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2018 PFC Short Track Draft Third-Round Picks: #26-51

May 1, 2018 • App, Archives, Other News, Region - National, Short Track Draft, Ticker

The 2018 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes ballot was completed by 61 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, short track racing veterans 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 2018 Short Track Draft.  

 

The number-one overall pick was revealed on Thursday, April 26. The second pick was revealed on Friday, April 27.  Later that day, the remainder of the first-round picks (3-10) were revealed on Speed51.com. 

 

The second-round picks (11-25) were announced on Monday, April 29. 

 

For the first time in the history of the Short Track Draft, Speed51.com will be revealing the top 100 picks in the draft.  The fourth round (52-75) will be revealed Wednesday, May 2 at 5 p.m with the fifth and final round (76-100) being announced Thursday, May 3 at 5 p.m. 

Here are the 2018 Short Track Draft picks #26-51. 


Pick #26
Brandon Setzer
Age: 24
Hometown: Newton, NC
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @BSetzerRacing6
Last Year’s Pick: 22nd

Since moving to the Late Model ranks, Brandon Setzer has made the best of a tight budget year after year, carrying on his family’s racing tradition. Not only has he remained competitive, but he is always a favorite to win no matter the track or competition.

 

In 2017, Setzer showed great consistency on the CARS Super Late Model Tour, sweeping a twin bill at Dominion Raceway (VA) and finishing runner-up in points for the second straight year despite missing one race. He ended the year strong, winning the $10,000-to-win Pro All Stars Series Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC).

 

Setzer has carried the winning the momentum into 2018, starting the year off winning the Greenville Meltdown at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC).

 

Pros: Knows how to get the best out of his equipment and take it to victory lane. One of the most personable drivers to talk to for the fans and media at the track.

 

Cons: Despite his success and family name, he has yet to receive an offer from a team with a higher budget. He’s also not the most visible on social media.

 

Pick #27
Trevor Huddleston
Age: 21
Hometown: Agoura Hills, CA
Series: Super Late Models / K&N West
Twitter: @TrevorHudd50
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Huddleston has represented the Southwest with great distinction the past two years in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 2017 he took home another Irwindale Speedway Late Model and NASCAR California State Championship, amassing 22 wins overall, and coming a close runner-up in the National points.

 

In 2018, he has shown some promise in a pair of touring starts, running top 10 in his second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start at Kern County Raceway and scoring a top five in the SRL Southwest Tour race at his home track of Irwindale.

 

Pros: Established himself as a winner and a champion on the West Coast and has made a name for himself in the NASCAR Home Tracks ranks.

 

Cons: Huddleston has a somewhat scattered social media presence. He also hasn’t had as much success in touring series competition compared to his competition on the West Coast.

 

Pick #28
Carson Kvapil
Age: 14
Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Series: Limited Late Models
Twitter: @Carson_Kvapil
Last Year’s Pick: 45th

Carson Kvapil lit Millbridge Speedway (NC) on fire in 2017, dominating the Outlaw Kart ranks at the small North Carolina dirt oval. Since then, he’s jumped into Limited Late Models and has been winning in those as well.

 

At just 14 years old, Kvapil has already shown that he can win races and championships. The big question is whether Kvapil can continue to do that as he progresses through the bigger cars on pavement.

 

Pros: Kvapil is young and can win.

 

Cons: Most of Kvapil’s winning has been done in Outlaw Karts. Will that translate to success in bigger cars on pavement?

 

Pick #29
Max McLaughlin
Age: 18
Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Series: Dirt Modifieds
Twitter: @MaxMcLaughlin_
Last Year’s Pick: 20th

The son of “Magic Shoes” Mike McLaughlin continues to have tons of potential, but has yet to cash in on that potential as much as some expected him to.

 

McLaughlin picked up his first career Big-Block Modified win last season and started to improve on his results during his sophomore season.  He also made his first asphalt start in 2018, so that is a step in the right direction when it comes to getting to the higher levels of NASCAR.

 

McLaughlin has at least four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts planned with Niece Motorsports in 2018.

 

Pros: Great personality, a fan favorite and great on social media. McLaughlin has a lot of the intangibles needed to make it to the next level.

 

Cons: He is still lacking in the wins category. Competing in the ultra-competitive Dirt Modified ranks, it would be beneficial for McLaughlin to snag a few more wins to boost his draft stock.

 

Pick #30
Spencer Davis
Age: 19
Hometown: Dawsonville, GA
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Twitter: @SpencerDavis_29
Last Year’s Pick: 23rd

Davis has raced anything and everything on asphalt in recent years. He’s enjoyed success along the way in nearly everything he’s raced, but he’s been unable to sustain that success for an extended period.

 

Currently, Davis is racing for Danny Watts Racing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit, where he’s recorded finishes of sixth and seventh in two starts this season.  He’s also scheduled to run a handful of races of Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

 

Pros: He’s proven he can race and win in everything from Late Models, to Tour-type Modifieds, to the heavier NASCAR K&N Pro Series Stock Cars.

 

Cons: He hasn’t been able to establish a consistent ride in any series.  It’s hard to keep track of a driver and their success when they’re bouncing around to different divisions/cars.

 

Pick #31
Giovanni Bromante
Age: 14
Hometown: Lattingtown, NY
Series: Pro Late Models
Twitter: @GioBromante77
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Long Island, New York isn’t exactly a Pro Late Model hot bed, but that’s exactly where Giovanni Bromante comes from. So far, Bromante has proven that successful Pro Late Model drivers can come from New York.

 

Bromante has won multiple times in the Pro Late Model between the end of 2017 and start of 2018, including an impressive performance that saw him start at the rear of the field and make it to the lead before the halfway mark at Alabama’s Montgomery Motor Speedway.

 

Pros: Bromante can win races against stiff competition.

 

Cons: Bromante is still a bit too quiet, and even though he’s proven he can win, he had a rough Speedweeks and many people remember that.

 

Pick #32
Natalie Decker
Age: 20
Hometown: Eagle River, WI
Series: ARCA Racing Series
Twitter: @NatalieRacing
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

This is the first time Natalie Decker has made it into the top 51 in the Short Track Draft. The 20 year-old is currently sixth in the ARCA Racing Series standings, with one top-five finish in her first four starts of the season for Venturini Motorsports. The Wisconsinite made a big splash by winning the pole for the ARCA race at Daytona (FL).

 

Natalie has a lot of prowess, and it’s not just behind the wheel of a race car. While she has seen some success on the race track, her marketing power is endless and that’s what makes her special. She’s not only friendly; she’s bubbly and she kills it on social media. This is what has carried her to this point because, according to our records, she hasn’t won a race in more than a year.

 

If this girl can win a race this year in ARCA, and it is certainly possible, she will vault to the top of the draft list.

 

Pros: Has a radiant personality and can market product better than most people her age.

 

Cons: Needs to win and/or consistently run up front to further prove herself.

 

Pick #33
Hailie Deegan
Age: 16
Hometown: Temecula, CA
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Twitter: @HailieDeegan
Last Year’s Pick: 24th

Hailie Deegan has fallen a couple of spots in this year’s draft selection, but she also has one of the highest rebound potentials.

 

The 16-year-old made the transition from off-road racing on dirt to the pavement Late Model scene in 2017. And while she saw some success at Madera Speedway (CA), some of her other starts on the east coast were not up to par where she admittedly wanted to be.

 

This year Deegan is with Bill McAnally Racing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West circuit. She’s already had a seventh-place run in the season opener at Kern County Raceway Park (CA).

 

She’s got talent, as evident by her title in the Mod Kart division of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in 2016 and good runs in the Pro-Lite Truck one year ago. She also has a vibrant personality and that will get you places.

 

The 16-year-old is the daughter of X-Games Medalist / Off-Road racer Brian Deegan, and that #Deegan38 brand is a marketing powerhouse.

 

Pros: Besides the personality and the evident talent, she’s got true grit and determination.

 

Cons: She needs to finish consistently well and win… bottom line.

 

Pick #34
Buddy Shepherd
Age: 18
Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: N/A
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Buddy Shepherd has found success all across Southern California throughout the past couple seasons, finding his greatest triumphs at Madera Speedway. He has won both the Open Late Model title in 2015 and in 2017 winning the track’s Short Track Shootout against some of the finest drivers in the region.

 

In addition to success at Kern County Raceway in 2015 and 2016, Shepherd broke through for his first SRL Southwest Tour win in 2017 at Madera and in 2018 has placed top five in the first two races of the season.

 

His most-recognized finish may have been a second-place finish to Kyle Busch during the 2018 Winter Showdown at Kern County (CA).

 

Pros: Knows how to achieve success against a tough roster in both races and season-long championship battles.

 

Cons: His name is not as well-known beyond Souther California. He also doesn’t have a Twitter account (that we could find), which is a big negative in today’s world.

 

Pick #35
Sam Mayer
Age: 14
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Series: Late Model Stock Cars
Twitter: @sammayerracing
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Sam Mayer had some solid runs in Late Model Stock cars throughout 2017, including a top-five in the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC). However, the Wisconsin native exploded onto the radar with a strong showing in the Super Late Model division at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).

 

With six top-fives in seven races, Mayer contended for the World Series title all the way to the final night. Adding a victory during Speedweeks (or since then on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour for JR Motorsports) would have bolstered his stock, but Mayer has plenty of opportunity to further rocket up the draft board for 2019.

 

Pros: Talented and mature beyond his years, both behind the wheel and in interviews.

 

Cons: Still looking for his first Late Model win to truly move up the ranks.

 

Pick #36
Cayden Lapcevich
Age: 18
Hometown: Grimsby, ON, Canada
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @CaydenLapcevich
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Those in the United States may not be familiar with Lapcevich, but they should be.  The 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion has established himself as one of the most promising prospects from north of the border in recent years.

 

Lapcevich has recorded six NASCAR Pinty’s Series wins over the course of the last two seasons while competing in the popular Canadian touring series.

 

This season, Lapcevich plans to compete in more Super Late Model races in the United States, including a handful of CRA events in the Midwest. Success in those races could go a long way towards raising his stock for next year’s draft.

 

Pros: He’s a proven winner and champion. He’s also a member of NASCAR Next, which helps groom racers both on and off the race track.

 

Cons: His success in Canada hasn’t been noticed by a lot of people in the United States.

 

Pick #37
Layne Riggs
Age: 15
Hometown: Bahama, NC
Series: CARS Tour – Late Model Stock Cars
Twitter: @LayneRiggs99
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Layne Riggs moves onto the Short Track Draft board after narrowly missing out in 2017. With a pair of wins, Riggs contended for the CARS Late Model Stock Tour last season. He ultimately lost out to Late Model Stock standout Josh Berry for the championship, but Riggs established himself as one of the top up-and-coming drivers in the discipline.

 

2018 is not off to the start Riggs hoped, most notably due to an off-track dirt bike incident sidelining him. However, he plans to be back in the car soon, where he’ll look to return to his winning ways of last season.

 

Pros: Race-winning, title-contending driver at the Late Model Stock level.

 

Cons: Lacking in social media presence. Like in any draft, his injury may have hurt his stock this year as well.

 

Pick #38
Patrick Emerling
Age: 25
Hometown: Orchard Park, NY
Series: RoC Asphalt Modifieds
Twitter: @PatrickEmerling
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Patrick Emerling is a former Modified champion, who doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. Emerling runs up front with the best competition Modified racing has to offer. Emerling won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) in 2017, holding off four-time defending champion Doug Coby.

 

Pros: Emerling knows how to win races and championships against stiff competition.

 

Cons: Emerling does not race the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regularly. To those who are on the outside of the Modified world looking in, Emerling scored points against because of that.

 

Pick #39
Tyler Ankrum
Age: 18
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
Series: K&N East / Super Late Models
Twitter: @TylerAnkrum
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

At just the young age of 14, Tyler Ankrum made the bold call to leave the West Coast and pursue his racing ambitions in the Southeast, immediately being pitted against some of the toughest drivers in the entire country.

 

Starting off in Late Model Stock Cars at South Boston Speedway in 2014 and moving to the CARS Late Model Stock Tour in 2015, Ankrum is now in his third season of Super Late Model racing while also tackling his first year of Stock Cars in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. While he has not collected trophies, Ankrum has achieved a consistency that is usually seen from drivers twice his age. That consistency has given him the early points lead in K&N East competition.

 

Pros: Already possesses a knowledge of the racing world at a very young age and is popular with fans at the track and on social media.

 

Cons: He has yet to win in the many races he has run since 2015.

 

Pick #40
Ricky Schlick
Age: 21
Hometown: Claremont, CA
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @RickySchlick
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

After becoming a West Coast star of the SRL Legend Car ranks just five years ago, and continuing his Legends Car prowess to this day; Ricky Schlick has worked towards building a Late Model career in the Southwest.

 

All that came to fruition in 2017 with his first full season in the SRL Southwest Tour. A season full of consistency culminated with a win in one of the biggest races of the year, winning the combined SRL/Northwest Super Late Model Series show at Rocky Mountain Raceways, helping to solidify a runner-up in the championship.

 

In 2018, Schlick is showing signs of consistency again to start the SRL season.

 

Pros: Has shown a knack for finishing races near the front, while also breaking through for a win. Increased his presence on social media.

 

Cons: Despite all of the consistency, he has only one win to show in Late Model competition. He could use more time in full-size cars over Legend Cars.

Pick #41
Brittney Zamora
Age: 19
Hometown: Kennewick, WA
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @brittz52
Last Year’s Pick: Not Drafted

Brittney Zamora climbs into the top-51 for the first time this year on the back of a big accomplishment. Zamora became the first female driver to win a major Super Late Model touring series championship in 2017.

 

While her win totals weren’t anything special, she can say she is a champion, and that is extremely marketable.

 

Pros: Zamora can say that she is a champion, which can be marketed well by any future car owners.

 

Cons: There can be a debate about the quality of competition that she beat.

 

Pick #42
Corey Heim
Age: 14
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: N/A
Last Year’s Pick: Not Drafted

Corey Heim grabbed the attention of some race fans with four top-five finishes in Pro Late Model competition during Florida Speedweeks at New Smyrna.  But it was his encore performance, a fifth-place finish in a Super Late Model during the Rattler 250 that really made our experts believe he may be the real deal.

 

Heim is still young and still learning, but a top-five in his Super Late Model debut against some of the toughest competition in th country says a lot about his potential.

 

Pros: He’s young and he has loads of potential.

 

Cons: He’s still yet to win a Late Model race, so a trip to victory lane would certainly help his stock.

 

Pick #43
Logan Seavey
Age: 21
Hometown: Sutter, CA
Series: Sprint Cars / Midgets
Twitter: @Logan_Seavey
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Logan Seavey can overcome any obstacle. At 19 years old he was forced to have open-heart surgery. Since then, Seavey has not only returned to racing, but he’s also returned to winning races and championships.

 

Seavey won the 2017 POWRi National Midget title on the backs of two victories. He also scored wins in POWRi National Sprint Car competition as well.

 

Pros: Seavey has the drive to achieve anything he sets out to achieve.

 

Cons: Most of Seavey’s racing has been in open-wheel competition on dirt. Will he venture out beyond that?

 

Pick #44
Reid Lanpher
Age: 19
Hometown: Manchester, ME
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: N/A
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Lanpher had a dream start to the 2017 season and carried that momentum throughout the season in the Northeast.  In addition to his 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Maine State Championship, Lanpher also scored a pair of PASS North victories at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).

 

Despite his success on the race track, it may be his off-track work ethic helping manage his family-owned RV and trailer business that says the most about him.

 

Lanpher has also earned a handful of starts in NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars in recent years, but has only had moderate success in those races.

 

Pros: Very mature for a 19-year-old and knows how to win races.

 

Cons: He’s still seeking the biggest win of them all: an Oxford 250 win.  He’s now finished second twice.  A win in the crown jewel Super Late Model race could go a long way towards helping his draft stock.

 

Pick #45
Riley Herbst
Age: 19
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Series: ARCA Racing Series
Twitter: @rileyherbst
Last Year’s Pick: Undrafted

Herbst is a good example of a driver achieving so much at young age. He has driven for some of the best in his young career, first with Bill McAnally in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and now Joe Gibbs in the ARCA Racing Series.

 

He took a consistent Rookie of the Year season in K&N West straight to ARCA in 2017 where he won the Rookie of the Year title there as well.  He also proved he could win races by scoring a victory on the tricky Pocono Raceway.

 

Herbst’s presence in the NASCAR Next program has also helped to set the foundation for a promising career.

 

Pros: Knows how to be in the spotlight with both big owners and fans. He has learned well from NASCAR Next, becoming present on social media.

 

Cons: While consistent, he has not shown as great a knack for winning despite the top equipment.

 

Pick #46
Tyler Courtney
Age: 23
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Series: USAC Midgets / Sprint Cars
Twitter: @TyCourtney23
Last Year’s Pick: Missed the Cut

After just missing the cut of last year’s draft, Tyler Courtney adds his name to the list of 51 of the best drivers in the nation, according to Speed51.com’s panel of experts. Courtney picked up a Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals preliminary win in 2017 as well as a handful of wins.

 

Going into 2018, Courtney is racing under the Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing banner and has already collected 4 wins combined in 410ci winged sprint cars, 360 winged sprint cars, and midgets. His 2018 season plans consist of running all three of the top USAC divisions and contend for a point championship in two of those.

 

Pros: Young, sporty driver. Under a great banner that will get him the attention he needs.

 

Cons: You won’t catch Courtney outside of his Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing pit or away from his team often. He’s got a tight-knit group and keeps it that way.

 

Pick #47
Will Rodgers
Age: 23
Hometown: Murrieta, CA
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series
Twitter: @WillRodgers65
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Will Rodgers scored two victories in 2017, but it wasn’t the wins that caught the attention of the racing world. Instead, it was a second-place run.

 

Rodgers finished second in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick on the road course at Sonoma.

 

Pros: Rodgers got the racing world talking with that runner-up finish to Harvick.

 

Cons: Rodgers’ two victories in 2017 came on the road courses of Watkins Glen and New Jersey Motorsports Park. His second-place run came on a road course at Sonoma. Yes, he’s run up front on ovals before, but can he win on ovals?

 

Pick #48
Ty Gibbs
Age: 15
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Series: CARS Tour – Late Model Stock Cars
Twitter: @TyGibbs_
Last Year’s Pick: Not Drafted

Ty Gibbs, grandson of legendary NASCAR owner and NFL coach Joe Gibbs, has shown flashes of brilliance as he climbs the racing ladder. He won two Late Model Stock races at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in 2017 and scored his first CARS Tour pole earlier this year at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC).

 

However, he is still a young, developing driver with learning to do. This was on display in that CARS Tour race in March, when Gibbs’ pushed too hard in the early stages, using up his tires and fading to a 22nd-place finish on a track known for an abrasive surface.

 

Pros: Championship bloodline and a fast driver.

 

Cons: Needs to further develop his racecraft to take the next step.

 

Pick #49
Cole Butcher
Age: 21
Hometown: Porter’s Lake, NS, Canada
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @colebutcher1
Last Year’s Pick: 32nd

Butcher, a member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, makes the top 51 in the Short Track Draft for the second straight season.

 

Despite missing a race, Butcher finished second in the 2017 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour standings in 2017 with two wins and 10 top-five finishes in 11 starts.  Being a member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program has also helped him to become better away from the race track through charitable work.

 

Pros: He’s one of the best Pro Stock racers in the Maritime region.  When you think of racing in that region, you think of Cole Butcher first.

 

Cons: He’s still somewhat shy, but has become more outgoing in the last year.

 

Pick #50
Anthony Alfredo
Age: 19
Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Series: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Twitter: @anthonyfalfredo
Last Year’s Pick: Best of the Rest

Anthony Alfredo competed for the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship last season with JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry and Layne Riggs. Berry ultimately won the title, but “Fast Pasta” picked up a pair of wins, both at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC).

 

Alfredo moved up to the K&N Pro Series East this season, driving for MDM Motorsports. The results weren’t there in his first two races, crashing out at both New Smyrna and Bristol, but he showed speed at New Smyrna and finished second last weekend at Langley Speedway (VA).

 

Pros: Multi-time winner at the Late Model Stock level.

 

Cons: He didn’t have a lot of success in his first two starts in a K&N East stock car. Competing with a team like MDM, many in the industry expect great results right away. 

 

Pick #51
Cole Anderson
Age: 20
Hometown: Northfield, MN
Series: Super Late Models
Twitter: @Cole_Anderson97
Last Year’s Pick: 33rd

Anderson has navigated both the Upper Midwest and Deep South while gaining experience in the Late Model ranks.

 

The Pro Late Models are where he has succeeded the most, especially at New Smyrna Speedway during February Speedweeks. In 2018, Anderson won five times on his way to winning the World Series title in a ride for owner Mike Skinner.

 

He has also shown an ability in the Super Late Model ranks, winning twice on the Southern Super Series in 2016 and finishing runner-up in the TUNDRA Series in 2017. For the most part though, Anderson has been content to run in the Pro Late Models.

 

Pros: Anderson has worked with some of the best in the Late Model business and can get to victory lane.

 

Cons: His growth has slowed in recent years and his success has been limited to a handful of tracks.

 

– Text by Speed51.com staff

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