Preparations for the 2019 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com are underway. The ballot was recently revealed and sent out to a panel of industry experts to determine the top short track racing prospects in North America.
As we prepare for the draft, we’ll be taking a look at a handful of drivers and providing scouting reports just like you would see ahead of the NFL Draft. These scouting reports will take a look at a driver’s on-track performance, as well as other qualities that may make or break their chances of making it to the top levels of NASCAR.
We continue our round of scouting reports today with a look at Karsyn Elledge, who will be looking to make the list of top 51 prospects for the second time.
Current Level: Midgets / Outlaw Karts
Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Highest Pick: 38th (2014)
Anticipated Pick: 50th - 65th
Being born into one of the most famous families in all of motorsports, Karsyn Elledge has been in the spotlight since she began racing Outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway at a young age. Elledge is the daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller, the niece of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the granddaughter of the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Thus far, she's handled the spotlight well while racing through the highs and lows that often face an aspiring stock car driver. While she continues to play around in Outlaw Karts, she has started to take the next step in her career over the past few seasons. After making a handful of Late Model starts in recent years, she is now focusing on the open-wheeled dirt ranks.
Rising, Falling or Holding Steady: Rising
Last year, Elledge's stock within the racing ranks appeared to be falling as she seemed more destined to have a successful career in television after hosting the NASCAR series "Hammer Down" on Nickelodeon. That changed when she put more focus on her racing career and earned the opportunity to compete full-time on the USAC National Midget circuit with Tucker-Boat Motorsports.
After grabbing a few headlines during the Chili Bowl Nationals and proving that she's committed to this whole race car driver thing, Elledge has her stock rising heading into this year's draft.
On-Track Accomplishments: C
Elledge gets a passing grade in this category, but she doesn't stack up well against the drivers who will likely be selected ahead of her in this year's draft. She has captured checkered flags at Millbridge Speedway during her career; however, she has yet to tally a feature win in any of her Late Model or Midget starts.
Elledge did take a step towards gaining notoriety for her on-track performance this past January when she had a strong showing in her Chili Bowl Nationals debut. She scored two victories during the toughest week in all of motorsports, winning her heat race during a preliminary night and winning the H-Main on Sunday. Those performances proved she's up to the task of battling the best of the best in the open-wheeled ranks.
From the smile on her face to her ability to speak flawlessly in front of a camera, Elledge is an all-star in this category. Despite being born into a famous family, she doesn't come off as cocky to those who meet her or speak to her. She treats her competitors with respect and earns respect back from them in return.
She's also a student and cheerleader at IUPUI in Indianapolis, showing that she's committed to her education and extracurricular activities away from the race track.
When it comes to her personality and off-track persona, there's nothing to criticize.
Sponsor Appeal: A-
Elledge has all of the tools to attract potential sponsors. She has a great personality that can help promote a brand with a smile, a strong social media presence (we'll get to that next) and the help of her family roots. Companies that get behind Elledge can be confident that they'll have a great brand ambassador for their product.
There's only one thing keeping her away from an A+ in this category, and it's the lack of wins on her resume. When she makes a trip to victory lane, she does a great job of representing her sponsors. She just needs to take that next step and get to victory lane more often.
Social Media: A+
When it comes to social media presence, Elledge likely ranks first among her fellow competitors on the draft ballot. With over 40,000 Twitter followers, over 20,000 Instagram followers and over 4,500 Facebook fans, she's a social media star.
She also takes advantage of her number of followers by providing a great mixture of photos and videos from life at the race track, as well as life away from the race track with friends and family. Those who follow Elledge on social media are able to get a good glimpse at who she is and what she enjoys in life.
For the remainder of 2019, Elledge will continue to compete full-time on the USAC National Midget Series circuit while attending IUPUI. We also expect to see her at a handful of events at Millbridge Speedway including the Speed51 Open.
-By: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor