Speed51.com’s panel of industry experts have made their picks and the checkered flag has waved on the 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes. Throughout the last week, 51 has revealed the number-one and number-two pick in the draft, selections 3-10, selections 11-25, selections 26-51, as well as the “Best of the Rest.” But now it’s time to analyze the results of the draft, and the first question we have to ask is: Who didn’t make the cut?
The simple answer to that question is that a lot of drivers didn’t make the cut. 414 drivers were on this year’s ballot and only 102 of them – just under 25 percent – were included within the top-51 picks or the best of the rest.
Due to the fact that such a small percentage of drivers were selected, a long list of talented drivers did not make the cut this time around. This isn’t to say they weren’t worthy of it, but 51’s panel of industry experts weren’t quite ready to label them as being ready for the next level.
Below you can find a list of 51 drivers who didn’t make the cut, but could have been worthy.
Ahnna Parkhurst – 16 – Dirt Late Models
Parkhurst recently won her first Dirt Late Model race. Had she won this race prior to the draft starting, her ranking may have been higher. Parkhurst is a Richard Childress Racing development driver in Dirt Late Models after moving up from Outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway (NC).
Anthony Sergi – 21 – Super Late Models
Sergi continues to be a contender competing within the Super Late Model ranks in the State of Florida, but he’s yet to prove he can be a consistent winner. A few wins could go a long way towards seeing his stock rise for the 2018 draft.
Austin Green – 16 – Legends Cars
Austin Green drives for the potent Ladyga Motorsports team in Legends car racing and has picked up a few victories. Green scored himself a checkered flag on the fifth-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC) earlier this year. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to hit the radar screens of our voters.
Austin Hubbard – 24 – Dirt Late Models
For only being 24 years old, Hubbard is already an established veteran in Dirt Late Models. Hubbard has made 197 starts between the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. However, his downfall has been his lack of winning as he’s only scored three victories dating back to 2006.
Austin McDaniel – 22 – Late Model Stock Cars
A specialist in Late Model Stock Cars from Harrisburg, NC, McDaniel moved to LMSC in 2011 at his home track Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), racking up 18 wins from 2011 to 2014 and winning the track championship in 2012 and 2013. He moved on to the CARS LMSC Tour in 2015 placing seventh in points that year, and followed up with a fifth-place championship run in 2016.
Since hitting the CARS Tour in 2015, McDaniel has been consistent on the Tour but has yet to score a CARS win. He is also running part time for the 2017 season, all of which brought his stock down for the 2017 Draft.
Brad Babb – 24 – Super Late Models / Supermodifieds
With a last name that is synonymous with racing in the State of Maine, Babb continues to show he’s able to win races if given the right opportunities. He scored one ACT win in 2016 to go along with a pair of wins in 2015. This year, he’s preparing to jump in a 350 Supermodified at Star Speedway (NH). At this point in his career, Babb seems to be settling into the role as a life-long short track racer.
Brandon Grosso – 16 – Late Model Stock Cars
Grosso made the transition to asphalt after a successful resume on dirt where he won two championships in Sportsman Late Models in 2016. This year Grosso is running Late Model Stock Cars for Myatt Snider Racing. He recently collected a third-place finish at Dominion Raceway in Virginia.
Brandon Oakley – 22- Super/Pro Late Models / K&N East
Oakley has shown flashes of potential here and there, but nothing that has really turned heads just yet. Unfortunately, that isn’t expected to change as Oakley has started to shift gears from his own racing career to a driver development project.
Brittney Zamora – 17 – Super Late Models
In her first season behind the wheel of a Super Late Model, Zamora earned Northwest Super Late Model Series Rookie of the Year honors. Earlier this year, she proved she wasn’t afraid to travel in order to race tougher competition by making the 1,400-mile trip to the Chilly Willy 150 at Tucson Speedway in Arizona.
Like many drivers on this list, the one thing holding her back right now is her lack of wins in a premier division. Once those come, her stock will improve.
