ASA Midwest Tour
C'mon, does anyone play the part like Dan Fredrickson? The dude is one helluva racer, but he just looks like a catcher. He's a burly guy from Minnesota and he used to be a pretty good ballplayer around the Golden Gopher state in his youth. Fredrickson doesn't let many balls by him and he's used to winning. He leads the ASA Midwest Tour points right now, and with his size, I don't think anyone is going to knock him down during a play at the plate.
Super Late Models
Tough as nails. Gritty. Sometimes dirty. Bald. Bearded. All those qualities describe both Super Late Model ace Jeff Scofield and Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox. Besides looking like they were separated at birth, both Scofield and Youkilis have reputations of being stars at their respective games while not being afraid to ruffle a few feathers. While Scofield has never gotten into a shoving match with a teammate like Youk has this year, not many other people on other teams want to scuffle with the guy either.
Super Late Models
Doesn't he remind you of Mark Lemke of the World Championship Atlanta Braves in the '90s? He's not too tall and very strong. To be a good second baseman you also have to be quick and agile; Hamner fits that bill. He's still young, but he is getting more experienced on the base-paths every time he goes out. He became a winner this year in the tough Super Late Model Blizzard League in Pensacola, FL, now he just needs to turn the double-play and win someplace else; either that or the prestigious Snowball Derby at the end of the year.
ASA Late Models
Good 'ol Jimmy Lang looks like a throwback shortstop. He's always got a wad of chew in his mouth and he's lanky enough to turn the tough play like he's done three times in ASA Late Model South competition this year. His only problem is that when he goes to interleague play, with the ASA Challenge Series, he struggles. Six races in, the only highlight to his slump-ridden ASA Challenge is a top-five run in Mansfield, OH. What we will find out soon is will Lang be a Johnny-Come-Lately short stop like Hanley Ramirez (All-Star Shortstop for the Florida Marlins) or a team leader like Derrick Jeter (All-Star Shortstop for the New York Yankees).
Camping World East / Pro Cup
This kid is like the A-Rod of the short track ranks right now. He's got the looks, he's got plenty of power and he's established himself with a team (DEI) that can go deep into the season. He's a proven winner and has his eyes set on a Camping World East championship ring this year. As long as he doesn't pull an A-Rod-like choke in the post season, Bayne would make a safe bet for the title.
ARCA RE/MAX Series
Talk about someone way out in Left Field…Scott Speed certainly isn't a good ol' boy that formed the grassroots of the modern stock car racing scene. He's flamboyant, cocky and all about “the show,” just like Manny Ramirez. If acting like a goofball in the outfield is just “Manny Being Manny,” the wild clothes and silly demeanor of Speed certainly could just be “Scott Being Scott.”
Camping World East
The kid is athletic and fast, the two qualities every team looks for in a centerfielder. Not since Ken Griffey, Jr. has an athletic speedster stolen the show at such a young age as Ickler has this year in the Camping World East Series this year and the West Series in seasons past. Had it not been for injuries, Griffey could easily be the Home Run King these days. Ickler's got the talent and the desire to be racing royalty some day, but instead of injuries, he has to be sure that his tech issues like he had at New Hampshire earlier this year don't give him a bad rep to keep him from those goals.
Typically, the Right Fielder is the worst fielder and has the weakest arm of the three outfield positions. But like Matt Holiday of the Rockies, Crum is far from weak. Problem is, like Holiday, they are on the edge of being a bona fide star in what they do, but they just need that one landmark triumph to prove it. For Holiday, winning the NLCS last year wasn't enough, as his bat went quiet in the World Series against the Red Sox. Crum can win in UARA, but he hasn't been able to shake bad luck at the tour's signature event, Bristol Motor Speedway, despite three strong runs there.
GARY ST. AMANT
This is our Jason Varitek choice in this year's 51 All-Star Team. Varitek has been so good for the Boston Red Sox for so many years, but he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star like he was voted in Major League Baseball based on this year's stats. St. Amant is second in the Northern Division of Pro Cup and while he does have four top-10s in the North, he struggled to a 26th place finish in interleague play with the Southern boys at Milwaukee and he hasn't won a race yet. And after all, does anyone remind you more of DH Jim Thome than St. Amant. Both are big boys and both can hit the long ball.
CRA Super Series
In the Late Model world, nobody dances around from position to position better than Scott Hantz. Put him in an ABC-bodied Super Late Model and he'll win in the tough Midwest ranks of the CRA Super Series. In fact, he's challenging for the playoffs right now by leading the CRA standings through the middle of the season. Then throw him a change-up and make him wheel an Outlaw-bodied car and he'll knock it out of the ballpark in that too. He's a grizzly veteran who doesn't cave under pressure and he's not big on the spotlight. Those are things that you want out of your utility guy.
