Votes are now being submitted for the 2021 Speed51 Short Track Draft presented by RYNO. While we are a week away from finding out who will be the number-one pick, there are certainly a pool of drivers who could be up for consideration for the honor.
Here is a look at some of the likely candidates for the top pick in this year’s Short Track Draft. They are presented in order based on their ranking in the 2020 Short Track Draft.
Derek Griffith (2020 Short Track Draft Pick #3)
Griffith was near the top of the board in last year’s Short Track Draft, with only Sam Mayer and Hailie Deegan ahead of him. With both of those drivers now moving up the NASCAR ladder, Griffith is one of the favorites to land this year’s top pick.
Griffith has also done plenty to add to his resume since the last Short Track Draft. The New Hampshire driver was red-hot to start 2021, winning his second World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Super Late Model championship, sweeping the Easter Bunny 150 weekend at Hickory Motor Speedway and winning the Thompson Icebreaker for PASS Super Late Models.
Stephen Nasse (2020 Short Track Draft Pick #4)
If Griffith is the most promising Short Track Draft prospect from the Northeast, Stephen Nasse holds that honor in the Southeast. Nasse has been part of the Draft since 2010, and earned his highest draft selection in 2020 with the fourth pick.
Nasse added the 2020 Southern Super Series championship to his resume last season, his second title in that series. While he was unable to back up his 2019 Winchester 400 win, he was fast in all of the crown jewel events, finishing on the podium for both the Winchester 400 and All American 400.
Corey Heim (2020 Short Track Draft Pick #8)
Corey Heim has done a lot to improve his draft stock from last year’s top-10 selection. The Georgia driver currently leads the ARCA Menards Series points standings, with wins at both Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
Heim has also taken advantage of opportunities in Late Model competition since the last draft, winning a CARS Late Model Stock Tour event at Hickory as well as the Southern Super Series’ trip to Crisp Motorsports Park in March.
Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (2020 Short Track Draft Pick #13)
The track record for a dirt racer to take the top pick is not a strong one. The most recent driver with a dirt racing background to take the top pick was Christopher Bell in 2015, by which point he was racing and winning in Kyle Busch Motorsports Super Late Models alongside his strong dirt racing performances.
Kofoid finished fourth in points for both the USAC National Midget Championship and the POWRi National Midget Series in 2020, winning 10 races between the two series. This year, Kofoid already has eight wins between 410 Sprint Cars, USAC Midgets and POWRi Midgets. If someone is going to represent the dirt world with a top pick this season, bet on “Buddy.”
Jesse Love (2020 Short Track Draft Pick #19)
Another category that has struggled at times to garner recognition from the voting panel for the Short Track Draft is the West Coast. Jesse Love is likely little more than a “dark horse” for the top pick this year, but he did everything in his power to improve on his hot start to the 2020 season that put him on the radar in time for last year’s draft.
Love won the 2020 ARCA Menards Series West championship, winning three of the series’ 11 races and finishing on the podium seven times. Love once again finished top-five in points at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna, and also has two top-fives and three top-10s in five ARCA Menards Series starts.
Tune in to the 2021 Short Track Draft presented by RYNO on Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. ET. The show will be streamed live for free on Speed51.TV and Speed51’s Facebook page presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies.
-Text by Speed51 Staff