A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the fourth 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 August 8, 2017:
#1 – Matt Hirschman – Tour-type Modifieds – Hirschman rattled off seven straight Modified victories during the months of June and July before seeing his streak come to an end this past weekend at Chemung Speedrome (NY). He won “Big Money” races like the SBM 125 at Star Speedway (NH) and Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway (MA). He won touring events, including four Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series races at Lake Erie Speedway (PA), Jennerstown Speedway (PA), Oswego Speedway (NY) and Holland Speedway (NY). And he also won a 50-lap Tour-type Modified special show at Evergreen Raceway Park (PA). To put it quite simply, there was nobody in short track racing who outperformed Hirschman the last two months.
#2 – Todd Gilliland – NASCAR K&N Pro Series – After watching Harrison Burton dominate the early part of the 2017 season, Todd Gilliland has appeared to take over during the middle half of the season. Gilliland rattled off three straight NASCAR K&N Pro Series victories at Berlin Raceway (MI), New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway during the month of July. He now leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings and trails Burton by just four points on the East Coast.
#3 – Bubba Pollard – Super Late Models – If there has been a big Super Late Model race over the past two months, more than likely Bubba Pollard has been contending for the victory. Pollard scored a big Slinger Nationals win in July and followed that up with a Southern Super Series victory at Five Flags Speedway (FL), the home of the Snowball Derby. Add in a Money in the Bank win at Berlin Raceway (MI) earlier this year and Pollard seems to be back at the top of his game.
#4 – Preston Peltier – Super Late Models – Peltier has been a machine on the West Coast Super Late Model scene over the past few months. His resume during that time is highlighted by a big $25,000 Summer Showdown victory at Evergreen Speedway (WA), but he also won the Spud 150 at Magic Valley Speedway (ID) as well. Peltier has quietly been doing damage thus far in 2017 and has been a contender nearly everywhere his No. 48 team has gone.
#5 – Ryan Preece – Tour-type Modifieds – Preece’s biggest victory didn’t come in the short track ranks, but it certainly had a big impact on short track racing. The Berlin, CT driver’s NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Iowa Speedway was “one for the short track guys,” as Preece put it. In addition to that victory, Preece also recently won the Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire and the Stafford 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
#6 – Matt Sheppard – Dirt Modifieds – Sheppard broke his Super DIRTcar Series winless drought by sweeping the races north of the border in Quebec at Autodrome Grandby and Autodrome Drummond. But that’s not all that he did. Since the beginning of July, Sheppard has won three times at Outlaw Speedway (NY), twice at Utica-Rome Speedway (NY) and twice at Canandaigua Motorsports Park (CT). In case you weren’t counting, that’s a total of nine wins since the start of July.
#7 – Brandon Sheppard – Dirt Late Models – Sheppard continues to be a dominating force within the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series ranks. He has picked up five more victories since the beginning of July and has now stretched his lead in the championship standings to a whopping 252 points.
#8 – Travis Braden – Super Late Models – Braden has been the driver to beat in ARCA/CRA Super Series competition during recent weeks. He recorded dominating performances at both Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) and Kil-Kare Raceway (OH) before heading to Winchester Speedway (IN) for the ARCA Racing Series race. Braden turned heads in that race by finishing fourth in the RFMS Racing No. 27 normally driven by AJ Fike.
#9 – Philip Morris – Late Model Stock Cars – In somewhat silent fashion, Morris has been arguably the hottest driver in the Late Model Stock Car ranks in 2017. During July, he won the big South Boston 200 as well as a 100-lap race held at the Virginia race track. Morris has also been visiting Motor Mile Speedway where he has won three of the last four races, with two of those victories being over LMSC ace Lee Pulliam.
#10 – Travis Benjamin – Super Late Models – After a rough start to the 2017 season, Benjamin and the Petit Motorsports team are hitting their stride. With PASS North finishes of first (Star), first (Oxford) and second (Lee) over the last three races it’s hard to argue against Benjamin. The race that he circles on his calendar, the Oxford 250, is coming up and he’s at the top of his game at the perfect time.
#11 – David Gravel – Sprint Cars – Gravel continues to have a strong 2017 season with three World of Outlaws victories during the month of July.
#12 – Bobby Santos – Tour-type Modifieds & USAC Silver Crown – Santos scored a huge NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at New Hampshire before stepping into a USAC Silver Crown car and winning races at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) and Toledo Speedway (OH).
#13 – Owen Riddle – Super Late Models – Riddle picked up a big victory in the Montana 200 and backed it up with a Northwest Super Late Model Series win at Spokane Super Oval (WA).
#14 – Kres VanDyke – Late Model Stock Cars – VanDyke has been dominating the Virginia/Tennessee Late Model scene at Lonesome Pine Raceway (VA) and Kingsport Speedway (TN). He scored four victories this past weekend to bring his season total to 24 wins.
#15 – Matt Craig – Super Late Models – Craig continued a strong 2017 season with a PASS South victory at Southern National Motorsports Park in July.
#16 – Donny Schatz – Sprint Cars – Add three more World of Outlaws victories to Schatz’s resume during the month of July. He sits at the top of the World of Outlaws point standings with an 82-point advantage over Brad Sweet.
#17 – Erick Rudolph – Dirt Modifieds – “The Firestarter” broke through for his first Short Track Super Series victory in a big way with a $10,000 win at Susquehanna Speedway (PA). He also picked up a Super DIRTcar Series victory at Sharon Speedway (OH).
#18 – Dalton Sargeant – ARCA Racing Series – Sargeant has been on a tear in the ARCA ranks, recording recent victories at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) and Iowa Speedway.
#19 – Brett Hearn – Dirt Modifieds – Hearn hasn’t been winning a lot, but his most recent wins show a lot of power. Last weekend, “The Jet” picked up his 900th and 901st career Dirt Modified victory at Albany-Saratoga Speedway (NY) and Lebanon Valley Speedway (NY), respectively.
#20 – Trevor Huddleston – Late Models – Huddleston currently leads the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings with 16 combined wins between Kern County Raceway Park (CA), Irwindale Speedway (CA) and Tucson Speedway (AZ).
-Text by Speed51.com Staff. Photo credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images