The 2019 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes ballot was completed by 78 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-10 votes in order to determine the top-51 picks in the 2018 Short Track Draft.
The second round of picks (11-25) will be announced at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 28. The third round (26-51) will be announced on Monday, April 29 at 5 p.m.
For the second 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 Tuesday, April 30 at 12 p.m. with the fifth and final round (76-100) being announced Tuesday, April 30 at 5 p.m.
Here are the 2019 Short Track Draft picks #6-10.
Pick #6 – Giovanni Bromante
Hometown: Lattingtown, NY
Series: Super Late Models
Last Year’s Pick: 31st
Sometimes, an injury in college can derail the draft stock of a prospective NFL Draftee, as teams wonder whether or not the player has fully recovered from the injury and can still compete at the highest level of the sport. Giovanni Bromante has already erased any such questions from the injury he suffered last year.
The karting graduate from Long Island impressed the expert panel enough to place him 31st in last year’s draft as a rising star in Pro Late Models, with a top-five and two top-10s at the New Smyrna (FL) World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing before winning the Show Me The Money Series opener at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL).
That hot start ended in October when “Gio” suffered a serious back injury in a dirt bike accident, ending his 2018 season.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Bromante didn’t just return from the injury in time for the Rattler Weekend at South Alabama Speedway, he graduated from the Pro Late Models and made his Super Late Model debut for Anthony Campi Racing.
If there were any complications returning from injury or adjusting to the Super Late Model, Bromante didn’t show it, winning the prestigious Rattler 250 by holding off a pair of former number-one draft picks in Harrison Burton and Ty Majeski.
Bromante backed the Rattler victory up with a win in his very next race, recovering from a late-race incident to win the Blizzard Series opener at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and make it two-for-two in Super Late Models.
It’s unrealistic to expect Bromante to continue his perfect season, but his quick recovery and adjustment rocketed him up the draft boards, and there could be even more in store for the New York native in the next draft.
Pick #7 – Jeremy Doss
Hometown: Upper Lake, CA
Series: Super Late Models
Last Year’s Pick: 10th
As analysts in the media dissect the NFL Draft each year, they often come under fire for their choices from fans. One common complaint is “East Coast Bias,” the belief that such analysts don’t give their due to top prospects playing in the Western United States.
Jeremy Doss continues to perform at a level on the race track that forces experts across North America to take notice, and his Short Track Draft stock climbs each season as a result, moving up to seventh in the 2019 Draft.
The California driver claimed the 2018 SRL Spears Southwest Tour championship, winning three of the series’ nine races and scoring eight top-five finishes. Doss also has a win at All American Speedway (CA) already on the 2019 SRL season.
Along with his Southwest dominance, Doss is traveling with more frequency to challenge the best of the best in Super Late Model racing. Last December, Doss finished 11th in the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. Doss is also a two-time winner in the Montana 200 after adding his second triumph in that event last summer.
As a result, Doss’ draft stock continues to improve after placing 18th in 2017 and 10th last year. Doss accumulated six first-place votes, placed in the top five in 16 ballots, and placed in the top ten in 31 ballots.
Doss may be a West Coast racer, but he continues to draw nationwide attention and move up the Short Track Draft boards as a result.
Pick #8 – Connor Okrzesik
Hometown: Grand Bay, AL
Series: Super / Pro Late Models
Last Year’s Pick: 62nd
After closing out the 2018 season with a strong fourth-place finish in the Snowball Derby, Okrzesik stole the attention of the short track world in January by beating out Kyle Busch for the win in the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of CRA Speedfest 2019. Riding the momentum into his first ever ARCA Menards Series start for his family team, Okrzesik has been able to continue his success throughout the short track ranks.
Like a quarterback skyrocketing up the draft boards, Okrzesik has had a few decent seasons under his belt, but has clearly answered the call of “What have you done for me lately?”
Okrzesik appeared on the ballots of 54 voting members, tied for third most of any driver. Of those, he achieved 10 top-five votes, and 35 top-10 votes, achieving 66% quality votes overall. He was also chosen by two experts as the number-one overall pick.
His selection as the eighth pick is the highest that Okrzesik has ever been in the draft, far surpassing his 62nd pick last year. Up to this point in the draft, his 54 positions gained is the most of any driver.
At the age of 17, Okrzesik has eight years of eligibility left, and with the intention to increase his number of ARCA Menards Series starts in 2019, he has the chance to continue his rise up the ranks.
Now that he’s proven he can compete with the best of the best, the question is if he can sustain this success and keep clicking off wins. If he does, we expect to see him continue to rise up the draft board.
Pick #9 – Derek Kraus
Hometown: Stratford, WI
Series: K&N West / Super Late Models / NASCAR Trucks
Last Year’s Pick: 9th
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Derek Kraus has been selected ninth in the Short Track Draft. If you’ve been paying attention, this is the second consecutive year that the Wisconsin young gun has been selected as the ninth pick.
Like a quarterback that delivers consistent performances game after game, Kraus has used a mixture of race wins and strong finishes to stay fresh in the minds of our 80 short track experts.
After entering last year’s Short Track Draft as a two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner, Kraus has since added more victories in NASCAR’s regional stock car racing series. He scored a season-high four victories in 2018 on his way to a second-place finish in the championship standings. He then kicked his season off on a high note by score his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in the season opener at New Smyrna Speedway.
Although he seems to have a knack for running well in the heavier stock cars, Kraus has appeared to struggle behind the wheel of a Super Late Model. In five ARCA Midwest Tour races last season, he didn’t score a single top-10 finish. He did charge from 29th to 16th in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, but his lack of success in Super Late Models could’ve possibly held him back from climbing up the board in this year’s draft .
Kraus snagged one first-place vote in this year’s draft, but he had 27 top-five votes from our panel of 80 experts. Overall, he garnered votes from 55 experts; however, the quality of his votes were lower than most of the drivers selected before him.
Moving forward, Kraus will continue to race full-time for Bill McAnally Racing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West circuit. He also has four NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series events scheduled with BMR this season.
Pick #10 – Raphael Lessard
Hometown: St-Joseph de Beauce, QC, Canada
Current Level: ARCA / K&N / Trucks
Last Year’s Pick: 14th
Transferring schools can often be a risky move for a student athlete, but picking the right school to transfer to with the right role and opportunity for a player will ultimately see a player earn greater recognition in the draft than anticipated.
In a sense, Raphael Lessard has gone through two transfers in the last two seasons in the racing world. First in 2018, he moved his talents from David Gilliland Racing to Kyle Busch Motorsports to drive in the team’s Super Late Model.
After finding his groove with the KBM team the first few races, the results showed during the middle of the 2018 season. First winning during the Short Track U.S. Nationals at famed Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) last May, then taking a marquee race win in the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway (IN) and having a near shot at a Snowball Derby win before being sidelined with a mechanical issue.
Now, 2019 has brought another bold change, a focus on the ranks of NASCAR (Trucks and K&N) and the ARCA Menards Series. While the number of races for Lessard has decreased, the quality of the opportunities and what he has done so far has not only kept his draft stock in place, but it has helped to raise it back up.
After being selected 14th in the 2018 Short Track Draft raft, after placing seventh in 2017 following a CARS Tour Super Late Model title in his first year outside of Canada, Lessard is continuing to establish himself as one of the sport’s current top prospects.
Lessard earned top-10 votes from 29 of our experts, including a single first-place vote and 11 top fives. He also earned an average vote of 12.5 from the 52 experts who placed him on their ballot.