Just like the NFL and NCAA, the Speed51.com Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes has eligibility rules. If a short track racer is eligible for the draft one year, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be eligible the next year. If they turn 26 years old by May 1, if they lose their rookie status in any of NASCAR’s top-three series by the end of the 2016 season, or if they run more than 10 races in one of NASCAR’s top three series, they are no longer eligible.
With those two rules in place, a stout list of short track racers are no longer eligible for the 2016 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes.
This year’s list of ineligible drivers is highlighted by last year’s number-one pick in the Short Track Draft, Christopher Bell. One year after becoming the first driver with a dirt racing background to be selected first in the draft, Bell signed on as a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Like Bell, a handful of other drivers such as Cody Coughlin, William Byron and Rico Abreu are also ineligible because they will not maintain their rookie status in NASCAR’s top-three series by the end of 2016.
Coughlin, last year’s 13th pick in the Short Track Draft, joined Bell at Kyle Busch Motorsports and will race part-time in the No. 51 JEGS.com Toyota in 2016.
Byron, the sixth pick in last year’s draft, is also enjoying a full-time campaign with KBM while driving the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota.
Two-time defending Chili Bowl Nationals winner and the fifth pick in last year’s draft, Rico Abreu, is also ineligible in 2016 due to his full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride with ThorSport Racing.
The third pick in the 2015 Short Track Draft, Ryan Preece, has also been labeled as ineligible for the 2016 draft despite his plans to continue racing Tour-Type Modifieds. Preece gave up his eligibility by signing a deal to drive full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with JD Motorsports.
Austin Hill, who sold his team’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East ride to focus on the family-owned NCWTS team, Corey LaJoie, Gray Gaulding, Cole Custer and Dylan Lupton are also ineligible this time around.
In addition to the drivers who lost their eligibility due to racing in NASCAR’s top-three series, a list of talented short track racers who turned 26 years old are also not eligible.
Leading that list of drivers too old for the draft is last year’s No. 10 pick Bryan Clauson, an open-wheel standout. Although he’s no longer ineligible for the draft, that certainly hasn’t slowed him down. Clauson has a goal of completing 200 races in 2016 during what he is calling the “Circular Insanity Tour.”
Another driver no longer eligible after celebrating his 26th birthday is the No. 18 pick in the 2015 draft, Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. “Joey Pole,” the 2014 ACT champion, is running select events in 2016 while starting a driver development program of his own.
Other driver’s on the “too old” list include last year’s No. 23 pick Kyle Grissom, the No. 26 pick in last year’s draft Brady Bacon, former PASS North champion DJ Shaw and Dirt Modified standout Rodney Sanders.
Do you agree that all of these drivers should be ineligible? Let us know by using #STDraft on Twitter.
For more coverage of the 2016 Speed51.com Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes, be sure to tune into the “War Room” episodes airing on Speed51.com.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51