While many of us have been gearing up for the new year and thinking about our resolutions, our resident “Stat Boy” Elgin Traylor has been thinking about numbers from the 2017 short track racing season. In this edition of “By the Numbers” on Speed51.com, we take a look at the final numbers from an eventful 2017 racing season.
2: Jeff Choquette finished second at the Snowball Derby for the second time in his career. He joins Rusty Wallace, Jerry Lawley and Grant Enfinger as drivers who have finished second more than once and not won the race.
4: Derek Thorn continued his Super Late Model dominance on the West Coast in 2017 by winning his fourth SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series championship.
5: Doug Coby joined an elite list by becoming a five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion at the end of the 2017 season. By winning his fourth straight championship, Coby joined a list that only includes Modified legends Jerry Cook and Richie Evans. Although his season was a rollercoaster ride, it was a ride that ended at the top.
7: The number of Late Model events that NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series star Kyle Busch entered in 2017. His 2017 Late Model campaign was highlighted by a win in the 50th Annual Snowball Derby in December. He also competed in the Dixieland 250, Easter Bunny 150, Kalamazoo Klash (Outlaw and Template), Winter Showdown, Money In the Bank 150 and Vermont Governor’s Cup. Busch’s dedication to short track racing can’t be denied.
7: The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series had seven different winners for the third straight season. The series champion Mike Leaty won the championship despite going winless.
11: The 11-year streak of not having a repeat PASS South champion came to an end as Matt Craig won back-to-back crowns.
18: Casey Roderick had a career year with track championships at Five Flags Speedway (FL), Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), and Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) in Pro Late Models. The attention will turn to Super Late Models in 2018 when he will look to improve on his lone SLM win in 2017. In all, Roderick won 18 times in 2017.
18: Matt Hirschman also won 18 times in 2017 for another fine season in Tour-type Modified action. Some big wins along the way included the Richie Evans Memorial, Race of Champions 250, North South Shoutout, Open Wheel Wednesday and the SBM 125 at Star.
18: Eighteen seems to have been a lucky number in 2017. Brandon Sheppard also scored 18 World of Outlaw Late Model victories this season on his way to a dominating championship victory.
22: Jimmy Blewett now has a total of 22 wins at the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium (NJ). Blewett has six Tour-type Modified wins, 12 Wall Modified wins, two Dirt Modified wins and solo wins in Sportsman and Late Models. That’s an impressive career for anyone, but it’s even more impressive that Blewett has done all of this during a single event. Incredible is the only word that comes to mind.
39: Lee Pulliam captured his fourth NASCAR Whlen All American Series title this year, which ties him with Philip Morris on the all-time list. There is a chance the two could square off for a run for number five in 2018. Together, the two Late Model drivers won 39 total races this year. A fifth title for ether would tie them with Larry Phillips who won hundreds of races and countless titles.
41: What’s better than 39 wins? How about 41 wins in a single season? That is the mark that Matt Sheppard hit during the 2017 season with wins in the Super DIRTcar Series, as well as at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Utica-Rome Speedway and Outlaw Speedway. “Super Matt” certainly had a season that he and many others won’t forget for a long time.
100: Bubba Pollard won his 100th feature event in a Late Model event that was 100-laps or longer.
100: The list of Pro All Stars Series winners eclipsed the 100 mark this year between the North and the South when Curtis Gerry won the Oxford 250.
100: Brett Hearn won his 100th Big-Block Modified race at Lebanon Valley this season.
100: Philip Morris won his 100th feature this season at Motor Mile Speedway on his way to the track championship.
300: Ben Rowe made his 300th Pro All Stars Series start in September at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). The PASS Ironman won the PASS National championship again this season.
338: The number of short track racing events covered by Speed51.com with either Trackside Now or Speed Central coverage in 2017.
175,000 – The number of dollars that Josh Richards pocketed with his victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series finale. Richards won $100,000 for his victory in the Dirt Track World Championship and another $75,000 for winning the season-long championship.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com