A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the 10th 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 Sheppard – Dirt Modifieds (October Rank: 6) – ‘Super Matt’ jumps back up to the top of the power rankings after capping off an incredible 2016 season by sweeping the World Finals at Charlotte. With his first win on Friday night, Sheppard clinched his fifth career Super DIRTcar Series championship and broke the record for most wins in a single season. If it wasn’t for some tough luck late during the 200-lap Super DIRT Week feature, we’d be talking about possibly one of the greatest Dirt Modified seasons of all time.
#2 – Stewart Friesen – Dirt Modifieds (October Rank: 2) – Two 200-lap races, two 200-lap wins for “Mr. Freeze” during the month of October. Friesen kicked off the month by winning his fifth Super DIRT Week crown and followed it up by making a last-lap pass on Brett Hearn to win the Eastern States 200. Similar to the Super DIRTcar Series championship standings, Sheppard and Friesen go 1-2 in this month’s power rankings.
#3 – Mike Looney – Late Model Stock Cars (October Rank: NR) – Mike Looney entered the Martinsville 300 as a relatively unknown. He left the Martinsville 300 with his name attached to one of the greatest Cinderella stories in recent history. Looney bested Lee Pulliam and a host of other Late Model heavyweights to take home the grandfather clock. That performance was enough to earn him a podium finish in this month’s rankings.
#4 – Matt Hirschman – Tour-Type Modifieds (October Rank: NR) – “Big Money” Matt lived up to his nickname during the month of October. The Pennsylvania Modified ace scored a pair of wins including a $6,500 Tri-Track Open Modified Series win at Waterford (CT) and a $12,500 Race of Champions 250 win at Oswego (NY). Hirschman will have an opportunity to keep his stock up or even improve it this weekend at the North South Shootout.
#5 – Josh Richards – Dirt Late Models (October Rank: NR) – While Sheppard was making history with the Super DIRTcar Series, Josh Richards was making history with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. “Rocketman” picked up his record-breaking 18th win of the season at the World Finals and clinched the 2016 WoO Late Model Series championship.
#6 – Derek Thorn – Super Late Models (October Rank: NR) – Derek Thorn brings some West Coast flavor to this edition of the power rankings on Speed51.com. Thorn book-ended his month of October with a pair of strong runs. First, he finished second in the prestigious All American 400 at Nashville (TN). Then at the end of the month, Thorn picked up a victory against a tough SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series field at Kern County (CA).
#7 – Doug Coby – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (October Rank: 7) – Despite winning just one race during the month of October, Coby remains seventh in this edition of the power rankings. He picked up a win in the Fall Final at Stafford (CT) before going to Thompson’s (CT) World Series and clinching his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
#8 – Ty Majeski – Super Late Models (October Rank: 3) – Majeski slips to eighth in this month’s rankings, not so much for lack of performance but for lack of races. The Seymour, Wisconsin driver has switched his focus to big race season with the Governor’s Cup and Snowball Derby coming up. Still, he won Oktoberfest and clinched his third ARCA Midwest Tour title during the month of October.
#9 – Travis Braden – Late Models (October Rank: 4) – Braden falls a bit in this month’s rankings, but his Winchester 400 victory continues to keep him within the top 10. He also scored a JEGS/CRA All-Stars win at Winchester Speedway (IN) that same weekend to help his stock.
#10 – Cody Coughlin – Late Models (October Rank: 5) – Coughlin joined a short list of drivers to win multiple championships in one season by clinching both the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour titles. He also turned in a strong fifth-place finish in the Winchester 400, a race that tests a driver and team’s toughness.
#11 – Nick Sweet – American-Canadian Tour (October Rank: 8) – Nick Sweet is no longer known as just a one-track star. The Barre, Vermont native who will go down in the history books at Thunder Road (VT), built upon his resume by clinching his first career American-Canadian Tour championship. Oh, and he won the most prestigious race at his home track, The Milk Bowl, during the month of October.
#12 – Scott Bloomquist – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (October Rank: 13) – Bloomquist used a win at Rome Speedway (GA) during the first week of October to clinch his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national championship.
#13 – Linny White – Super Late Models (October Rank: NR) – For the second straight season, White stood in Victory Lane following the Fall Classic at The Bullring at Las Vegas (NV).
#14 – Todd Gilliland – NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – (October Rank: NR) – Todd Gilliland capped off an impressive 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season by recording an eighth-place finish at All American Speedway (CA) and clinching the season championship.
#15 – Donny Schatz – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars – (October Rank: NR) – Schatz represents the Sprint Car stars in this edition of the power rankings after scoring his 25th victory of the year and clinching the World of Outlaws championship at the World Finals.
#16 – Stephen Nasse – Super Late Models (October Rank: NR) – He may only have one win to show for it, but Stephen Nasse has been fast as of late. After being involved in an incident while fighting for the lead in the Winchester 400, Nasse returned to his home track of New Smyrna Speedway (FL) to win the Hart to Heart 100.
#17 – Justin Bonsignore – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (October Rank: NR) – Bonsignore did everything he could do in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale at Thompson (CT). Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough to dethrone Doug Coby’s bid for three straight titles. But it was enough to win the World Series, one of the biggest races of the year for the Tour.
#18 – Erick Rudolph – Dirt Modifieds (October Rank: NR) – Rudolph cracks the top 20 after scoring a Super DIRTcar Series win at Brockville (ON) and a victory in an open show at Outlaw Speedway (NY) in October.
#19 – Derek Griffith – Super Late Models (October Rank: NR) – Griffith ended the year similar to the way he started it… strong. He won a pair of Super Late Model races at Lee Speedway’s (NH) Oktoberfest before besting a strong field to win the DAV Fall Classic at Seeekonk (MA).
#20 – Matthew Hicks – Lucas Oil Modifieds (October Rank: NR) – Competing against some of the toughest competition in the country, Hicks clinched the Lucas Oil Modified Series championship in the season finale at Havasu 95 Speedway (AZ).
-Text by Speed51.com Staff