Often imitated, but never duplicated, the Speed51.com JRi Short Track Power Poll ranks drivers from all across the land on their strength to this point in the season.
A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the fifth Short Track Power poll of 2017. Drivers in all forms of short track racing, including Late Models, NASCAR Touring Series, ARCA, Dirt Late Models and Modifieds, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and everything in between were eligible.
The rankings shown below were decided after polling our panel of experts in the industry. Rankings were based on overall number of votes, with more weight given to each vote the higher the vote. Example, a #1 vote would be more valuable than a #2, #3, etc.
Here are the results of the short track power rankings as of September 16, 2017:
#1 – Matt Sheppard – Dirt Modifieds – Since August 1, Sheppard has taken an astounding 15 race victories across the Dirt Modified scene in the Northeast. This includes five on the Super DIRTcar Series, one in Short Track Super Series competition, two at Outlaw Speedway (NY), three at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, and four at Utica-Rome Speedway. These are the kinds of numbers that no one in the top levels of short track racing has been able to duplicate in the past weeks.
#2 – Bubba Pollard – Super Late Models – The Southern Super Series has been all about Pollard lately as he has been able to string together back to back victories. After winning the Lee Fields Memorial at Mobile Int’l Speedway (AL) in August, Pollard started September strong with a win in his home state of Georgia in the Watermelon Classic at Crisp Motorsports Park. The win at Crisp was also the 100th career Late Model victory for Pollard.
#3 – Casey Roderick – Pro Late Models – Roderick and the Ronnie Sanders team continue to crush the PLM competition all across the Southeast. His latest triumphs include wins at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN), Five Flags Speedway (FL), and Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), the latest there coming in the prestigious Alabama 200.
#4 – Austin Therriault – ARCA Racing Series – This star racer from the state of Maine has made his mark on America’s Heartland this year, but not more so than in a single three-week period. In those weeks he won on the road course of Road America (WI), the dirt mile at DuQuoin (IL), and on the asphalt high-banks of Salem Speedway (IN), all while padding his points lead.
#5 – Lee Pulliam – Late Model Stock Cars – Pulliam has once again emerged as the front runner for another NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title collecting five wins in the past month. This past weekend was one of his best ever, winning on three straight days; first starting at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) on Friday night, then moving out to Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) Saturday night, also collecting the track title, all before finishing with a win at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) on Sunday.
#6 – Jonathan Davenport – Dirt Late Models – Sometimes it takes just one race and one win to make a mark and Davenport did just that last Saturday night. He stormed to the front to win his second career World 100 at Eldora Speedway (OH) and place himself once again on the top of the Dirt Late Model world.
#7 – Curtis Gerry – Super Late Models – For Gerry, it was the asphalt equivalent back on August 27 when the Beech Ridge (ME) ace made his mark just to the north at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), coming back from an early spin, and taking home the prestigious Oxford 250. The win also puts him among some of the most prominent names in not just the Northeast, but all Late Model racing.
#8 – Todd Gilliland – NASCAR K&N Pro Series – East, West, it doesn’t matter as Gilliland continues to chase history on both sides of the continent in a quest to win championships in both the K&N East and West Series. He padded points leads on both sides with an East win at Langley Speedway (VA), and a West victory at Douglas County Raceway (OR).
#9 – Carson Hocevar – Super & Pro Late Models – This Michigan hot shot continues to impress in 2017, as he wrapped up his first career Super Late Model championship at Berlin Raceway. On the Pro Late Model side, he is looking towards a possible championship on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, winning the last two races at Birch Run Speedway (MI) and at Winchester Speedway (IN) during the World Stock Car Festival.
#10 – Ryan Preece – Tour-type Modifieds – The momentum for Preece on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has been huge all season long, and it has barely waivered. Preece started the month with his second straight win at Stafford Motor Speedway, then collected his second straight at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT), and celebrated a career first win at Oswego Speedway (NY) over Labor Day weekend. This all bolstering the owner’s points lead for the No. 6 team and keeping him alive for the driver’s title.
#11 – Brian Campbell – Super Late Models – Campbell laid down the gauntlet in August on the ARCA/CRA Super Series, scoring back to back wins at Flat Rock Speedway (MI) and Berlin Raceway in the Battle at Berlin.
#12 – Dave Shullick, Jr. – Supermodifieds – These past weeks have been some of the greatest of “Shoe Two’s” career, winning the International Classic 200 at Oswego Speedway while securing the track championship and Bentley Warren Driver of the Year, and capping it with the ISMA Star Classic win at Star Speedway.
#13 – Phillip Morris – Late Model Stock Cars – Morris set the Virginia racing scene on fire over a few short days this past weekend, winning the $10,000 to win feature at Dominion Raceway and capping off an eighth title at Motor Mile Speedway.
#14 – Ricky Schlick – Super Late Models – The rising star of the SRL Southwest Tour turned heads on Labor Day weekend, winning the first ever Civil War 150 at Rocky Mountain Raceways (UT) against some of the best out west of the Rockies.
#15 – Tyler Roahrig – Outlaw Super Late Models – Roahrig did something that most racers often times are unable to do, beat Kyle Busch. That was exactly what happened in the Kalamazoo Klash at Kalamazoo Speedway (MI) in early August.
#16 – Dalton Armstrong – Super Late Models – Armstrong’s quest for the ARCA/CRA Super Series title got a huge boost on Labor Day when he won at Winchester Speedway during the World Stock Car Festival.
#17 – Trevor Huddleston – Super Late Models – Multiple wins in the last month at both Irwindale Speedway (CA) and Kern County Raceway Park (CA) have put Huddleston in the points lead at both tracks and given him a shot at a NASCAR National title.
#18 – Brandon Sheppard – Dirt Late Models – A season of domination on the World of Outlaws continues for Sheppard who picked up another three wins in August to add to his points total.
#19 – Reid Lanpher – Super Late Models – The state of Maine once again makes the list, this time in celebration of Lanpher who won the final four races of the season in the Pro Series at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway to lock up his second track title.
#20 – Ted Christopher – Tour-type & SK Modifieds – Not even a busted wrist could keep TC down in the past month, who dominated the Modified Racing Series race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT) in August, and who’s won three SK Modified races at Stafford Motor Speedway in the last month.
-Text by Speed51.com Staff
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos