Short Track Power - A Speed51.com Exclulsive
Newbies and Veterans Share The Spotlight This Time Around
It's time once again for Speed51.com semi-regular Short Track Power rankings. Our panel of experts, which includes Speed51.com staffers and plenty of outside opinions from other journalists, series officials, industry experts, promoters and knowledgeable observes submits their top picks for the feature and we tabulate the results for a hard, cold list of who's been racy in the realm of short track racing.
This is very much a “What have you done for us lately?” kind of thing where wins or plenty of points alone don't clinch a good spot. It takes a display of pure raw power - over one's competitors and equipment to rank well.
This time, we have a very interesting and diverse list with first-timers and power veterans each taking some of the limelight. While our experts' top choice was clear, the rest of the list was pretty close. So we expended it from our normal top 10 to a top 20 tally. Without any further ado, here it is:
6. Austin Dillon (CW East), 10.9 Rating - As a rookie, Austin Dillon currently leads the NASCAR Camping World East Series standings. He won in his first series start thanks to a tech issue with his teammate, Peyton Sellers, but a win is a win right?
7. Dale Planck (DIRT Mods), 11.3 Rating - Talk about the resurgence of a career. When he was just a young man he won back-to-back NASCAR Winston Racing Series Northeast Region titles and seemed to be on the fast track to a stellar career. Then he fell into obscurity, now he's a kingpin off to a fast start on the Advance Auto Parts Super Dirt Series and winning big in Big Block DIRTcar Modified competition. Planck is getting down and dirty this year by beating some of DIRTCar's biggest names.
8. Jay Middleton (ASA SAT) 11.4 Rating - Middleton has found a home on the RC Cola/ Moon Pie ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour. He is the only drive to win multiple races in the tour's first season - with a pair of victories to his name so far.
9. Bubba Pollard (GAS and SLM) 11.7 Rating - Two Georgia Asphalt Series victories and a win in the Miller Lite SLM Series at Mobile International Raceway has made Pollard a powerful racer so far in 2008.
Brian Ickler has been walking tall int he NASCAR Camping World East Series - and is ranked high here as a result. (NASCAR Photo)
10. Ben Rowe (PASS), 11.8 Rating - In 2008, Rowe is splitting his time between the PASS North and South divisions. While Rowe hasn't been stellar in the South division, he has been strong in the North. He is the only driver to finish in the top five in all three races this season and has a victory at White Mountain. He leads the points there.
11. Jim Pettit, III (SRL), 11.9 Rating - Nice guy Jim Pettit has been running up front out West for years now. This year, he's making his mark in the Flashco SRL Wild West Series with a pair of victories in just three starts so far.
12. Scott Payea (ACT), 12.4 Rating - For his efforts in trying to dethrone multi-time ACT Late Model champion Jean Paul Cyr, Payea has been recognized by our panel. He received one first-place vote for winning two races in the ultra-competitive ACT ranks.
13. Dave Minegar (RMCS), 12.5 Rating - Dave Minegar has been a terror in the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series. In three races, he has set fast time three times. The series inverts 20 for each race with the fast guy in the back. Still, Minegar has won two of his three races. His other finish was a fourth.
14. Dan Frederickson (ASA MW), 12.6 Rating - There is some tough competition this year on the ASA Midwest Tour, but Frederickson has stood out among the crowd. He won at Madison and currently leads the standings.
15. Corey Williams (PASS South), 12.7 Rating - In four PASS South starts, he has one victory and leads the points standings, mainly due to having three top-five finishes (best of all drivers in the series). He also won the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory back in March.
Welcome to the Tower of Power Scott Payea! (51 Photo)
16. Eric Holmes (CW West), 12.9 Rating - What does a West Coast guy have to do to earn some respect around here? Holmes has won three of the five NASCAR Camping World West Series races contested this year, but didn't crack the top 10 in the Tower of Power!
17. Trevor Sanborn (PASS), 13.0 Rating - Trevor Sanborn might have been the most powerful driver in the recent PASS North race at White Mountain, but a driver who had just been lapped decided to make a point and take him out of the race. Sanborn wrecked instead of won, but the sting didn't last long. Instead of moping around, Sanborn just went to the PASS South show at Orange County and took down the win on one very hot night.
