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 first JRi Shocks 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 March 22, 2018:
#1 – Jonathan Davenport - Dirt Late Models - "Superman" has returned to form in 2018 after a subpar 2017 season. Davenport has five wins already in 2018 including three Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories, a DIRTcar Late Model win at Volusia (FL) and a Carolina Clash win at Lancaster (SC). Davenport currently leads the LOLMDS point standings after nine events.
#2 – Harrison Burton - Super Late Models – There has been no driver more dominant on asphalt than Harrison Burton in 2018. In addition to his four wins, Burton was the fast qualifier during six of the seven nights at New Smyrna Speedway's World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. He won three of those races including the 100-lap finale. Burton recently added a win in the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. He also finished second in a thrilling finish to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at New Smyrna.
#3 – Jon McKennedy - Tour-type Modifieds – Since joining forces with Tommy Baldwin Racing, Jon McKennedy has been the man to beat in Tour-type Modified racing so far in 2018. In their first race together, McKennedy and Baldwin visited victory lane during the opening night of racing for the Tour-type Modifieds at New Smyrna. They seemed destined for more wins before a crash on night-two sent them home early. But like every good team, they regrouped and made their way to Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener. They won that race and then went to Caraway Speedway (NC) the next day to win the Southern Modified Racing Series season opener.
#4 – Donny Schatz - Sprint Cars – The Sprint Car world appears like it will once again belong to Donny Schatz in 2018. Schatz kicked off his season by sweeping the pair of All Star Circuit of Champions races during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park (FL). He followed that up by winning two of the three World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series events at Volusia. In March, he added another victory by winning the WoO feature at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
#5 – Tim McCreadie - Dirt Late Models / Dirt Modifieds – T-Mac turned in one of the most impressive performances of Florida Speedweeks by winning in two different race cars at Volusia Speedway Park (FL). McCreadie picked up a World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory on Valentine's Day before winning two of the four Super DIRTcar Series races at Volusia. Those two wins helped lead him to the overall Big-Block Modified championship at the DIRTcar Nationals.
#6 – Cole Anderson - Pro Late Models – Anderson dominated the Pro Late Model division during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna. He scored a record five victories on his way to winning the overall PLM championship in dominating fashion.
#7 – Brandon Sheppard - Dirt Late Models – The defending World of Outlaws Late Model champion has shown no signs of slowing down during the early parts of the 2018 season. Sheppard has a total of four victories including two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories, a Wild West Shootout win and a WoO LM victory at Volusia to end Florida Speedweeks.
#8 – Nick Hoffman - UMP Modifieds – Hoffman continued his DIRTcar Nationals dominance by winning three DIRTcar UMP Modified races at Volusia Speedway Park. Combined with a second and 17th-place finish, Hoffman scored his third straight big gator championship.
#9 – Matt Hirschman - Tour-type Modifieds – "Big Money" made his way south for Florida Speedweeks and made the trip well worth it. Hirschman picked up two victories overall, including the Kickoff to Speedweeks at Bronson Speedway and the John Blewett III Memorial at New Smyrna. In addition to his John Blewett III Memorial win, Hirschman used consistency throughout the week to win his first career World Series Tour-type Modified championship.
#10 – Ryan Watt - Dirt Modifieds – Ryan Watt did something that very few drivers have done during the last two seasons; he went head-to-head with Matt Sheppard and come out on top. In the opening race for the Short Track Super Series South Region at Georgetown Speedway, Watt made his way by Sheppard during the closing laps to score the victory.
#11 –Kyle Strickler - Dirt Modifieds – The "Highside Tickler" has four victories to his name in 2018, including DIRTcar UMP Modified wins at North Florida Speedway, East Bay Raceway Park and Volusia Speedway Park. He also recently picked up a United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) win at Humboldt Speedway (KS).
#12 –Bubba Pollard - Super Late Models – Pollard hasn't had the best luck thus far in 2018, but he's still managed to win two big races. His first win of the season came in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour portion of SpeedFest 2018. He followed that up by winning the Baby Rattler 125 for Pro Late Models this past weekend.
#13 –Ryan Preece - Tour-type Modifieds –Speaking of bad luck, Preece had his fair share of it during Florida Speedweeks. His week started with a wild ride at Bronson Speedway before he battled mechanical gremlins at New Smyrna Speedway. At the end of the week, Preece was still able to visit victory lane twice with his biggest win coming in the prestigious Richie Evans Memorial 100.
#14 – Tyler Courtney - Dirt Midgets / Non-Winged Sprints – "Sunshine" left his mark in the Sunshine State by winning a pair of Non-Winged 410 Sprint victories at Bubba Raceway Park (FL).
#15 – Giovanni Bromante - Pro Late Models – "Gio" flexed his muscles by driving from last to first on his way to winning the Show Me the Money Series opener for the Pro Late Models at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL).
#16 – Sheldon Haudenschild - Sprint Cars – Haudenschild has three wins to his credit already in 2018 including the first and second World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victories of his career. He also scored a All Star Circuit of Champions win at Bubba Raceway Park in February.
#17 – Bobby McCarty - Late Model Stock Cars – Competing against one of the strongest fields in CARS Tour history, McCarty took down the Late Model Stock Car heavyweights to win the season opener at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC).
#18 – Chandler Smith - Super Late Models – Smith scored the biggest victory of his young career by beating a strong field of Super Late Models during SpeedFest 2018 at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA).
#19 – Derek Griffith - PASS – Griffith, a Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist, drove to the front to win the PASS National Championship opener at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) in February.
#20 – Derek Kraus - K&N West – Kraus earned his spot in the power poll by besting NASCAR Cup Series star Kevin Harvick and the rest of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West field during the series opener at Kern County Raceway Park (CA).
-Text by Speed51.com Staff
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos