard a lot about him, but we like his look and we think he could be a big part of the future of Team Eight.”
Alex Yontz has a grandfather clock and that is enough to get him selected by one of out teams.
ALTERNATES (not drafted in order listed)
- Team One selects Dirt Late Model driver Jeremy Clements as its alternate. “Natural talent shines through nearly beating high-dollar Cup level teams at Daytona this year. I’m shocked he hasn’t gotten the call.”
- Team Two selects Northwest standout Travis Bennett as its alternate. “Travis still isn’t known because he’s on the Left Coast. But his laid back style and his cool demeanor make him our wild card.”
- Team Three selects Alan Tardiff from the PASS North Series as its alternate. “Many people have never heard of him, but what he does with almost no budget and a family-owned team is impressive. Actually, it is more than impressive. It is nearly impossible.”
- Team Four selects PASS North driver Travis Benjamin as its alternate. "Just like this kid and have a hunch that if given a shot with a lil backing, he could break-out big time."
- Team Five selects West Series regular Brian Ickler as its alternate. "Can drive, but needs one more year of running up front in the West Series to break out. He’ll get it this year running for McInally."
- Team Six selects former NASCAR Southeast Series champion JR Norris as its alternate. “He won in almost everything he has ever run. Now, he just needs a chance.”
- Team Seven selects ACT champion Jean Paul-Cyr as is alternate. “He’s a multi-time champion, and there is something to be said about that. He’s consistent and that is what it takes to win championships in the big leagues these days.”
- Team Eight selects John Freeman, from the Busch East Series, as its alternate. “Freeman is getting used to the big cars of the Busch East Series. Now that he has another year under his belt, he’ll be even more of a factor.”
UNDERCLASSMEN (not drafted in order listed)
- Team One selects Legends driver Casey Roderick and Pro Challenge and Super Late Model driver Zach Stroupe as its two underclassmen. “Wow! Roderick may be a boy, but he sure was the man in Legends Car competition in 2006. Stroupe is a talented kid who moved from the Legends ranks to Pro Challenge, took wins and a title with the poise of a veteran; and without tearing up equipment.”
- Team Two selects Super Late Model racer Hunter Robbins and NASCAR Grand National Division driver Marc Davis as its two underclassmen. “Hunter has already proved to be better than most people twice his age. He is our team’s future. Marc has been on the fact track and will shine in Grand National cars.”
- Team Three selects Late Model rookie DJ Shaw and Super Late Model up-and-comer Joey Pole as its two underclassmen. “With DJ, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – like his father Dale Shaw, he is equal parts racer and racecar builder. You haven’t heard much from Joey yet, but you will. He won the pole for the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, led laps there and contended for the victory. Teenagers aren’t supposed to do that at a place where experience is key.”
- Team Four selects Pro Challenge and Bandolero driver Nick Stroupe and PASS Super Late Model driver Derek Ramstrom as its two underclassmen. "Nick is 11-years-old and doing well in Pro Challenge Series against people nearly three times his age – wow! Plus he smoked the field in Bandos last year – good long range pick. And he’s got good bloodlines too. Derek was the PASS Outlaws champ last year and ran well in limited Super Late Model events too. He’s a lil small in stature, but unlike football, size doesn’t matter on racetracks of America.
- Team Five selects Pro Challenge racer Kyle Mitchell and Pro Cup and ARCA driver James Buescher as its two underclassmen. "Kyle Mitchell has proven nearly unbeatable in Pro Challenge so far this year against stiff competition. Buescher won the ASA South title and an ARCA race already. We just hope he’s not peaking too early."
- Team Six selects Matt DiBendetto from the UARA Series and Ty Dillon from the Legends ranks as its two underclassmen. “DiBendetto has shocked all of us and as a rookie, is the UARA point leader. He is young, fast and strong. Dillon has the genes, being Richard Childress’ grandson, and is tearing up the Legends ranks.”
- Team Seven selects Busch East Series competitor Joey Logano and Pro Cup driver Trevor Bayne as its two underclassmen. “Joey is a no-brainer pick. We think he’s the best out there in any age range. His stats speak for themselves and he’s a great kid to boot. Trevor is still learning, but he’s proving that even at a young age, he can handle the heavier cars with ease.”
- Team Eight selects Travis Cope from the Super Late Model world and GAS regular Kyle Fowler as its two underclassmen. “Cope has the lineage of a great and determined short track family and that will carry him into the future. Fowler isn’t very well known, but he’s a great driver. He’ll be one to look at in the future and we think he’s a great development driver for out team.”
COACHES (not drafted in order listed)
- Team One selects former Busch East champion Andy Santerre as its coach. “One of the most underrated drivers in NASCAR history, he has turned into a master teacher in one year. He was able to tame wild Sean Caisse into a bonified superstar in the Busch East Series.”
- Team Two selects Robert Hamke, the noted car builder and crew chief, as its coach. “Robert knows the cars and then he knows how to teach his drivers. He might be kind of crabby, but he makes his drivers winners and that is what we need.”
- Team Three selects Modified owner Don King as its coach. “Don King’s #28’s team isn’t the biggest operation on the Tour, but they have become one of the best thanks to his way with up and coming drivers.”
- Team Four selects noted crew chief Howie Lettow as its coach. "Does he really need a comment – this guy has won regular season games, playoff contests and the Super Bowl championship with several different teams. Nothing can slow down knowledge, dedication and leadership skills. Howie Lettow is the Vince Lombardi of short track racing."
- Team Five selects former ASA National Champion Butch Miller as its coach. "it comes to short track racing, Miller is king.. He’s shown the way for several young drivers for SS Racing in the last few years while still keeping fresh behind the wheel himself, but he’s got a young star in the making Sean Murphy in his stable now that could be a contender in the ASALM ranks this year."
- Team Six selects Mike Garvey, current crew chief and racer, as its coach. “Did you see what he did with Matt Hawkins over the last year? That tells you how smart this guy is That is what our team needs to succeed.”
Andy Santerre (left) is one of the best coaches in all of short track racing.
- Team Seven selects noted short track veteran Freddie Query as its coach. “Freddie is one of the kings of Southern Short Track Racing. With what he’s done with Brian Scott in one year is pretty damn good and shows how good of a coach he can be.”
- Team Eight selects Super Late Model standout Wayne Anderson as its coach. “Wayne is pretty new to the coaching world because he can still drive a racecar, but with what he’s done with the Seigs, and knowing he’ll have to start coaching his own kids soon, makes him a pretty valuable tool to our team.”