On Thursday night, the long wait will end and we’ll find out who is the number-one pick in the 2020 Short Track Draft. It’s a process that has been taking place for 17 years, and has crowned some of the most promising racing prospects over that timespan.
Before tonight’s Short Track Draft Selection Show, here is a list of 51 facts about the Short Track Draft.
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Fact #1 – The Speed51 Short Track Draft started in 2004.
Fact #2 – Ryan Moore was the first number-one pick in the Short Track Draft.
Fact #3 – 100 drivers are selected for the Short Track Draft. This is in increase from the 51 drivers selected during the early years of the draft.
Fact #4 – Drivers over the age of 25 are not eligible be selected for the draft. In the past, the maximum age had been 30.
Fact #5 – Ross Kenseth is the only driver to be voted second the year after being number one. A new rule now makes drivers ineligible after becoming a number-one selection.
Fact #6 – Speed51 includes a “Best of the Rest” list to honor drivers who narrowly missed the top 100 picks.
Fact #7 – All forms of short track racing are included in the Short Track Draft, both dirt and pavement.
Fact #8 – 2006 was the first year 51 drivers were selected for the draft. The first two years saw 20 and 25 drivers drafted.
Fact #9 – Stephen Nasse has been selected in eight Short Track Drafts. With one year of eligibility remaining after this year, he has the potential to break the record of nine held by a variety of drivers.
Fact #10 – Four former number-one picks have won the All American 400: Bubba Pollard, Chase Elliott, Ross Kenseth and Daniel Hemric.
Fact #11 – Short track ace Ty Majeski was the 11th pick in 2015 before becoming the number-one pick in 2016.
Fact #12 – NASCAR Cup Series star Chase Elliott was the top pick in the 2010 draft.
Fact #13 – Media members, short track drivers, team owners, industry specialists and several others are asked to vote in the draft.
Fact #14 – The draft is based off the NFL Draft held during the same time and has become a big event for all.
Fact #15 – Speed51’s Bob Dillner has voted in all 17 Short Track Drafts on Speed51. Speed51 historian Elgin Traylor will be taking part in his 14th draft this year. Several other 51 members past and present have been participated in a double-digit amount of drafts.
Fact #16 – No one has ever been voted number one twice.
Fact #17 – Sadly, two former top picks are no longer with us. Matt Hawkins and Charlie Bradberry were both former number-one picks. We still honor them today for what they accomplished.
Fact #18 – Hailie Deegan is the highest voted female driver in the history of the draft. She was fourth in 2019, and she will look to improve on that effort in 2020.
Fact #19 – At the age of 14, Chase Elliott was the youngest number one pick back in 2010. Elliott will be a voter again this year.
Fact #20 – Past number-one draft picks have been asked to vote for future drafts.
Fact #21 – On his way to the number-one pick in 2018, Harrison Burton was voted in the top five in four straight years starting in 2015. He was fourth twice, then second, and finally first in 2018.
Fact #22 – Matt Hawkins, Daniel Hemric, Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton are all former number-one picks who were voted second the year before they were the first overall pick.
Fact #23 – 2007 was the last underage draft (under 21), which was won by Joey Logano.
Fact #24 – Speaking of the underage draft, Joey Logano was the winner in 2006 as well. These were the only two years this was done.
Fact #26 – Despite never being a number-one pick, Ryan Preece was selected in seven Short Track Drafts.
Fact #27 – This is the 17th year of the Short Track Draft on Speed51.
Fact #28 – Georgia Rules – Chandler Smith, Bubba Pollard, Chase Elliott, Matt Hawkins and Jason Hogan make up the six Peach State drivers who have been voted number one. The “Bulldogs” as we will call them have been tough during their runs.
Fact #29 – Bobby Pierce has been in the top five in each of the past four drafts. Can he make it five for five this year?
Fact #30 – 2019 Snowball Derby winner Travis Braden was 20th last year, and his best selection in the draft was eighth in 2017. This year, he will join the Short Track Draft Selection Show as an analyst.
Fact #31 – Trevor Bayne was 12th in 2009 and would go on to win the Daytona 500 in 2011. Joey Logano is the only other driver to receive votes and win the Daytona 500.
Fact #32 – Kyle Benjamin took the top spot in the Short Track Draft in 2013, the 10th year of the draft on Speed51.
Fact #33 – It is likely that, had our field been at 51 drivers in 2004, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin could have made the ballot.
Fact #34 – Only 20 names were selected the first year of the draft.
Fact #35 – Un-drafted drivers do happen and are great stories to racing world. One that we can think of is Brad Keselowski. He slipped under our radar.
Fact #36 – In 2015 Christopher Bell because the first consistent dirt driver to take the number one spot. 51 was founded as a pavement site and has been covering dirt for the last few years.
Fact #37 – Speed51 will have at least three hours of coverage tonight for the top 10 drivers, between the Short Track Draft Selection Show and the Short Track Draft Reaction Show.
Fact #38 – Brian Ickler was the 2009 top pick – here is a recent story we did on him.
Fact #39 – Spencer Davis has been selected in nine former Short Track Drafts
Fact #40 – He was voted in six times and his best tally was fifth in 2012, but Corey LaJoie has made it to the NASCAR Cup Series and, like all of us, is ready to go back racing.
Fact #41 – Former voters have included Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and several others.
Fact #42 – Ryan Moore is the only driver from Maine to be selected number one.
Fact #43 – Cup driver Ryan Blaney made three drafts, with his best selection being third in 2011.
Fact #44 – Darrell Wallace Jr. made three drafts like Blaney, and was the number-two pick in 2011.
Fact #45 – Christopher Bell is the only driver from Oklahoma to be voted number one.
Fact #46 – When Chase Elliott was selected with the number-one pick in the 2010 Short Track Draft, it was his first-ever appearance in the Short Track Draft, coming off the heels of an incredible 2009 season.
Fact #47 – The only other drivers to be selected number-one in their first-ever Short Track Draft appearance are Ryan Lawler (2007), Charlie Bradberry (2005) and, of course, inaugural number-one pick Ryan Moore.
Fact #48 – In recent years, number-one picks can be found near the top of the Short Track Draft in years leading up to their pinnacle season. The last number-one pick to come from outside the top 20 of the previous year’s draft was Christopher Bell, making the jump from 24th in 2014 to the top spot in 2015.
Fact #49 – While many dirt racers have earned prime draft choices, Bobby Pierce’s recent string of top-five draft picks is a rare display of success for Dirt Late Model racers in the Short Track Draft. You have to go back to Josh Richards in 2009 to find the last top-five Dirt Late Model draft selection prior to “The Smooth Operator.”
Fact #50 – Four of last year’s top 10 picks in the Short Track Draft were not on the ballot for the 2020 Draft. Those drivers were Chandler Smith, Christian Eckes, Derek Kraus and Raphael Lessard. Along with the 25-year-old age limit, former number-one picks and drivers who have moved on to NASCAR’s top three series lose Short Track Draft eligibility.
Fact #51 – You’ll be able to find out who is taken number-one in the 2020 Short Track Draft first Thursday Night at 7 p.m. ET on the Short Track Draft Selection Show. Click here to watch live on Thursday evening.
-Text by Speed51 Staff
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo