This weekend the number one overall pick from 2014 will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Richmond Raceway. By 2014, Daniel Hemric had won the eyes of many in the Short Track world. He won the 2013 Southern Super Series title and had already won races in Pro Late Model and Tour-Type Modfieds before landing a full ride with Jake and Deanna Carswell.
Hemric was worthy of the top overall pick in 2014 after being second the year before and third the season prior to that. Now the NASCAR world is seeing what he can do. Hemric beat out an up-and-coming driver named Erik Jones who was fresh off a Snowball Derby win in 2012. Jones held off charges from Kyle Busch to put his name on the map and now he’s a second year driver at the top level of NASCAR.
Ryan Preece made more noise last week with his win at Bristol and he was third to this duo in 2014. Preece was the only full-time Modified driver in the top 10 that year after he moved from 13th to 3rd in the draft standings.
Ross Kenseth and Kyle Benjamin made up the fourth and fifth spots in the top five.
Biggest Bust: Gray Gaulding. It takes talent to drive a race car and it takes time to develop. After two years in K&N it seemed like it was Cup or bust for Gaulding. He never got the same amount of laps as he did when he was running for points. He ran limited races and then poof he’s in Cup. Think of where he would be had he run a full season of ARCA or in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series? It could have been the difference between getting there and staying there.
Biggest Steal: The 2015 number one overall pick Christopher Bell was in 24th just a year before. Some of us already knew and it was during that season that we figured it out. Ironically the 2014 draft featured six number one picks either past or present.
Undrafted Free Agent: He was not even in the Top 51, but a year later he was the number-one overall pick. If you could go back to 2014 and pick Ty Majeski it would be like getting Tom Brady with the 199th overall pick. Majeski won a bunch in 2014 and it seems like everything since then.
2014 Short Track Draft Top 51
|6||John Hunter Nemechek|
|15||Joey Polewarczyk Jr.|
|34||Bobby Santos III|
|37||Ronnie Bassett Jr.|
|45||Dominique Van Wieringen|
|46||Tommy Lemons Jr.|
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Laura Ward/LWPictures.com photo