18. Donny Schatz (WoO Sprints), 13.1 Rating - Dominated the WoO in Ohio and then Knoxville while driving for 'Smoke'. He's been on a roll and probably won't look back.
19. Jake Crum (UARA-STARS), 13.2 Rating - Crum is the current points leader in a tough division. He has many top five finishes and won the historic 100th series UARA-STARS race. He is a threat to win every time out.
20. (Tie) Jeff Choquette (SLM) - Choquette started out the season by winning Speedfest and the New Smyrna championship. He cooled off a little bit lately, but he's still a major threat every time he tows to a racetrack.
20. (Tie) Clint King (Pro Challenge) - King is second in PC National points, but he has five wins against the toughest of all Pro Challenge competition.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (received a high number of votes from our panel, but not enough to top the list)
Kirk Alexander (Mods) - There have been only two True Value Modified Racing Series features this season that didn't end with Kirk Alexander in victory lane. He's won at Monadnock, Lee and Thunder Road. He skipped one race and finished in the top five of the other one. Obviously, he has mastered the series.
Tim Brown (Mods) - Brown is making Bowman Gray Stadium his personal playground in 2008.
Brian Campbell (ASA LM) - A thrilling (and winning) performance in last weekend's ASA Late Model Challenge Series race at Berlin raceway turned some heads.
Dale Caswell (IMCA) - Last year's IMCA Eastern Region Champion is a young talented kid who has won close to 100 features in his career, over 50 last year and this year, he's already racked up close to 10 wins and we're not out of June yet. He's also the defending IMCA Empire Series Modified Champion.
Chuck Hossfeld (Mods) - Hossfeld has returned to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this year and already earned one race victory aboard the Mystic Missile. It likely won't be he only one of 2008.
Gary Lewis - Lewis has won in both the ARCA West Circle K Series and on the ASA Northwest Tour.
LW Miller (Mods) - Miller already has a pair of NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victories in '08 and leads the points early in that series' season.
Ricky Rolfe (LM) - Rolfe, a popular car builder and driver, won two straight Late Model features in the competitive Oxford Plains Speedway weekly ranks and he slayed the touring giants by winning the ACT race there in the spring.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (ARCA) - As the only multi-time winner in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, we'd say that he has adapted to asphalt from dirt pretty well.
Zach Stroupe (SLM) - Stroupe has made himself right at home in Super Late Models this year by winning the PASS South race at Motor Mile and running strong in the RC Cola/Moon Pie ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour as well.
Chuck Hossfeld has won with the #4 Modified already this year - and he'll likely be doing it again soon. (Rick Ibsen Photo)
1. Brian Ickler (CW East), 6.6 Rating - One of our panelists simply wrote “Nobody can argue with success” and we couldn't write anything more telling with ten paragraphs of text. The Camping World East newbie has won two races in four starts this year.
2. Ted Christopher (Mods), 8.6 Rating - At age 50, has Ted Christopher slowed down any? The answer isn't no. It is a resounding “Hell, no!” So far in 2008, TC has won the Spring Sizzler, round two of the talent-rich All Star Challenge at All Star Speedway and his 100th career feature at Stafford Motor Speedway.
3. Eddie Hoffman (ASA LM, USPRO and SLM), 8.7 Rating - With three ASA Late Model North Series and two USPRO victories to his name, we can't think of any short tracker who has won more touring series events so far in 2008. That is powerful.
4. Jimmy Lang (ASA LM), 10.0 Rating - Young Jimmy Lang liked winning his first career ASA Late Model South Division race. So he won a second one…and then a third. So far in 2008, nobody else has a victory in the series except for Lang. The Challenge Series hasn't been to kind to Lang, but the South Series he hasn't been beat.
5. Sean Murphy (ASA LM), 10.5 Rating - Three straight wins in ASA Challenge competition is pretty stout. A respectful debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series shows some future signs of power as well.