As preparations for the 2018 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes continue, we’re going to be taking a look back at a number of the most memorable drafts. Today, we begin by rewinding back to the 2008 Short Track Draft when some of this year’s prospects were still in diapers.
The 2008 Short Track Draft was a tough one to calculate due to the extreme amount of talent competing on short tracks throughout America. At this time, the age requirement (25 or younger) wasn’t in effect, making it even harder to select the top prospects.
Leading up to the 2008 Short Track Draft, Matt Hawkins won races in his first starts in the ARCA Racing Series and the Hooters Pro Cup Series. That led to his second-place finish in the Snowball Derby, which very easily should have been a victory if he had not tangled with a slower car late in the race.
Showing promise in heavy cars, Peyton Sellers was marching up the NASCAR ladder and had a strong K&N season with three poles and a victory before finishing eighth in points. Sellers, who was drafted second in the 2008 draft, remains a force in the Late Model Stock ranks today after making a few attempts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Corey Williams showed flashes of greatness in the Super Late Model ranks prior to being selected third in the 2008 draft. Williams never got the full-time ride that he needed to prove his talents. He switched his focus to working on cars in the NASCAR world and vacated his Late Model attempts years later.
Jeff Choquette, a driver who is still winning races today, was selected fourth in the 2008 draft. Since then, Choquette has had a few truck starts, but Late Models has been his game all over the Southeast. Twice a runner-up at the Snowball Derby, Choquette is the veteran running back that keeps giving you 1000 yards every season, and he’s done it for a dozen years or so already.
The final spot in the 2008 top five went to Johnny VanDoorn. At the time, VanDoorn had not won a CRA title, but he quickly grabbed three before stepping away from full-time driving. He returned to win the RedBud 300 and the Berlin 251 but never got to sniff much of the upper levels of NASCAR.
Biggest Bust: Ryan Lawler (8th Pick)
After a PASS South title and a Winchester 400 win, he looked to be on the verge of stardom. He ran eight truck races in 2008 and that was almost the end of him. Limited starts in Super Late Models left him as just an afterthought. Lawler could get it done, but he never was consistent after the 2007 season.
Biggest Steal – Josh Richards (41st Pick)
At the time we didn’t know what “Rocket Man” would turn into. Maybe the NASCAR numbers are not there, but his success in the Dirt Late Model world speaks for itself.
The fact that Richards had only six wins on the World of Outlaws schedule at the time of the 2008 draft may kept some voters away. Now a four-time champion with nearly 80 wins, Richards is one of the best at his trade. He even went to the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and won the title there in 2017. Richards being selected with the 41st was a steal at the time.
Thanks for the Memories – We never got to see the full potential of Matt Hawkins and Beau Slocumb. Both Georgia drivers left us far too early, but that season their mark was left in the mind of the voters. Hawkins was the number-one overall pick and Slocumb was 23rd.
Next Level – Justin Allgaier (XFINITY), Michael Annett (XFINITY) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Cup) and Jeffrey Earnhardt (Cup) were the four drivers selected in the 2008 Short Track Draft that now compete in NASCAR’s top three series.
2008 Short Track Draft Results
|7||Bobby Santos III|
|18||Ricky Steinhouse Jr.|
|46||Chuck Barnes Jr.|
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: ARCA