Cade Dillard – 25 – USMTS
A dirt ace from Robeline, LA, Dillard has made a name for himself driving Dirt Modifieds on the United States Modified Touring Series. The 2016 season proved to be a breakout year with Dillard scoring eight series victories across multiple regions and placing runner-up in the National, Central, Northern, and Southern championships. 2017 has been a strong season so far, with Dillard scoring five wins on the Southern schedule and leading the points.
Dillard comes from a spot in the country where drivers don’t have too many options to get into racing, short of traveling far and wide. Dillard also just turned 26 less than a week ago, an age that nowadays makes it difficult to break into the upper tiers of racing.
Cody Haskins – 25 (As of April 1) – Late Model Stock Cars
At 25 years old, one would expect a driver to have shown something by now. That hasn’t really been the case for Haskins. He has won a couple of times this year at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) but hasn’t done enough in the eyes of the voters just yet.
Cole Rouse – 19 – Super Late Models
Rouse has become the new face of the Kyle Busch Motorsports Late Model program, but so far the results haven’t been there for Rouse aside from a third-place run at Concord Speedway (NC). Rouse has had multiple parts failures, and although those are not his fault, people remember finishes. Rouse’s best run came at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville when he had a dominant car, but again, a parts failure resulted in a crash.
Colin Cabre – 23 – K&N East
Though Cabre is from Thonotosassa, FL, he has done much of his racing outside of the Sunshine State, from Sprint Cars to Late Model Stocks. But he has found his niche with Rev Racing in NASCAR K&N East where he impressed many as a rookie in 2015, winning the season finale at Dover. Cabre upped his points game in 2016 finishing sixth in the championship and is set to make another run in 2017.
While Cabre’s win came on one of the most demanding tracks in the land, he has been unable to back up his Dover win since then, while other drivers have come into the series in following races and are already on the fast track up. If Cabre can challenge and beat these hot shots, it will push his stock into the green, putting him in a favorable position for the 2018 Draft.
Connor Okrzesik – 15 – Super Late Models
Last season was good to Okrzesik as he was the 2016 Pro Challenge National Champion and 2016 Alabama State Pro Legend Champion. Last year he made his first start at the Snowball Derby and finished 13th after starting 33rd.
Derek Ramstrom – 25 – Super Late Models
Ramstrom continues to be a threat at any race he shows up to, recording five top-five finishes in eight PASS North starts in 2016. The problem he’s had in recent years is an inconsistent schedule. Ramstrom dabbled in the Modified ranks but was never able to make anything of it. Now he’s back in the Super Late Model ranks where he seems to be settling in.
Derek Scott, Jr. – 16 – Super/Pro Late Models
Scott has had plenty of good runs, but no great runs just yet. Scott has scored a top five in a Southern Super Series race, which is tough to do, and has sat on the pole for the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), which is also tough to do.
But again, Scott has yet to turn in a great performance. That, coupled with being rough on equipment, is why our voters weren’t particularly kind to him.
Derrick Ramey – 25 – Dirt Modifieds
Ramey used a consistent season and one win to clinch the 2016 Southeast Dirt Modified Series championship. The one knock against him is that he seems to come up short in some of Dirt Modified racings biggest races.
Devin Moran – 22 – Dirt Late Models
Last season Moran collected a handful of feature wins in his Dirt Late Model. He is looking to start this season off the same as he already has four feature wins in the NSW Late Model Series.
Devin O’Connell – 19 – Super Late Models
O’Connell’s hometown of Madison, CT lies in Modified Country, but he has always had full fender aspirations. Living in North Carolina for a time, O’Connell cut his teeth in Legends Cars at the Summer Shootout and the Allison Legacy Series, catching many eyes with a ten win championship season in 2014. O’Connell returned home to CT in 2015, but set the Legends Car world on fire with multiple Semi-Pro championships at track, state, national, and world levels on both ovals and road courses.
O’Connell’s rookie year in Late Models brought his stock down after 2016. Though he won the American-Canadian Tour Rookie of the Year, it was a year for learning rather than winning. For 2017, he has gone independent again, moving to Super Late Models on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, debuting with a seventh at Lee USA Speedway (NH). Active on social media and in the local community, a strong season could see O’Connell back in the draft in 2018.
Dillon Steuer – 14 – Asphalt/Dirt Modifieds
Dillon Steuer went to Riverhead Raceway, a tough bullring on Long Island, and won in a Modified powered by a Crate engine. He followed that up by going to Orange County Fair Speedway (NY), a big 5/8-mile clay oval and won in a Sportsman Modified.
Steuer is naturally talented, but racing in a secondary division like the Crate Modified class at Riverhead or the Sportsman Modified class at Orange County will be overlooked by a national voter pool. Fortunately for Steuer, he’s moving up to the NASCAR Modified division at Riverhead in 2017.
Dominique Van Wieringen – 21 – K&N East
If there’s anything this girl can do, it’s qualify. Last season she only qualified outside of the top-10 four times during the entire K&N East season. She collected three top fives last season but has yet to make an appearance anywhere thus far in 2017.
Donald McIntosh – 24 – Dirt Late Models
McIntosh is another one of those drivers who seems to have his stock impacted by a limited schedule. He competed in a handful or races with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Southern National Bonus Series and Ultimate Super Late Model Series last year. He scored a pair of wins with the Southern National Bonus Series and Ultimate SLM Series.
Dylan Fetcho – 16 – Pro Late Models
Fetcho doesn’t have far to go from his hometown of Lebanon, TN to find great race tracks. He has made Highland Rim Speedway and historic Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville his home in his young career. While he has dominated both tracks in Legends Cars, he has also made progress in PLM notching a win at Highland Rim while taking 2016 Rookie of the Year honors in Nashville.
Fetcho is trying to back up his winning ways in Legends, but he is going through the Late Model learning curve. While in the short term for 2017 it has brought his stock down, there is always the potential for it to go back up once the education turns into success. Plus, he is still a 16-year-old high school student; he has the time.
Dylan Lupton – 23 – K&N Pro Series
A West Coast hotshot from Wilton, CA, Lupton has already tasted success on the short track scene. After running at Irwindale a great deal, Lupton got a taste of the East, running Late Model Stocks in 2012, but returned to the Left Coast for K&N West. He scored a win in each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, while finishing runner-up in the championship in 2014.
Since 2015, Lupton has been running around the national series of NASCAR, but not enough to nullify his draft status. That being said, his time running around nationally has not seen him run in the short track ranks and he has not had the numbers running for small national teams. Lupton will have to run more short track series to bring his stock up, but his experience in NASCAR continues to grow with his time running across the country.
Dylan Smith – 17 – Outlaw Karts
He has built a name for himself at Millbridge Speedway (NC). The North Carolina native has multiple feature wins on his resume at the 1/5-mile dirt track.
Evan Swilling – 25 – Late Model Stock Cars
Swilling scored five Limited Late Model victories at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in 2016, and has two top-10 finishes in CARS Tour competition so far in 2017.
The 25-year-old finished in the top three in the fan vote for the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes this year, but our panel of industry experts didn’t feel the same way about Swilling as the fans.
Gracin Raz – 19 – K&N West / SLM
Two years ago, Raz seemed to be one of the promising young stars on the West Coast. Fast forward two years and he’s now without a consistent ride. His 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win at All American Speedway (CA) proved he could get the job done, now he just needs more opportunities.
Jack Dossey III – 18 – Pro Late Models
The teenager claimed Rookie of the Year honors for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in 2016 with three top-10 finishes. Dossey is doing the best he can to steadily improve. He had no top-fives one year ago, but already has one top-five finish in one race this year.
James Bickford – 19 – No Series
Bickford of Napa, CA has made waves across the West Coast since the early days of his racing career, winning many races in his quarter midget and Legends Cars. He made an immediate splash upon moving to Late Models, winning the track championship at All American Speedway (CA) in his rookie year of 2013. He rode this wave of momentum to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, scoring a win in each of the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Since then, he has not been seen all that much on track, heading into 2017 without a K&N ride. If he is to get back into Draft contention for 2018, he needs to gain a ride whether it be in Stock Cars or Late Models sooner rather than later.
Jesse Little – 20 – K&N East
Jesse Little was flying high following the biggest win of his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2014, but since that time his stock has dropped. He’s made a total of nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts over the last two years, while sprinkling in 10 K&N East starts during that time, but has seen limited success. A full-time ride in any series could help him reenter the conversation.
John Holleman IV – 19 – Sportsman / K&N East
Mostly known for his statistics at the famous Bowman Gray Stadium (NC), Holleman was last year’s most popular driver. He also dabbled in and out of the K&N Pro Series East and couldn’t be missed with his recognizable pink and blue paint scheme.
Justin Carroll – 21 – Late Model Stock Cars
Winning twin races at Hickory last season and also being one of the highest finishing rookies at the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville helped Carroll start to make a name for himself. Running mainly at Langley this season, so far Carroll has collected mainly top-five finishes and hopes to contend for the track championship.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. – 25 – USAC / ARCA
Hailing from Cullman, AL, Thomas took his racing trail across the rest of the nation finding his way in both Midgets and Sprints, mostly in the USAC ranks. The USAC National Sprints is where he has had his most recent of success, collecting four wins and finishing ninth in the 2016 points on a majority schedule. He also made a successful ARCA appearance at Daytona in 2016, finishing top 10.
Thomas’ age is starting to get up there and his time hopping from car to car and series to series has actually kept his stock down. He has not been able to chase for a single championship since 2015, while the wins have not come his way in 2017 so far on another multi-series schedule. He has also not had the chance to follow through on his asphalt efforts.
Macy Causey – 16 – Late Model Stock Cars
Causey is a member of the 2017 Drive for Diversity class, and in 2016 she became the first female driver to qualify into the Martinsville 300 Late Model Stock Car race through time trials. She was also the 2015 Rookie of the Year in the state of Virginia.
Outside of those few accomplishments, Causey still has yet to run up front consistently. Causey has improvements to make, but she’s young enough to still have a chance.
Mason Diaz – 16 – Pro Late Models
Diaz made the jump to Late Models this season and has started to experience some success. He currently leads the Late Model Stock Car point standings at Souther National Motorsports Park (NC) with two wins. To take that next step, he’ll need to start winning bigger races.
Matt Wallace – 21 – Pro Late Models
He has a famous last name, but up to this point Wallace has yet to deliver on a consistent basis. A pair of wins during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing and a runner-up finish in the 2015 Masters of the Pros 144 have shown promise, but that’s not enough for our voters this time around.
Michael Bilderback – 25 – Super Late Models
A Big 8 Late Model Champion, Bilderback won half of the races in the series in 2016 where he also never finished outside of the top 10. He also collected four wins at Rockford Speedway (IL) where he won the track championship.
Nick Drake – 21 – K&N West
Drake is a winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He’s proven that he can take a car to victory lane. But racing consistently is a key parameter for our voters, and Drake is without a major ride this season.
Noah Korner – 19 – Legends Cars
Time and effort has paid off for the Canton, CT native as Korner reached the top of the Legends Car world not just in his home state, but across the entire nation. Korner had a tremendous 2016 season, winning the track championships at Connecticut’s three Legends tracks, Stafford, Waterford, and the Thompson road course. These championships and wins propelled him to the Connecticut and National Semi-Pro championship for the season.
While Korner competes competitively nationally in Legends, he has reached the age where the time has come for drivers to move up to full scale race cars. While he looks to make a few starts in Modifieds in state, he will have to put up numbers before having a shot at the top 51 in 2018.
Parker Price-Miller – 18 – Sprint Cars
A total of nine Sprint Car victories highlighted the 2016 season for Price-Miller, but it wasn’t enough for our experts to put him in the top 51 or best of the rest this time around. Our panel would like to more success from him competing against the best of the best in series like the World of Outlaws.
Ronnie Davis III – 20 – Sportsman Modifieds
Davis picked up two track championships in 2016 and 16 feature victories. When he’s not racing he’s turning wrenches on Max McLaughlin’s race car.
But similarly for Steuer, Davis was bitten by racing in a support class in the Northeast. If he has the same success in the upper classes, Davis should receive more support.
