The 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes ballot was completed by 65 short track insiders, including media members, team and driver development professionals, track and series promoters and officials, product and industry representatives, NASCAR National Series drivers, crew members and more. The voters could select as few as 10 and as many as 51 drivers on their ballot, ranked in order that they would choose the drivers to compete for their Driver Development team in the top levels of the sport.
Speed51.com used a scientific equation that factored in total number of votes, quality votes, first-place votes, top-five votes and top-1o votes in order to determine the top-51 picks in the 2017 Short Track Draft. The #1 Pick was announced on April 27 with the #2 pick announced soon after. Picks 3-10 were announced on the afternoon of Friday, April 28. Picks 11-25 were announced on Friday evening, April 28.
Here are the 2017 Short Track Draft “Best of the Rest,” a list of 51 drivers who didn’t make the top 51 in this year’s draft…
Alex Labbe – 23 – NASCAR Pinty’s Series/ACT
Labbe recorded one win and six top-five finishes during his first full-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series season in 2016. In addition to another full schedule with the Pinty’s Series, the 2014 Serie ACT champion also has a few NASCAR XFINITY Series starts scheduled for the 2017 season.
Alex Prunty – 24 – Super Late Models
The 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program champion is in the “Best of the Rest” category because of a mistake on the part of Speed51 staff. Prunty was mistakenly left off the ballot. It is a guarantee that Prunty would have made the top 51 had he been included.
Amber Balcaen – 25 – Limited Late Models
Coming from a Dirt Winged Sprint Car family, Balcaen made the transition to asphalt in 2016. She ran Limited Late Models for Lee Pulliam at Motor Mile where she captured one feature event win. Balcaen also made one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start in 2017 at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Anthony Alfredo – 17 – Late Model Stock Cars
Anthony Alfredo scored two wins in Southeast Limited Late Model Series competition in 2016. That was enough to net him a ride with JR Motorsports in Late Model Stocks this year. So far he’s competing full-time with the CARS Tour, but has yet to show us much.
Anthony Perrego – 23 – Dirt Modifieds
When you think of underrated Dirt Modified drivers, you think of New York’s Anthony Perrego. Last year, he scored a victory in the Gobbler at Accord (NY) and finished runner-up to Stewart Friesen in the Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway (NY).
Blaine Rocha – 19 – Super Late Models
Hailing from Oakdale, California, Rocha has built his racing career running Karts, Legend Cars, and now Late Models in his home state and across the West. Teaming with NTS Motorsports the past few seasons, Rocha has improved steadily the past three years on the Southwest Tour, getting his first Tour victory last year and scoring a win this year at Kern County (CA).
Bret Holmes – 19 – ARCA / SLM
Bret Holmes has had good runs on pavement, but nothing great just yet. He’s run well in his limited ARCA Racing Series starts. He’s a racer’s racer, usually running double duty in his Super and Pro Late Models wherever he goes.
Buddy Shepherd – 17 – Late Models / K&N West
Shepherd has created a name for himself in the California Late Model Scene. Last year, he entered nine races at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) and won all nine of his starts. Also, of his three K&N Pro Series West starts the young gun has two top-five finishes.
Carson Macedo – 20 – Winged Sprint Cars / Midgets
One of the up and coming names of Sprint Car racing, Macedo has received backing from Toyota and runs under the dirt powerhouse team of Keith Kunz Motorsports. He picked up a handful of wins last season in Sprint Cars and Midgets.
Carter Stokes – 20 – Pro Late Models
Stokes, a development driver for Richard Childress Racing, made the transition from dirt to pavement two years ago. Stokes won the Pro late Model opener during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in February. He and his crew were also involved in a post-race altercation during the Zack Donatti Memorial which resulted in Stokes and his crew being penalized by speedway officials.
Chad Finchum – 22 – K&N East / Late Model Stock Cars
Since his move up to Late Models years ago, the Knoxville, Tennessee native has become a force in his home state and across the border in Virginia. A champion at both Kingsport Speedway (TN) and Lonesome Pine Speedway (TN) in Late Model Stocks, Finchum has also made occasional appearances in K&N East, scoring a huge victory at Bristol last season.
Chase Dowling – 19 – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour / SK Modifieds
Dowling had an amazing rise through the Modified ranks, going from SK Lights to SK Modifieds to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour all in just three years, culminating with the NWMT Rookie of the Year title in 2015. After a solid year in 2016, Dowling lost a full-time ride but teamed with the LFR house team for a limited schedule while returning full-time to the SK Modifieds at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT), already scoring a win this past Sunday.
Cory Hedgecock – 24 – Dirt Late Models
Competing in one of the most difficult realms of short track racing, Hedgecock was a 17-time Dirt Late Model winner in 2017. Six of those wins came on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series where he won the 2016 series championship. He already has seven wins during the 2017 season.
Dave Farrington, Jr. – 24 – Super Late Models
The 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program runner-up is as tough on the track as the warships he helps build for the U.S. Navy while working at Bath Iron Works. If there’s a race nearby (or a long distance away for that matter), he’ll be there trying to get to the front. Farrington recorded five wins in 2016 while competing in 38 races at 10 race tracks in four different states.
Dylan Cappello – 21 – Lucas Oil Modifieds
The former Lucas Oil Modifieds champion is a victim of an East Coast bias by our voters. Cappello might be one of the most talented drivers on the ballot, but racing Modifieds out west doesn’t get a driver the recognition they perhaps deserve.
Eddie Fatscher – 14 – Super Late Models
The young Legends Car standout made the jump to Super Late Models for 2017 and it’s already paying off. Fatscher recorded a second-place finish in the PASS North season opener at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut.
Eric Mauriello – 23 – Modifieds
Howell, New Jersey has produced many great Modified racers and Mauriello is no exception. He is always a threat to win whenever he runs in Wall Stadium’s (NJ) Modified division and has won the track’s biggest race, the Tour-type Modified race at the Turkey Derby in 2014. Though Mauriello is only running part-time at Wall this year, it is with fellow Howell native and Modified ace Jimmy Blewett.
Garrett Archer – 20 – K&N West
The Northwestern driver has recently made the full jump from Super Late Model racing to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competing for Jefferson Pitts Racing. He’s collected two top-five finishes in the first four West races of the season.
Garrett Jones – 17 – Super Late Models
The 2015 Southern Super Series Rookie of the Year finally broke into SSS victory lane in 2016 in dominating fashion at Mobile International Speedway (AL). Jones was leading late at the Rattler 250 earlier this year, but contact on a late restart did him in.
Holly Shelton – 21 – USAC Midgets
Shelton, one of the biggest female names in the dirt world at the moment, is also a Toyota backed racer. A consistent top-10 and top-five runner she is a force to be reckoned with but has yet to dabble into the world of asphalt racing.
Hunter Baize – 19 – K&N East
Baize of Bremen, Kentucky headed north when he became old enough to drive Late Models and eventually made waves, first on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in 2014 collecting a win and finishing third in the standings, then moving to the ARCA/CRA Super Series in 2015 collecting two wins and a third in championship. For the second straight year now, he is mixing it up in K&N East, trying to break through for that first win.
Jacob Gomes – 25 – Super Late Models
In his last year of eligibility for the draft, Gomes falls just short of the top 51. The California Late Model driver collected one win last season in the Pacific Challenge Series and finished sixth in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series point standings with no wins.
Jared Irvan – 19 – Super Late Models
Irvan took what has been dubbed the “Twisted Sister” car by 51’s Bob Dillner to PASS South victory lane at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) earlier this year. So far that’s his only PASS South start this season.
Jimmy Zacharias – 25 – Pavement & Dirt Modifieds
Zacharias of Candor, New York has accomplished in a couple years what most drivers will never achieve in a lifetime. He has become one of the greatest drivers in Chemung Speedrome (NY) history with multiple wins and championships while also collecting three NWAAS New York State championships. Also a winner on the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series, Zacharias will do much of the same in 2017 while adding dirt racing to his schedule. He scored his first dirt win just days ago.
