Voting for the 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com is now underway. The ballot was recently revealed and has been sent out to a panel of more than 150 industry experts to determine the top 51 short track racing prospects in North America.
As draft selection continues, 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 motorsports.
This week, we shift our focus to the dirt tracks of the Northeast and Dirt Modified stalwart Larry Wight who is coming off a statement run outside the Mods at the Chili Bowl Nationals this past January.
Current Level: Super DIRTcar Series
Hometown: Phoenix, NY
No Prior Draft Selection
Anticipated 2017 Pick: 40th to 51st
The Skinny: Wight has become a familiar name in Northeast Dirt Modified racing, especially in Central New York. While Wight was considered by a number of experts to be draft worthy in 2016, it was not enough to make the Top 51 for the first time in his career, making the “Best of the Rest” list.
Rising, Falling or Holding Steady: Holding Steady
When a driver comes of age to be able to run full-size racecars, most will jump at the opportunity, Wight being no exception. It has taken some time for “Lightning Larry” to draw on the attention of the rest of the short track community, since stepping into Modifieds in 2007 and 2008. While wins have not always come his way in great numbers, Wight has shown consistency in Dirt Mods. He has also expanded his resume, running Winged Sprint Cars part-time and recently entering the Midget world on its biggest stage. While a lack of touring wins in the past year has tugged at his stock, the addition of a track championship has kept Wight steady.
On-Track Accomplishments: B-
On the local level, Wight is among the best in NY, where he has become a threat to win every week at his home tracks of Brewerton Speedway, Fulton Speedway, and Utica-Rome Speedway. In 2016, Wight scored his first track championship, winning the Modified title at Fulton Speedway with three wins, while finishing runner-up at both Brewerton and Utica-Rome, with two wins at each track. He has shown consistency on the Super DIRTcar Series, finishing top five in points the last two seasons, with one Series win in 2015. Outside the Dirt Mods, Wight has made limited appearances in the Empire Super Sprints the past three seasons with two career wins. Wight caught the attention of the entire racing world in his second trip to the Chili Bowl Nationals this past January, finishing second in the Tuesday A-Main to qualify for the Saturday Main, where he went the distance despite battling overheating issues.
Wight is one of those racers who tends to let his driving do most of the communication for him. While he doesn’t grab as much attention off-track, he has demonstrated a great enthusiasm for the sport and has never shied away from expressing appreciation from his fans. He will also go the extra mile when contributing to the greater good for the sport, such as helping with the placement of dirt at Oswego Speedway, prior to Super DIRT Week last October.
Sponsor Appeal: B-
A clean cut, blue collar driver, Wight is a professional look for sponsors off the track, helped by his family’s expertise in the trucking industry. While a familiar winner locally, Wight has not made many appearances in victory lane outside of his home tracks, reducing sponsor exposure on a wider scale.
Social Media: B+
Fans can get a unique look at Wight, with a more personal look at racing and life from his personal Twitter account, while getting a behind the scenes look from the Gypsum Racing team with all the latest news on Facebook. While it is a good perspective on both sides of Wight, there is not as much creativity as some drivers, and Wight has yet to make an appearance on Instagram.
Wight will be back in the Modified on the Super DIRTcar Series, Brewerton, and Fulton championship trails. He also plans on limited Sprint Car appearances centered around his home tracks, and also plans to make a few Midget starts down in Pennsylvania to stay in shape for Chili Bowl 2018.