Those Not Eligible, Pre-Draftees & Next Year’s Heisman Candidates
If you read our 2004 Short Track draft you probably thought we forgot some people. Well, just like the NFL, we have our own rules and guidelines to follow. Just like Maurice Clarett wasn’t allowed to enter the draft, we denied draft status to certain young kids. Then again, some drivers weren’t eligible because they’ve already competed in the pros (Cup, Busch or Trucks) once or twice. And then there were the kids who have already been signed by teams without having to enter the draft. It’s all here in the “Other Stories” of 51’s Short Track Draft.
ALREADY SIGNED PRIOR TO DRAFT
2. Jeremy Clements (ARCA & Dirt LM) – The kid has it all. He’s young (19), good looking and he is talented beyond belief. He has one Busch Series race under his belt otherwise he would have been a top-five pick in the draft. Kenny Schrader likes this kid a lot, probably partially because this teen can wheel a dirt late model with the best of them.
3. Clay Rogers (PRO CUP) – He’s had one shot already in the Busch Series, but after some maturing in the Pro Cup Series the past couple of years, he deserves another. Rogers has matured a lot since his first foray into the big leagues. He is now a patient, calculated racer. This 23-year-old is on top of his game in Pro Cup and whenever he whips out his Super Late Model.
4. Austin Cameron (NASCAR West) – Here’s a kid who deserves a shot because he’s tough as nails. Cameron was diagnosed with
Jeremy Clements has already run several ARCA and Busch races.
cancer last year, but through extensive treatments, he fought back and conquered it. Then the 27-year-old crushed the competition at NASCAR’s All Star Showdown in Irwindale, CA, just days after a cancer treatment. Someone, give him a chance.
5. LW Miller (SMART) – He’s been the dominator in the SMART Mods for the past year or so and whenever he gets behind the wheel of a Craftsman Truck, he turns a lot of heads as well. His truck ride isn’t the best, but he gets the most out of it. We’d like to see him in a top notch truck sometime; then we’ll see what the kid is really made out of. Problem is he’s already 30.
3. Boston Reid (USAC) – Since graduating from Taylor High School in Kokomo (IN), this 21-year-old young gun has compiled a pretty impressive list of stats that includes the 2002 USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year. He has even been under the tutelage of Jeff Gordon (another USAC standout) and it is no wonder that Hendrick has already signed him up.
4. Denny Hamlin (LMSC) – This Late Model Stock car phenom is killing the competition in the Southeast, especially at South Boston Speedway. The 23-year-old has inked a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing and that team’s driver development program.
5. Ryan Hemphill (ARCA) – Not exactly sure what his status is with the big league team of Chip Ganassi right now, but he did have ties to him last year. The 24-year-old is currently competing in ARCA with Braun Racing which has ties to Ganassi.
1. Reed Sorenson (ASA) – 18-year-old Reed was the most sought out kid in the country last year. He has signed with Chip Ganassi for a long-term deal which will see him enter the NASCAR Busch Series as a rookie next year.
2. Blake Feese (Sprint Cars) – He won the ARCA race at Nashville and then signed a contract with Hendrick Motorsports for their new driver development program. Sounds like a Cinderella story, right? Fact is, Feese, 22, signed with Hendrick even before the win; we were just sworn to secrecy.
FREE AGENTS (Guys that have already competed in NASCAR’s Big Three)
1. Charlie Bradberry (SES) – Charlie is quiet, but of all the free agents, he may have the most raw talent. Bradberry is only 21 and he’s coming off of a championship year in NASCAR’s Southeast Series. He will run a few Truck races with his family-owned team this year, but he someone needs to give him a full-time ride.
3. Brad Rogers (PRO CUP) – Question: Is he even better than his brother Clay Rogers? Maybe so. In just a couple Pro Cup races this season, Brad has turned a bunch of heads. He has top-five finishes and has led a bunch of laps; and he’s only 19. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a little sibling rivalry brewing in the future.
4. George Brunnhoelzl III (PRO CUP) – He’s the son of the jack-maker of the same name. Dad, George was a helluva racer in the Mods back in the day, and “Little Georgie,” as we like to call him, is certainly following in his father’s footsteps. He has been running Mods sporadically
6. Chuck Hossfeld (MODS) – The now 27-year-old had a go-around in the Craftsman Trucks with the Roush organization a couple years ago so you are probably saying, ‘why does he deserve another opportunity?’ Well, because he just wasn’t ready before. He went straight from DIRT Mods to the Trucks. Now he’s been seasoned some more in the Featherlite Mods.
7. Mark McFarland – He’s down on this list a little because he is getting more of a shot than anyone else we listed here. McFarland, 26, is driving Tom Baldwin’s Busch car in three shows this year and he will run the 59-truck on a couple of occasions. He deserves the tryouts based on his NASCAR National Weekly Racing Series title last year.
1. Jay Middleton (ASA, SLM) – He was last year’s champ in the Florida Pro Series and he won this year’s FASCAR Super Late Model opener. And now at 19, he is trying his hand at ASA. Watch out for this kid.
2. Colt James (ROMCO) – He won the first ROMCO race of the year and then went to the Texas Motor Speedway hoping to make it two-in-a-row. Unfortunately ROMCO would not allow him to race because he was not 21. Hmm, weird, huh? The 20-year-old is a hotshoe and he’s also working for a Cup team in Mooresville (NC).
for the past few years and is now, at 21, a rookie candidate in the Pro Cup Southern Division.
5. Joey Miller (ASA) – Fear is not a factor for this 18-year-old. He loves to hold it wide-open, but that has been his downfall too. He’s got the talent, but he’s still learning that patience part of the game. A full-season of ASA with former championship crew chief Bond Suss coaching him along is going to do Joey a world of good.
OTHERS TO WATCH FOR:26-year-old Chris Davidson (SES, ROMCO), 27-year-old Davin Scites (ASA), 19-year-old Andrew Morrissey (SLM), 24-year-old Justin Diercks (NASCAR Midwest), Zack Sylvester (MODS), 18-year-old Danny O’Quinn (PRO CUP), 26-year-old DJ Kennington (CASCAR & PRO CUP), Nevin George (MODS), 22-year-old Cassius Clark (PASS), 17-year-old Steven Wallace (LMSC) and 21-year-old Travis Sauter (LM)
Brad Rogers hopes to follow his brother's footsteps to the big leagues.
Chuck Hossfeld has seen Victory Lane in the Featherlite Mods and will see much more of it in the future we think.
8 - Ted Christopher (MODS) – TC rounds out our elite-8 free agents and he probably shouldn’t even be on our list because he’s 40+. But we feel Teddy is one of the best and baddest racers in the land. He can drive the wheels off anything he’s been in, from Super Mods to Nextel Cup. Remember, he had a great run in the Cup car a few years ago at the Glen.
NOT ELIGILE… But Ones To Look Out For (eligibility based on not having competed in a national touring series for at least one season)