The 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes ballot was completed by 65 short track insiders, including media members, team and driver development professionals, track and series promoters and officials, product and industry representatives, NASCAR National Series drivers, crew members and more. The voters could select as few as 10 and as many as 51 drivers on their ballot, ranked in order that they would choose the drivers to compete for their Driver Development team in the top levels of the sport.

 

Speed51.com used a scientific equation that factored in total number of votes, quality votes, first-place votes, top-five votes and top-1o votes in order to determine the top-51 picks in the 2016 Short Track Draft. The #1 and #2 picks were announced Thursday, April 27. Picks 3-10 were announced throughout the day on Friday, April 29. Picks 26-51 will be announced on Monday, May 1 at 5 p.m., while the Best of the Rest will come on Tuesday, May 2 at 5 p.m.

 

Here are the 2017 Short Track Draft Picks #11 through #25.

 

                                                                                                                                                   

2017 Draft Card 11-Timmy SolomitoPick #11
Timmy Solomito
Age: 25
Hometown: Islip, NY
Series: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Twitter: @TheNatural99
Last Year's Pick: 27th

“The Natural” had a big year in 2016, picking up his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win.  He added three more wins on the year to finish the season off with four victories.  He’s picked up right where he left off this year by winning at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) and finishing second in the Icebreaker at Thompson (CT).

 

Solomito goes off the board at 11th this year, jumping a total of 16 spots from last season. He’s taken at the same spot as the highly-talented cornerback Marshon Lattimore who went to the New Orleans Saints.  Experts are giving the Lattimore pick an A- and we think that’s pretty comparable to the Solomito pick in this spot.

 

The Long Island kid is the highest ranked Modified driver as well.

 

Pros: Fun personality, great talent, fan favorite.

Cons: He’s a Modified driver, and Modified drivers just don’t get very far beyond Modifieds.

 

2017 Draft Card 12-Zane SmithPick #12
Zane Smith
Age: 17
Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA
Series: ARCA Racing Series
Twitter: @zanesmith77
Last Year's Pick: 3rd

Zane Smith came out of nowhere at the beginning of the 2015 season when he won the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Super Late Model championship.  Like an undrafted free agent who was missed in the prior year's draft, he made a lot of noise with very few people knowing a lot about him.

 

His three PASS South wins and a runner-up finish at the Snowball Derby in 2015 had our experts giving Smith high praises one year ago.  But since that time, he has struggled to get to Victory Lane.  He actually hasn't won a race since he won a Pro Late Model race in February 2016 at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).

 

Pros: He has proven that he can get the job done and compete against the best short track racers in the country. He's also a personable, young driver who appeals to sponsors.

 

Cons: It's quite simple: Smith hasn't been winning. He's had some strong runs, but the lack of a victory over the last 14 months continues to hurt his stock in the Short Track Draft.

 

2017 Draft Card 13-Dalton SargeantPick #13
Dalton Sargeant
Age: 19
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Series: ARCA Racing Series
Twitter: @DaltonSargeant
Last Year's Pick: 6th

Dalton Sargeant took the K&N Pro Series by storm two years ago when he contended for the win nearly every single race. Since then, Sargeant dropped 10 spots from last year's draft where he was sixth.  He collected a win in the ARCA series and PASS South Series last season, but his season was also combined with a lot of bad luck and some wrecked race cars.

 

Sargeant went “under the radar” last season and it wasn't an intentional move, but when drivers have a tremendous breakout season they often get overlooked the next season if they can’t back it up.

 

He still has an impressive resume with 10 top-five finishes in his ten ARCA starts last season and top-five finishes at the Snowball Derby in his three starts. His consistency helped keep him in the draft selection for this year's 2017 Short Track Draft.

 

Pros: He is the "whole package." He’s a good looking kid, has family money coming in with Galt as his primary sponsor, has a strong media presence and can drive a race car.

