Since the creation of the 51’s presented by JEGS on Speed51.com, two of the most popular categories have been “Best Photo” and “Best Finish.” While the award for “Best Photo” has been around since the first edition of the 51’s in 2004, the “Best Finish” category was introduced in 2015 and has quickly become one of the most popular categories. This year, a third category was added to the multimedia grouping. That category was the “Best Video” category, which included our top 20 videos that appeared on Speed51.com.
Today, Speed51.com is pleased to announce the winners for each of those three awards for the 2017 season.
Best On-Screen Performance
(Video of the Year)
Unfortunately, the winning video this year was a very sad video. Legendary Modified racer Ted Christopher lost his life in a plane crash on his way to a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. The news of Christopher’s passing quickly spread across the racing world.
Our Bob Dillner gave a touching tribute to the legendary Modified driver during an episode of Short Track Center last September. Dillner was a long-time friend of Christopher’s and the respect that Dillner had for Christopher was evident throughout the tribute.
Finishing second in the voting this year was the David Stremme/Kyle Strickler showdown at the World Short Track Championships at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Third was the big incident between Dillon Oliver and Eddie Fatscher at the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway. Finishing fourth was the confrontation between Larry Wight and Matt Sheppard at the Super DIRTcar Series event at Utica-Rome Speedway and rounding out the top five was when Luke Hinckley took a wild ride right out of the ballpark at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park in a Granite State Pro Stock Series event.
Best Dramatic Performance
(Finish of the Year)
In one of the wildest finishes in recent memory, Christian Eckes and Austin Theriault battled for the victory at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway in an ARCA Racing Series event. The video from MAVTV shows Theriault nudge his way by Eckes coming to the white flag. Eckes got back behind Theriault and shoved Theriault up the track in turn three. Theriault barely beat Eckes to the checkered flag as Zane Smith crashed behind them.
The runner-up position belonged to a crazy three-wide finish at Pennsylvania’s Mahoning Valley Speedway in a Modified event. The Anthony Nocella/Matt Hirschman battle at Seekonk Speedway finished third. The three-wide finish in the Last Chance Race at the Oxford 250 finished fourth and rounding out the top five was the great finish between Jeff Choquette and Casey Roderick at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Former Best Finish Award Winners
2016 – Snowball Derby
2015 – Lucas Oil Rocky Mt.
2014 – RoC Mod 100 at Holland
2013 – WMT September NHMS
2012 – Silk Vs. Stefanik
2011 – Snowball Derby
2010 – Snowball Derby
2009 – Blizzard #2 BP AG
2008 – No Vote
2007 – Rowe Wins Meltdown
2006 – No Vote
2005 – Santerre vs. Moore Dover
2004 – Christopher brothers NHMS
Best Set Design
(Photo of the Year)
The photo of the year category was pretty much decided in the middle of the season the second this shot started making the rounds. Winning this year is Michelle Martin’s photo of the fiery crash at Washington’s Evergreen Speedway.
Second-place belongs to Speed51’s Melissa Strahley for her shot, titled “Start ’em Young” of a young boy helping put on a tire. Third-place goes to 51’s Evan Canfield for his “Dirt Modified Dominos” photo. Fourth-place belongs to Dale Prickett for his aerial photo of the Little 500 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway. Rounding out the top five was Patrick Miller for his shot of a Super Cup Stock Car Series car catching air in a crash at Jennerstown Speedway.
Former Best Photo Award Winners
2016 – Duane Canfield (Modified Crash at Lancaster)
2015 – Duane Canfield (Four Wide)
2014 – Drew Hierwarter (Pulliam Martinsville) / Alan Ward (Flip)
2013 – Drew Hierwater (Bassett Boys)
2012 – Jamie Williams (Jones Derby)
2011 – Michael Fettig (Kasten Win)
2010 – Jim Lambert (Reed at NSS)
2009 – Jamie Williams (5 at Unity)
2008 – No Vote
2007 – Blewett Brothers
2006 – No Vote
2005 – Matt Dillner (Myers Kiss)
2004 – Norm Marx (Walt Hammond)