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 lost 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.
The defending number-one pick from last year’s draft, Ty Majeski, is also ineligible due to a rule that doesn’t allow the prior year’s top pick to enter the draft.
This year’s list of ineligible drivers is headlined by last year’s No. 11 pick and 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Justin Haley.
Haley is ineligible for this year’s draft after signing a deal with GMS Racing to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala are also not eligible due to their plans to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Gragson, the 23rd pick in last year’s draft, will be chasing NCWTS Rookie of the Year honors driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2017.
Briscoe, the 2016 ARCA Racing Series champion and 24th pick in the 2016 Short Track Draft, has secured a full-time ride with Brad Keselowski Racing to drive the No. 29 truck.
Grala signed a full-time deal to drive for GMS Racing during the offseason and kicked off his season in style by winning the NCWTS race at Daytona International Speedway (FL). He was the 31st pick in the 2016 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes.
Highlighting the list of drivers “too old” to enter the draft is 26-year-old driver Josh Berry. The JR Motorsports driver has been one of the most successful Late Model Stock Car racers during the last decade. He was selected 13th in last year’s Short Track Draft, but became ineligible on his 26th birthday.
Midwest Super Late Model star Casey Johnson, former Little 500 winner Chris Windom and two-time TUNDRA Super Late Model Series champion Dalton Zehr are also among those who are now 26 years old and ineligible for the Short Track Draft on Speed51.com.
The 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes will begin this Thursday at 5 p.m. ET with the release of the number-one pick. A few hours later at 8 p.m. ET, the number-two pick in the draft will be revealed.
Picks 3-10 will be released on Friday morning before picks 11-25 are released at 5 p.m. that night. The remaining top-51 picks will be released next Monday night at 5 p.m. ET.
Follow #51Draft on Twitter to follow all of our pre-draft coverage.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51