 

Cons: He is lacking a significant win at a big event. Sure he has won an ARCA race, but he really needs a win at a race like the Winchester 400 or the Snowball Derby to increase his stock.

 

2017 Draft Card 14-Dalton ArmstrongPick #14
Dalton Armstrong
Age: 22
Hometown: New Castle, IN
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @DArmstrong7
Last Year's Pick: 30th

To say Dalton Armstrong had a rollercoaster year in 2016 would be an understatement. There were plenty of positives and negatives throughout the year, so sitting 14th in the draft is probably the perfect spot for this driver.

 

Armstrong won the Redbud 300 at Anderson Speedway, his home track, last summer. That was by far the highlight of his 2016 year and his racing career.  He also finished runner up in ARCA/CRA Super Series points last season.

 

But, Armstrong struggled at the Snowball Derby all week and ended up missing the race after qualifying and the last chance race. He made the race after another competitor went home due to the rain delay.

 

His luck is all over the place, but his talent is not. Armstrong is a talented driver, even though sometimes the results don’t necessarily show it.

 

Pros: Redbud 300 winner, strong in a points chase.

Cons: He began showing more personality in 2016, but we still need to see more.

 

2017 Draft Card 15-Brandon SheppardPick #15
Brandon Sheppard
Age: 24
Hometown: New Berlin, IL
Series: 2017: Lucas Oil LM Dirt Series / 2016: WoO LM
Twitter: @B_Sheppard_B5
Last Year's Pick: 28th

While pavement drivers have dominated the picks up to this point in the draft, Brandon Sheppard is the second Dirt Late Model driver and overall third dirt racer to be selected in the Short Track Draft.

 

In 2016, Brandon Sheppard switched to Best Performance Motorsports and paired with heralded crew chief Randall Edwards.  Together, they picked off two wins in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and finished fourth in the series standings.  The latter of the two victories for the 2015 LOLMDS Rookie of the Year was his second career triumph in the $100,00-to-win World Dirt Track Championship at Portsmouth Raceway (OH).  Sheppard did have three other Dirt Late Model victories in 2016.

 

This year brings with it a switch to the potent Rocket Chassis “House-Car” owned by Mark Richards.  He inherits Josh Richards' (4-time WoO LM champ) ride and is attacking the World of Outlaws Late Model circuit.  That pairing has produced four wins already in ’17, two in the WoO tour and two on the LOLMDS.

 

The personable, fullback proportioned racer received seven top-five and a strong 12 top-10 picks on voter’s ballots and had a quality selection rating of 45%.

 

Pros: Sheppard is aggressive and not afraid of anything.  He's in one of the most well-prepared machines in the business and has all of the tools for success in front of him.

Cons: One of those pros could also serve as a con. He's with one of the best teams in the business and has all of the tools in front of him, so if he fails that would be a big detriment to his progression. He's also racing Late Models on dirt, so some may wonder how that may translate into success on pavement.

 

2017 Draft Card 16-Stephen NassePick #16
Stephen Nasse
Age: 21
Hometown: Pinellas Park, FL
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @StephenNasse
Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

Everywhere Stephen Nasse goes there is some kind of buzz or uncertainty about what he's going to do next. This easily explains how he got the nickname “Mr. Excitement” and why he is known for keeping things interesting both on and off the race track.

 

His most recent show involved his entanglement with William Byron at the 2016 Snowball Derby where he showed his disapproval by make hard contact with Byron's car under caution. This show later took to Twitter where Nasse felt the wrath of drivers from all ranks, but he stood his ground and added to his reputation of speaking his mind.

 

Despite the temper he sometimes displays, Nasse flexes his muscles on the track as well.  He is currently leading the Southern Super Series point standing after two strong runs in the series. Nasse contended for the win at the Rattler 250 earlier this year after winning the Baby Rattler last season. Nasse, also a two-time Red-Eye 100 winner, kept his name relevant by capturing a handful of Late Model wins last season as well.

