A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the 11th Short Track Power poll of 2016. Drivers in all forms of short track racing, including Late Models, NASCAR Touring Series, ARCA, Dirt Late Models and Modifieds, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and everything in between were eligible.
The rankings shown below were decided after polling our panel of experts in the industry. Rankings were based on overall number of votes, with more weight given to each vote the higher the vote. Example, a #1 vote would be more valuable than a #2, #3, etc.
Here are the results of the short track power rankings to this point in the 2016 racing season:
#1 – Matt Hirschman – Tour-type Modifieds (Previous Rank: 4) – For the first time in 2016, a new Matt sits at the top of the power rankings. “Big Money” Matt Hirschman scored a pair of big money victories during the month of November to jump to the top of the rankings. Following a Race of Champions 250 and Tri-Track Open Modified Series win in October, Hirschman scored his first win of November by winning the Modified portion of the Myrtle Beach 400. He followed that up this past weekend by recording an impressive sweep of the Tour-type Modified and SK Modified races at the Turkey Derby.
#2 – Ty Majeski – Super Late Models (Previous Rank: 8) – Majeski vaults back up near the top of the power rankings following his second straight Florida Governor’s Cup 200 win at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). The driver from Seymour, Wisconsin battled back after being nearly two laps down to score the win.
#3 – Christian Eckes – Late Models (Previous Rank: NR) – The month of November has been a month that Eckes may never forget. After having plenty of speed throughout the year, he was finally able to close the deal and win his first Late Model Stock Car race at the Myrtle Beach 400. One week later, Eckes scored another first — his first Super Late Model win — by winning the Thanksgiving Classic Super Late Model race at Southern National (NC).
#4 – Andy Seuss – Tour-type Modifieds (Previous Rank: NR) – The North-South Shootout was a race that Andy Seuss wanted to win for a longtime. The two-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion did just that by outrunning one of the best in the game, “Big Money” Matt Hirschman, to score one of the biggest paydays of his racing career at Concord Speedway (NC).
#5 – Raphael Lessard – Super Late Models (Previous Rank: NR) – Lessard cracks the top five in this edition of the power rankings following a strong end to the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour season. The teenager from Quebec put an exclamation point on his season by winning the season finale at Southern National and clinching the tour championship. Lessard has been fast all season long and enters the Snowball Derby as a legitimate threat.
#6 – Dalton Sargeant – Super Late Models (Previous Rank: NR) – There’s no questioning the fact that Dalton Sargeant is a threat anytime he shows up to a race track, but until November he hadn’t been able to shake the monkey off his back in a Late Model. Well, that monkey is now gone. Sargeant won the PASS Super Late Model portion of the North South Shootout at Concord (NC) and enters the biggest race of the year — a race he’s done very well in previously — with momentum on his side.
#7 – Deac McCaskill – Late Model Stock Cars – (Previous Rank: NR) – McCaskill didn’t leave any doubts that he was the top contender on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour in 2016. He ended the season with two straight wins at Hickory and Southern National to clinch the first touring series championship of his career.
#8 – Derek Thorn – Super Late Models (Previous Rank: 6) – Thorn may have not won a race in November, but he did exactly what he needed to do to clinch his third straight SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series championship. Following a strong second-place run in the All American 400, Thorn heads back to the East Coast for a run at the Snowball Derby.
#9 – Jonathan Davenport – Dirt Late Models (Previous Rank: NR) – “Superman” may not be back on top, but he’s flying high again. Reunited with chassis builder Barry Wright, Davenport broke through for a $20,000 Turkey 100 win at Swainsboro Raceway in Georgia.
#10 – Jeff Choquette – Late Models (Previous Rank: NR) – Winning practice doesn’t pay? Try to tell Jeff Choquette that. Choquette made his way to the Snowball Derby preview and set fast time in three divisions (Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and Modifieds) to take home a total of $1,000 for his efforts. While it may have only been practice, he showed plenty of speed on the race track. Power isn’t all about winning races; it’s about a driver flexing their muscles, and Choquette did just that ahead of the biggest race weekend of the year.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Larson – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver picked up a big USAC win during Turkey Night Grand Prix at Califronia’s Ventura Raceway.
Honorable Mention: Tanner Thorson – He didn’t pick up a victory recently, but a sixth-place finish at Turkey Night was good enough to earn him the USAC National Midget championship.
Honorable Mention: Tommy Lemons, Jr. – Lemons ended the 2016 Late Model Stock season with a Thanksgiving Classic win at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Honorable Mention: Blaine Rocha – Rocha picked up his first career Super Late Model victory against a tough field of SRL competitors during the season finale at The Bullring at Las Vegas (NV).
-Text by Speed51.com Staff