Joey Doiron – 25 – Super Late Models
Doiron has been a proven winner throughout his career, but a work-related injury held him back from adding to his resume last season. The 2015 PASS National Champion scored three wins on the year, a PASS South victory at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) and two Pro Series wins at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).
Jordan Black – 19 – Legends Cars
Hailing from Winter Springs, Florida, Black has become a familiar face in his home state in the Legends Cars, becoming a force in the Sunshine State. Black is coming off a big winter, winning the Legends Winter Nationals Pro championship at Citrus County Speedway (FL) and carrying the momentum forward to maintain the points lead at this point in the season in the Pro National standings.
Josh Williams – 23 – ARCA
Josh Williams might be one of the more underrated drivers on the ballot. He’s a constant threat at ARCA races and picked up a dominating win at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) last year.
Julia Landauer – 25 – K&N West
Landauer barely fell short of the top 51 in the Short Track Draft as the 52nd pick. The New Yorker won the Limited Late Model Championship at Motor Mile in 2015 and made the move to the K&N Pro Series West. In 2016, Landauer finished fourth in K&N West points with seven top-five finishes and has returned to the series this season looking for a championship.
Karsyn Elledge – 16 – Outlaw Karts
The granddaughter of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. has been on the radar screens of many in racing for a few years now, but we’re still waiting for Elledge to start dominating her division at Millbridge Speedway (NC) in Outlaw Karts.
Kate Dallenbach – 20 – Limited Late Models
Looking to follow in her mother, Robin Dallenbach’s, footsteps Kate took to Limited Late Model racing around the Carolina’s last season with support from Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing. She captured her first win last May at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). She is currently unsure of her 2017 race season plans.
Kodie Conner – 16 – Super Late Models
Coming off nine PASS Pro Late Model wins in 2014 and 2015, expectations were high for Conner’s move to Super Late Models last season. While he didn’t disappoint on his way to a runner-up finish in the PASS South standings, he went winless.
Kyle Tellstrom – 21 – Lucas Oil Modifieds
The California kid made his way into the Lucas Oil Modified series in 2015, but last season was a better year for Tellstrom as he collected one win and finished fourth in the championship battle. He had top five finishes in 75% of his starts last season. At the moment, Tellstrom is not behind the wheel but hopes to be soon.
Kyle Weatherman – 19 – ARCA
Kyle Weatherman is another driver that was accidentally left off of the ballot. Weatherman scored a big ARCA win on the road course of New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2015, but hasn’t become the dominant force many have hoped he would become. So far this year he has two top-five finishes in three starts.
Layne Riggs – 14 – Late Model Stock Cars
The son of former NASCAR driver Scott Riggs picked up a big win at the CARS Tour event at Virginia’s Dominion Raceway earlier this year. Riggs has already become a consistent threat at the young age of 14 years old.
Logan Schuchart – 22 – Sprint Cars
Growing up in Hanover, Pennsylvania in the eastern half of Sprint Car country, Schuchart has steadily worked his way to becoming one of the top contenders of the last three seasons on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. His breakthrough finally came last season, winning his first two races on the Outlaws and finishing top 10 in the championship standings. He looks to improve on that in 2017, already scoring a win at Keller Auto Speedway (CA).
Michael Ostdiek – 20 – Super Late Models
A third-place finisher in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program last season, Ostdiek had a great 2016 as he captured wins in both the Big 8 Late Model Season and at his home track of Elko Speedway in Minnesota. He and his family-owned team have plans to run in the Big 8 Series again looking to improve on his great run last season.
Natalie Decker – 19 – Super Late Models / ARCA
Decker has won a few Super Late Model races in her home state of Wisconsin but hasn’t done much when she ventures away from the Dairyland. Decker, a firm believer in social media, will make her ARCA Racing Series debut later this year with Venturini Motorsports.
Nicole Behar – 19 – K&N West
Hailing from the Northwest, Behar tried her hand at the East Coast racing scene. After a conflict off the track and the loss of her Toyota backing, Behar has retreated back to her home team and will be running full-time in the K&N Pro Series West after finishing 10th in points in 2015.