Corey Williams has no problem with speed. His qualifying laps are like C.C. Sabathia fastballs right down the pike. He's always fast in time trials and has had a strong start to the season. Sometimes he goes the distance and completes the game with a victory. No matter what, he always has power to strike the competition out. Plus, with the ballcap he's always donning, he looks like a pitcher with the cap pulled way down where you can only see his eyes and eyebrows - like a modern-day Ron Guidry.
Back about 10 years ago, Kerry Wood was the next Roger Clemens. With big strikeout numbers and a strong right arm, Wood was supposed to be the pitcher that all hitters in the league feared. A few injuries got in the way, ending his days as a dominant power pitcher, but now Wood is back as a top closer for the Cubs. About five years ago, Clay Rogers was supposed to be the next big thing in NASCAR. He was tearing up the Pro Cup ranks and had a shot at the big time, but never had the success he needed to stay there. Now, he relieved Travis Kittleson as the pilot of the JCR3 Hooters Pro Cup ride, where he's back as a serious threat every time out, but time has all but eliminated his chances of making it back to the top.
Hirschman doesn't have the full-fendered experience nor the power to be a starting pitcher just yet. He doesn't have the intensity that a closer has, either. But, what Matt Hirschman does have is the right bloodline (his dad Tony is a multiple-time NASCAR Mod Champ), a heavy right foot and a boatload of Modified wins to earn him a spot on the All Star team. With a few more Whelen Mod Tour wins, he'll be part of the pantheon of All-Time Mod All-Stars like his dad is.
If there's two outs in the bottom of the ninth, or two laps to go, you don't want to see Ted Christopher at the plate or in your rearview mirror. On the track, he's just mean. In fact, we've seen him dump his own brother, Mike, for the win at Stafford years ago. And he plays the psychological role to a tee, just like a closer. After all, he does have his own three-bump rule: one, to let you know he's there; two, you better pick a lane; and three, you're going around. Teddy is an awesome guy; just don't mess with him. And with his wacky glasses and the TC Strut, he's like Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in “Major League.”
Super Late Models -
Turn back the clock to the 1920's when a team's manager played the in the game as well as calling the shots for the team and Kyle Busch fits right into that role. Yes he's a Cup star, but he's also a short track veteran. He knows more about the car then most guys twisting wrenches at a local Saturday night short tracks. He could play any position (Cup, Nationwide, Trucks, Late Model, Dirt, Wheelbarrow) and he can teach a driver to the play the game the right way. Alex Haase is one good example. He's the only back-to-back winner in PASS this season. When it comes to calling the shots, you want a veteran and he already is, well before his 25th birthday. You never know what's he's going to do next, go three wide or bunt with two strikes, but no matter what he comes out on top whether it's as a player or a coach.
First Base Coach
Super Late Models
Bond Suss is a talented coach that has already led his 15-year old driver Zach Stroupe to victory lane this season. He's got experience in the minor leagues and the bigs, having turned wrenches for guys like Mike Garvey, Kevin Cywinski, Joey Clanton and even on the Cup side in recent years. He's got credentials as the ASA Championship-winning Crew Chief of Clanton's, meaning when he gives the pre-game pep talk, everyone on the team listens up. These days, it's Stroupe that Suss has brought into the forefront as a young guy succeeding on-track, thanks in large part to the 15-year-old driver's win at Motor Mile (VA) in May. On off-weekends with Stroupe, Suss can be found helping out another top prospect, Kyle Fowler. As both Stroupe and Fowler can attest, Suss is the guy you want on your pit box or in the base coach's box.
Third Base Coach
Super Late Models
Okay, can you blame this call? He gives you the signs and he calls the shots from the box for the entire team. He is a former All Star himself, having won at several different levels around the country, including a pair of All American 400 victories. Garvey has that knack of being able to get in the drivers head. He has made Matt Hawkins and Ryan Crane household names in the short track ranks while under his wing in recent seasons. Under Garvey's tutelage, Hawkins is a winner in Pro Cup and ARCA and Crane is a threat everywhere he goes. The stats for Garvey speak for themselves. He gets it done each time he goes to the track.
ASA Late Models
Working with young talent is the art of being the pitching coach. Deneau has plenty of credentials, having won an ASA Championship with Tim Sauter back in 1999. But his stock has really risen in recent years as he has gone from Butch Miller's right-hand man to a force on the pit box, working with Sean Murphy in the ASA Late Model ranks. Deneau was recently picked up as a free agent by 5K Motorsports, who lured the star away from SS Motorsports, where Deneau came up through the ranks. Deneau is the type of guy that knows how to build them, fix them and can even help drive them. When Deneau leans in the driver's window, it's like a pitching coach going to the mound in the middle of an inning - getting the information and relaying the feedback necessary to get results.