Welcome to the latest edition of the Speed51.com Short Track Power rankings.
This time around, there were well over 40 names that were tossed around as potential candidates for entry into the rankings. The rankings were decided after polling our panel of experts in the industry, who all submitted a top ten list of who they thought had put forth the most powerful efforts in short track racing over the latest portion of the season. It comes about a month after our last Short Track Power poll, where Ryan Blaney was on top.
There was quite a shake-up this time around - with a new winner and several other positions changing hands throughout the top 40.
Two drivers, Ted Christopher and Brennan Poole, dropped from the top 10 to outside of the top 20. Several others who were ranked the last time around didn't even get a vote this time. That list included Andrew Ranger, Andy Loden, James Civali, Clay Alexander, Burt Myers, Chris Wimmer, Cassius Clark, Caleb Holman, Coleman Pressley, Russell Fleeman, Max Gresham, Eric Holmes and Josh Richards.
Here are our current power rankings for the 2010 short track racing season...so far:
1. Chase Elliott - Pro Cup, SLM, PLM, Blizzard, CRA and More - Previous Rank - 2nd - Chase Elliott didn't just win in the race for the Short Track Power rankings this time around. He absolutely dominated over his competition.
Then again, should this come as a surprise from the teen driver who has won over 10 races, the Blizzard Series title and the Gulf Coast SLM championship so far this season?
Elliott was ranked number one by over half of our voters. He was in the top 10 on all but one ballot that we received back from our voters.
Here were a few of the voter comments in favor of Elliott:
"Just completed trifecta of Blizzard and Miller Lite Super Late Model titles at Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway as well as the overall Gulf Coast Championship, not to mention his 23 top five finishes in 35 starts."
"This kid is absolutely unbelievable. If he's this good now, imagine what he'll be like when he's old enough for a driver's license."
"11 wins, three titles, 33 top 10's in 35 starts - Just a matter of time before the Pro Cup win comes."
2. Bobby Santos, III - WMT - Previous Rank - 51st - It's crunch time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Bobby Santos, III is answering the call. After leaving the New Hampshire race with a slim point lead, Santos won Sunday's Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT). It was his fourth victory of the season on the Tour. That isn't bad considering it is only his first season aboard the Mystic Missile owned by Bob and Joan Garbarino. Santos now just has to survive next weekend's World Series at Thompson without giving up too many points to be crowned the 2010 WMT champion.
Here were a few of the comments written by those who voted for Santos this time around:
"Four wins on the season thus far and holding the points WMT points lead over names like Stefanik, Silk, and Christopher."
"The Stafford win primes this team for title in the north."
3. Johnny Clark - PASS North - Previous Rank - 9th - When it comes to winning the big Super Late Model shows up north, Johnny Clark has the power. He won the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) along with the Auto Value 250 at New Brunswick's Speedway 660. He scored a total of five PASS North victories this year in fact. Naturally, he also won the PASS North championship - for the fifth time in his career.
And there could still be more in store for Clark. Next weekend is the Mason-Dixon Meltdown at Newport Speedway (TN) and that is where the PASS National SLM champion will be crowned.
"A PASS National title could be next for Clark," one of our panelists reminded us.
4. Joey Pole - ACT - Previous Rank - 19th - Meanwhile, over in the ACT Late Model world, there has been another driver winning all of the big shows. Joey Pole took off over the second half of the season and hasn't looked back. First came a victory at Beech Ridge and then a big win in the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Finally, Pole won the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road last Sunday afternoon.
This led Pole to be named on several ballots with two first place and one second place votes. This voter comment was typical of what many of our panelists said about Pole:
"He has turned his season around HUGE. Winning the two biggest ACT events on the schedule, showing there's no substitute for determination and a little bit of hard work."
5. Ryan Blaney - PASS South / CRA - Previous Rank - 1st - Ryan Blaney slipped back a little bit in the Power rankings this time around, but he could also be on the verge of winning his first PASS South championship. Blaney holds a thin point lead heading into the season finale at Newport.
Blaney has three PASS South victories this season, most recently on August 7th at Newport.
Here are a few voter comments on Blaney's performance:
"The next generation of the Blaney family has been steady all season long. Showing incredible poise and focus for someone his age."
"Nashville helped this team a lot as they overcame problems, A PASS title could be next."
6. Ross Kenseth - ASA Midwest Tours / CRA - Previous Rank - 45th - An ASA Midwest Tour victory at Elko Speedway (MN) early in the season and a pair of CRA Super Series victories at O'Reilly Raceway Park (IN) and Winchester Speedway (IN) have been the highlights of Ross Kenseth's season so far. Placing third in last week's All-American 400 wasn't too shabby either.
"The ORP win and 3rd in the AA 400 shows he's better then we give him credit," wrote one of one panelists.
7. Brian Hoar - ACT- Previous Rank - 10th - While one driver has been busy winning all of the big races in ACT Late Models, another has been busy winning the championship. Brian Hoar has enjoyed an incredible season where he hasn't yet finished outside the top 10 with his RPM Motorsports #37 Late Model. Hoar knows how to win races too as he's visited victory lane three times so far in 2010.
Here are a few voter comments about Hoar:
"Always a contender for the win, smooth driver and has powerhouse backing with RPM Motorsports."
"Won the ACT title with one race left on the schedule, won three features and finished second in the Milk Bowl. That's pretty impressive in my book."
8. TJ Reaid - SLM - Previous Rank - Unranked - We have seen one race sent a driver high up the Tower of Power in the past. Winning a major event like the TD Bank 250 at Oxford or SpeedFest will do that. Winning what could be the final All-American 400 ever will get you a ticket to the ball as well. TJ Reaid probably wouldn't have even earned an honorable mention if voting for Short Track Power took place one week ago, but this time around he was mentioned on nearly half of the ballots cast - with someone even penciling him in as there second place vote. See what one race can do?
Here were a few voter comments about Reaid:
"Winning what just might be the final All American 400 is pretty powerful in my book."
"Continues to grow and improve in his new seat at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Showed strength by grabbing the win in the All American 400 and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Winchester 400."
"It's one win, but they have been close all year. Look out - this kid could start a streak."
9. Johnny VanDoorn - CRA - Previous Rank - 7th - Winning thee CRA Super Series events so far this year has all but assured Johnny VanDoorn of earning his second career championship in that series. The 2010 season could get even better for VanDoorn though with the running of the Winchester 400 on October 17th. VanDoorn enters that event as one of the pre-race favorites.
Here are a few of our voter comments:
"15 top-10 finishes in 19 starts. Five wins so far this season. Should be a force in the Winchester 400."
"Back-to-back CRA title is going to be great, but a Winchester 400 win is the goal."
10. Clay Rogers - Pro Cup - Previous Rank - 4th - Clay Rogers won a half dozen races during the "regular season" of the 2010 USARacing Pro Cup campaign. Now, in the "championship" portion of the season, he is leading the standings. That's pretty powerful stuff all around.
Here are a few voter comments on Rogers' performance:
"Just may have been the most impressive short trackers in the country this season."
"The fat lady is warming up as Clay is ready to take the title."
11. Bubba Pollard - SLM and PLM - Previous Rank - Unranked - Bubba Pollard is having an "off" season by his own standards. He didn't even make the cut in the last edition of the Short Track Power poll. Then again, he has nearly ten victories so far in 2010 and most racers would kill for that type of success.
"Eight wins and a lot of close calls, if he gets over the hump look out," wrote one member of our panel.
12. Keith Rocco - Mods - Previous Rank - 3rd - Keith Rocco has wont he 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship. He's won the track titles at Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. He's captured nearly two dozen SK Modified feature victories this season alone. So while Rocco might not race much outside of Connecticut, his reputation has stretched far and wide across the land - putting him into the dirty dozen of this edition of the 51 Short Track Power rankings.
"How many different ways can you say dominant?" asked one of our panelists. "This kid has been absolutely spectacular."
13. Karl Allard - ACT Castrol EDGE Series - Previous Rank - 36th - Before the start of the ACT Castrol EDGE Series season, most of the publicity focused on former champions Patrick Laperle and Donald Theetge. That was until Karl Allard kicked things into high gear and won a half dozen races on the way to the series championship. That performance earned him a spot on the ballots of a few of our voters.
"Six wins and 10 out of a possible 11 top five finishes was what it took for him to earn his first ACT Castrol title," one of our voters reminded us.
14. Preston Peltier - PASS South SLM - Previous Rank - Unranked - Preston Peltier has now won three PASS South races this season. His most recent triumph came at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and put him just a few markers shy of Ryan Blaney's point lead heading into the season finale at Newport Speedway (TN).
"His Hickory win could spark a title run," noted one of our voters
15. Ty Dillon - NASCAR K&N East Series / ARCA Racing Series - Previous Rank - Unranked - Ty Dillon has shown power in very limited efforts in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the ARCA Racing Series lately. He won the East race at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA) and then the ARCA show at Kansas Speedway.
Here were a few voter comments about Dillon:
"Continued his improvement throughout the 2010 season, which culminated in an ARCA Racing Series win at Kansas this past weekend after a strong victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Gresham Motorsports Park in August."
"[Add in a recent] ARCA Win and this kid has had a great 60 days after East win at GMP!"
16. Patrick Laperle - ACT - Previous Rank - 12th - Between the "American" ACT Late Model Tour and the "Quebec" ACT Castrol EDGE tour, Patrick Laperle racked up six victories in 2010. He didn't win a championship, but power is more about winning than gathering points anyways.
Here is what one of our panelists wrote about Laperle's season:
"North or South of the border Laperle is synonymous with victory lane. His French-Canadian temper is what brings him to victory lane... but it also cost him that second ACT Castrol Title, which he lost by 34 points... with one start less than Karl Allard, the 2010 Champion. He also won his second ACT Showdown showcasing the top 12 ACT drivers of Canada against the top 12 US drivers."
17. Matt Hirschman - Mods - Previous Rank - Unranked - Yes, Matt Hirschman might not be on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this days and sadly that means he is out of sight and out of mind when it comes to some fans, and maybe even a voter or two in this exercise. But Hirschman has been winning plenty of Modified races on the RoC Tour, at Mahoning Valley and in open shows. His recent record includes five victories in his last seven starts.
18. Scott Bloomquist - Dirt LM - Previous Rank - Unranked - Scott Bloomquist recently scored his 500th career feature victory. We can't even count that high without losing our place. Think about that again....500 victories. If that isn't powerful, what is?
19. Phillip Morris - LMSC - Previous Rank - Unranked - No, Phillip Morris did not win the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion. But man cannot live on championships alone. Morris recently captured the checkered flag in the biggest Late Model Stock Car show of them all - the prestigious 300 lapper at Martinsville Speedway (VA) and that powerful accomplishment earned him the notice of a few of our experts.
Here are a few voter comments about Morris and his efforts:
"The three-time NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Champion found his way back to victory lane at Martinsville Speedway this weekend after a 10-year drought at the Virginia track after besting a stout field of 41 cars."
"No national title, but a Martinsville win is nice for the LMSC king."
20. Augie Grill - SLM - Previous Rank - 6th - So far this season, Augie Grill has won in Show Me The Money Series, CRA and Blizzard Series competition. Seeing that we are heading into the fall and eventually up to the two biggest races on the schedule that Grill has won before, the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway (FL), the most powerful moves of Grill's 2010 campaign might still be yet to come.
The Rest of the Field:
21. Colt James (PLM)
22. Scott Hantz (CRA, SLM and Outlaw SLM)
23. Brennen Poole (UARA-Stars)
24. Patrick Sheltra (ARCA)
25. Tom Hessert (ARCA)
26. Tony Hirschman (Mods)
27. Steve Cote (LM)
28. Ben Rowe (PASS North and ACT)
29. Brett Sonatg (SLM and LM)
30. Dillon Oliver (PLM)
31. Dan McKeage (SLM)
32. Ted Christopher (WMT, Supermodifieds and More)
33. Ryan Newman (WMT)
34. Chris Perley (Supermodifieds)
35. Jeff Agnew (Pro Cup)
36. Andy Seuss (WSMT/ WMT / MRS)
37. Alex Labbe (ACT Castrol)
38. Jeff Choquette (SLM)
39. Steve Carlson (ASA MW)
40. Tim Russell (SLM)