Ronnie Williams – 20 – SK Modifieds
Ellington, CT lies in the heart of Connecticut Modified Country, just where Ronnie Williams has built his racing career. After moving up the ladder in his first seasons, Williams struck pay dirt in the 2015 season in the Stafford SK Modified division, winning six races against names you will find in the Tour-type Modified ranks. For 2016 he expanded to Connecticut’s other two short tracks, running at Thompson and scoring his first win at Waterford.
Wins did not come as easily for Williams in 2016, with the one at Waterford and a single Stafford win being his only wins. Williams has also not ventured much into the Tour-type Modified ranks, a ride in any one of them on a regular basis, coupled with more SK wins is just what he needs to bring his stock up.
Sergio Pena – 24 – K&N East
Somewhat off the radar, Pena is a past K&N East winner when he competed for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team Rev Racing. Last year he made one start in the series but can now be found at the track helping out friend and fellow driver Sam Hunt.
Shane Lee – 23 – ARCA Racing Series
Lee is off to a hot start this year with Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series with two top-five finishes in three starts. Lee finished third at the season opener at Daytona and finished fourth on the high banks of Salem Speedway (IN) this past weekend.
Still, it wasn’t enough to get Lee into the top-51 of the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes this year.
Shawna Ingraham – 22 – Modifieds
Ingraham of Brick, NJ has become one of the most popular drivers at Wall Stadium on the Jersery Shore. Getting an early start in her racing career, she went up through the ranks quick, earning Sportsman Modified Rookie of the Year in 2011. For 2013 she made history, becoming the first female to win in the Wall Modified division. Since that time, she has been a familiar face in victory lane, including 2016 where she came home with two more trophies throughout the season.
Ingraham’s time outside of the Wall Modifieds has been very limited and going forward her time at Wall will be limited after switching rides for 2017. But she has a chance to make something of her new ride in her limited appearances with the Blewett family helping to field the car.
Stefan Parsons – 18 – Super Late Models
Dabbling in Super Late Model racing Parson is known for making starts in the CARS Tour and PASS Series. He has yet to capture a large win to put him on the map in Late Model racing yet.
Thad Moffitt – 16 – Late Model Stock Cars / ARCA
The grandson of Richard Petty has high expectations, but he has yet to deliver on them just yet. Moffitt has dabbled in the Late Model ranks with limited success (four top 10s in seven Southeast Limited Late Model starts) and finished 16th in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Nashville (TN) earlier this year. At some point, he’ll need to deliver victories in order to get to the next level.
Tyler Courtney – 22 – Midgets
Nicknamed “Sunshine,” Tyler Courtney had his break through moment at this year’s Chili Bowl where he won on a preliminary night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Last season Courtney captured a handful of wins throughout the Midwest.
Tyler Erb – 20 – Dirt Late Models
Erb has found the winning ways, scoring multiple Super Late Model victories on dirt the last few years. This season he’s competing for Rookie of the Year honors with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models.
While he’s picked up a few wins, it wasn’t enough to wow our voters the way other Dirt Late Model drivers like Brandon Sheppard did.
Tyler Truex – 20 -Legends Cars / Modifieds
Currently the youngest member of this famous New Jersey racing family, it should be no surprise that Truex has made his roots at Wall Stadium Speedway. He has grown in Legends Cars there and has used it as spring board to find success at some of the big events in the Legends world. He has scored multiple wins in the Summer Shootout at Charlotte and brought home the 2017 Winter Nationals championship, all while gaining the appeal of his home and national fans who voted him runner-up in the 2017 Short Track Draft fan vote.
If Truex does want a better shot at the Top 51 for 2018, he will need to spend more time in full size race cars. But a schedule that includes running for 2017 Sportsman Mod championship at Wall plus some limited SMRS starts will get him started in that direction.
Trevor Cristiani – 22 – Super Late Models
Winning the Pacific Challenge Series and the Rocky Mountain Challenge Series championships, Cristiani was one of the hottest Late Model drivers in the West Coast region. It has been a few years since he has competed full time in any specific car or series, which hurt his rankings in this year’s draft.