 

Pros: He refuses to conform to the new racing “norms” and does things his own way. That’s what makes him Stephen Nasse and everyone knows who he is for that reason.

Cons: He has a temper and if rubbed the wrong was has no problem retaliating even if it is at the cost of his own equipment. He even made the mistake of taking some of that retaliation to social media, which is something potential sponsors may question. At the same time, some fans adore him for the excitement he creates.

 

2017 Draft Card 17-Derek KrausPick #17
Derek Kraus
Age: 15
Hometown: Stratford, WI
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Twitter: @derek9kraus
Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

Derek Kraus may not be the number-one pick in the 2017 Short Track Draft, but he still has a claim to fame as the youngest driver selected in the top 20. Although he has yet to light the world on fire on the race track, the future is bright for the 15 year old.

 

In 2016, just a few days after his 15th birthday, Kraus made history as the youngest driver to ever win a race on the highly-competitive ARCA Midwest Tour.  He was also able to call himself a Midwest Truck Series champion at the age of 14.  Not to mention, he's already qualified for the prestigious Snowball Derby twice, a task that some veterans of the sport aren't able to make.

 

Pros: He has time on his side and seems to have great opportunities in front of him, including his full-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West ride with Bill McAnally Racing in 2017.

 

Cons: He needs to start picking up wins that garner national attention, whether it be big Super Late Model wins or NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victories. He's also still somewhat shy and needs some grooming when it comes to speaking to the media.

 

2017 Draft Card 18-Jeremy DossPick #18
Jeremy Doss
Age: 20
Hometown: Upper Lake, CA
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @JeremyDoss75
Last Year's Pick: 14th

West Coaster Jeremy Doss has somewhat lived in the shadows of well-known Super Late Model driver and fellow Californian Derek Thorn.

 

Both from the same area, Thorn seemed to always be able to get one-up on Doss. But Doss, five years younger than Thorn, showed he had what it took in 2014 when he won three SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour events and was runner up that season. Last season he won the Pacific Challenge Series championship and also captured the Montana 200 victory he had been hunting for quite some time.

 

Doss is a threat everywhere he goes on the West Coast, bringing top-notch equipment and being fast right out of the gate. He was also part of last year's Kulwicki Driver Development Program.  While he had the on-track stats, he lacked the off-track involvement in his community and social media presence which started to get better at the end of the season.

 

Pros: He is starting to breakout and make his presence known by competing and winning in big races like the Montana 200.

Cons: His only attempts to move up/move over were his lone K&N West start where he finished 17th and his only Snowball Derby trip when he failed to qualify for the race.

 

2017 Draft Card 19-Matt CraigPick #19
Matt Craig
Age: 18
Hometown: Concord, NC
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @MatthewCraig54
Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

Matt Craig is a bull-in-a-china-shop race car driver.  He’s built like a lineman, but races like a linebacker.  He’s a very physical race car driver who doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him, and he’s shown that on multiple occasions.

 

But the thing is, Craig has the talent to back up his physicality.  He may rough other drivers up, but he goes out and gets the win.

 

Craig is the defending Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South champion.  He’s already scored two wins in 2017, one of which was in controversial fashion when he roughed up Preston Peltier at the Orange Blossom Special.

 

His competitors spoke out about his racing style in their post-race interviews. Craig followed up by tweeting about wanting to be just like Kyle Busch. Busch wins races and championships, and so does Craig.

 

Matt Craig picked up four top-five votes and 10 top-10 votes this year, which was a big help in getting him into the top-51 this year.

 

Pros: Knows how to win races and championships.

Cons: Rough on equipment and doesn’t have many friends on the track.

 

2017 Draft Card 20-MaxMcLaughlinPick #20
Max McLaughlin
Age: 17
Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Series: Super DIRTcar Series
Twitter: @MaxMcLaughlin_
Last Year's Pick: 10th

Upon arriving at school, top recruits in college football are expected by fans to be able to perform right away, especially if there is a lack of upperclassmen presence at their position. But in the eyes of coaches, they are still freshman and there is still time to work on many different areas.

 

That is much the same situation that Max McLaughlin is in following his freshman season in the ultra-competitive Super DIRTcar Series. Of course, those expectations come when you have a family name that is known throughout racing, especially in the Northeast.

 

After moving his way through the Mini-Outlaw ranks at Millbridge Speedway (NC) and getting a first taste of Modifieds in 2015, McLaughlin ran the full season in the Super DIRTcar Series in 2016 with Heinke-Baldwin Raicng, snatching Rookie of the Year honors.

 

2017 has started off very promising, with “Mad Max” finishing in the top five during both nights in competition at Volusia Speedway Park in February.

 

Going forward, he looks to get his first win on the Super DIRTcar Series while once again running the full schedule. He also adds a full-time slate at Brewerton Speedway (NY) to the list along with part-time schedules and Fulton Speedway (NY) and Utica-Rome Speedway (NY).

 

Pros: Though Max is young and eager, he has also displayed patience during this learning phase and the ability to accept teachings from his team and even his HBR teammate Jimmy Phelps. He has also become a social media tycoon, which was acknowledged by the fans in this year’s 51 Awards.

 

Cons: While capturing ROTY, there were struggles along the way in 2016, with McLaughlin only recording four top 10s in 26 races. Quite simply, he needs better finishes. If McLaughlin is to continue growing, appearances outside the Northeast, on dirt or asphalt, would also prove beneficial.

 

2017 Draft Card 21-Chad FinleyPick #21
Chad Finley
Age: 25
Hometown: Dewitt, MI
Series: ARCA / Super Late Models
Twitter: @Chad_Finley
Last Year's Pick: Undrafted

There are always those players that don’t get the time on the field that they need to show off their stuff to NFL scouts. But the time will come where an opportunity will present itself for a player to finally shine. Last December, Chad Finley got that opportunity behind the wheel of a race car.

 

After running a scattered schedule in 2016, even making a few starts on dirt, Finley stepped into his Super Late Model at the Snowball Derby last December and stunned everyone by leading the most laps throughout the race. Unfortunately for him, his chances of a cinderella story were spoiled due to a bad battery, but everyone had taken notice.

 

After moving his team shop to North Carolina in the offseason, Finley returned to action in his Stock Car, taking home a big victory at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). Finley's turnaround in his final year of Short Track Draft eligibility might just be the biggest for any driver since the 2016 draft.

 

Pros: Finley has now based himself in the heart of Stock Car country and gains more exposure with each passing day.

Cons: Finley’s schedule still has too many inconsistencies and is lacking appearances. Finley could benefit from running for a championship whether it be Late Models or Stock Cars. He's also not a great speaker, so that needs to improve, especially if he's going to be taking more trips to victory lane.

 

2017 Draft Card 22-Brandon SetzerPick #22
Brandon Setzer
Age: 22
Hometown: Newton, NC
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @BSetzerRacing6
Last Year's Pick: 21st

It’s hard to say that scoring three wins is a “down” year for anybody, but that’s sort of how 2016 was for Brandon Setzer.  Instead of racing for a championship in a series, he raced for wins and only got a few.

 

As a result, Setzer’s name wasn’t out there as much, and our voters saw that. Instead of improving, Setzer dropped one spot to 22nd.

 

Setzer didn’t receive any first-place or top-five votes this year and received just seven top-10 votes.  In 2016, Setzer picked up one top-five vote and the same amount of top-10 votes.

 

Pros: Great personality, very talented, knows how to win races.

Cons: Only running a handful of races isn’t a good way to get your name out there.