Patrick Emerling – 23 – Modifieds
Sometimes redirecting focus can yield results, and that was the case last season for the Orchard Park, New York driver. After running full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and part-time with the Race of Champions from 2011 to 2015, Emerling grew and found consistency, while scoring wins in RoC but not finding a championship. In 2016, Emerling switched his full-time effort to RoC, reigning in seven wins and his first championship. He plans the same schedule for this year while beginning to learn the ropes on the Dirt Modified side.
Quin Houff – 19 – Super Late Models
In 2016, Houff didn’t run consistently in any series but he managed to pick up a win in the CARS Tour Super Late Model division. In the last two seasons, the Virginia driver has been trying to move up the ranks with starts in the ARCA Series and K&N Pro Series. He recently got a shot to pilot a NASCAR XFINITY Series car at both Richmond and Bristol.
Reagan May – 23 – Super Late Models
After scoring six wins in 2015 as a member of the inaugural Kulwicki Driver Development Program and the Golden Sands Speedway (WI) championship that year, May finished second in points with two wins at Golden Sands in 2016 while finishing up her engineering degree at Michigan Tech University.
Reid Lanpher – 18 – Super Late Models
Timing is everything. Unfortunately for Lanpher, he was on the wrong side of the timing for this year’s Short Track Draft. Over the last two weeks, Lanpher has recorded two PASS North victories including a win over a 40-car field at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) and a PASS 300 victory at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). If voting for the Short Track Draft began today, our bet is that Lanpher would land in the top 51.
Ryan Luza – 20 – Super/Pro Late Models
Luza won the Pro Late Model track championship at Five Flags Speedway (FL) in 2015, but since then he hasn’t done all that much, and in fact he hasn’t even raced all that much since. He scored two top-10 finishes in four Southern Super Series starts in 2016.
Ryan Millington – 15 – Late Model Stock Cars
Millington has been lighting up Hickory Motor Speedway so far in 2017. Millington, at just 15 years old, has multiple wins at Hickory this season and is the current points leader at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.”
Tate Fogleman – 17 – Super Late Models
Last season, Fogleman didn’t run consistently in any touring division or local track. He hit and miss races in both the CARS Tour and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) where he was always a top-five contender. So far in 2017 he has already collected two top-five finishes.
Taylor Jorgensen – 20 – Pro Late Models / Pro Trucks
In her first year in a full-sized stock car, the Georgia native captured the Five Flags Speedway (FL) Pro Truck championship. She was the first female to do so at the historic Pensacola track and won half the Pro Truck races to lock up the championship. Jorgensen has hopes of competing in a Pro Late Model this season in the southern states.
Taylor Miinch – 22 – Lucas Oil Modifieds
Huddleston from Agoura Hills, California has gotten around the Southwest the last few years, but has made the most news at Irwindale Speedway (CA) in the Late Models. He has won both the Irwindale Late Model championship and NWAAS California State championship the past two seasons and made some noise in the chase for the NWAAS national title late last season. For 2017, Huddleston is looking to repeat, while going beyond Irwindale to try and score the national title.
Ty Gibbs – 14 – Limited Late Models
When you’re the grandson of one of the most successful NASCAR team owners in the business, the expectations for you to succeed are high. Gibbs, the grandson of Coach Joe Gibbs, hasn’t disappointed and can already call himself a Late Model winner at the age of 14. He won his first Southeast Limited Late Model Series race earlier this year at the tough Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC).
Tyler Ankrum – 17 – Super Late Models
Though originally from San Bernardino, California, Ankrum has moved east to the Charlotte area and has taken on the challenge of racing both Late Model Stocks but mostly Super Late Models in the Southeast. Running multiple series, he has also become a stalwart at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) where he has a win in 2017.
Tyler Rypkema – 20 – RoC Modifieds
Rypkema has gone from his home of Owego, New York to run all across the state, concentrating on the RoC tour the last three years. He has gained consistency since debuting on the tour, finishing a career-high fifth on the tour in 2016. This past February he scored his first major Modified win at the prestigious World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), holding off many of the best in Modified racing.