 

2017 Draft Card 23-Spencer DavisPick #23
Spencer Davis
Age: 18
Hometown: Dawsonville, GA
Series: Super Late Models / K&N East
Twitter: @SpencerDavis_29
Last Year's Pick: 8th

Davis has been around the racing scene for what seems like forever. From Super Late Models, to Modifieds, to his runs in K&N and ARCA cars, the young driver has gotten himself a fair amount of seat time, running almost every weekend since he began racing at a young age.

 

Halfway through last season, Davis was second in K&N East points after capturing a win at Dominion Raceway (VA), but after he split ways with Rainer Racing his season went downhill. The 2017 season has been anything but kind to the young driver. He won a night at Speedweeks in his Super Late Model, but since then he has been collected in multiple wrecks and faced countless mechanical issues.

 

Davis joins the impressive likes of Chase and Bill Elliott coming from Dawsonville, GA, but has a lot to live up to. With the loss of consistency and strong runs, Davis dropped from eighth on last year's ballot to right outside the top 20 in this year's draft.

 

Pros: Davis has a great social presence at the track and always conducts a professional interview regardless of that night's actions.

 

Cons: He’s not consistently running in a series at the moment and is hurting for consistent finishes at the moment.

 

2017 Draft Card 24-Hailie DeeganPick #24
Hailie Deegan
Age: 15
Hometown: Temecula, CA
Series: Late Models / Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
Twitter: @HailieDeegan
Last Year's Pick: Undrafted

Jamal Adams won a $50,000 bet with his father when he was selected sixth overall in this year’s NFL Draft by the New York Jets.  That bet was that Jamal would be picked higher than George Adams was when the New York Giants took him with the overall 19th selection years ago.

 

We don’t believe there is any bet between daughter Hailie Deegan and father Brian, but there is already a lot of discussion that the 15 year-old Hailie will outdo her famous father on the race track.

 

He is a former X-Games medalist, Monster Truck driver and winner in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, but she is already making her mark herself.  The polite young lady was the champion in the Mod Kart division of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in 2016.  This year Deegan has moved up to the highly-competitive Pro-Lite division and has picked off a regional series win and a second-place effort in the opening rounds of the national tour.

 

And while she is the first off-road racer to be selected in the Short Track Draft, she appears headed toward NASCAR in her future.  Deegan is currently a Toyota Racing Development Driver and has several Late Model races on her slate in 2017.  She has already finished on the podium in a couple races at Madera Speedway (CA) and should make her Super Late Model debut on the East Coast later this year.

 

The highly-touted racer is the first female to be selected in this year’s draft.  She received two top-five and five top-10 selections while being on nearly half of the voter's ballots.

 

Pros: She's got it all. Talent, personality and financial backing. With Toyota Racing behind her, as well as her father, she should be given everything she needs to succeed.

 

Cons: Lack of experience on pavement.  She still has plenty of time to learn, but with the label of potential comes the inherent risk of failure. The ball is in her court.

 

2017 Draft Card 25-Dillon BassettPick #25
Dillon Bassett
Age: 20
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Twitter: @Dillon_Wayne44
Last Year's Pick: 40th

Everyone in sports loves an underdog, and they also love a comeback story. Dillon Bassett is an example of both of these.

 

From the time he stepped into any kind of race car, he has been a beast, winning many races in Bandoleros and moving up to do the same in Late Model Stocks, particularly in 2014. In 2015, he caught the attention of the NASCAR world with a strong first win at Motordrome Speedway (PA) in his family-owned race car.

 

Things appeared to come crashing down in 2016 when the family shop and cars burned to the ground, but Bassett kept going.  He completed a majority of the schedule the rest of the season and is back stronger as ever in 2017, showing a true sense of dedication to the sport.

 

Pros: Bassett has shown patience throughout his career, but when the checkers are in front of him, you better watch out.

 

Cons: There are limitations for now on how much Bassett can do with the family budget and he has been unable to back up the 2015 win.

 

- Text by Speed51.com Staff

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2017 Short Track Draft Presented by PFC Brakes: Picks 11-25