Preparations for the 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com are underway. The ballot was recently revealed and sent out to a panel of industry experts to determine the top 51 short track racing prospects in North America.
As we prepare for the draft, we’ll be taking a look at a handful of drivers and providing scouting reports just like you would see ahead of the NFL Draft. These scouting reports will take a look at a driver’s on-track performance, as well as other qualities that may make or break their chances of making it to the top levels of NASCAR.
We continue our round of scouting reports today with a look at Tyler Dippel, a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver who began his career in the dirt ranks.
Current Level: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Hometown: Wallkill, NY
Last Year’s Draft: 9th
Highest Pick: 9th (2016)
Anticipated 2017 Pick: 20th-25th
The Skinny: Considered a prodigy of the dirt by his fellow New Yorkers, Dippel’s rise has been impressive. Over the past couple of years, he has gone from the dirt tracks of the Empire State, to becoming one of NASCAR’s fastest rising stars. While showing talent in both Stock Cars and Late Models on asphalt, he can still wheel a Big-Block Modified with no problems.
The early part of 2016 saw him rise from 31st in 2015 all the way into the top 10 with the ninth pick at this time last year. While NASCAR is a top priority, he still likes to make rounds in multiple disciplines of racing.
Rising, Falling or Holding Steady: Falling
Dippel’s entry into the NASCAR Next program has been a positive boost along with seeing success in the Dirt Modifieds in 2016; however, on the NASCAR side, Dippel has yet to return to victory lane since the win at Mobile in March 2016. While consistency and his continued mix of racing disciplines have also helped, a lack of trips to victory lane over the last 12 months have his stock falling.
On-Track Accomplishments: B
Since winning his first Big-Block Modified feature in 2014, Dippel made a splash in ARCA with two runner-up finishes on the dirt miles in 2015. He followed that up by making an immediate splash on the NASCAR scene, winning in just his second K&N East start last year at Mobile Int’l Speedway (AL).
He has also continued to impress on the dirt front, becoming the youngest winner in Lebanon Valley Speedway’s Big-Block division, winning twice in 2016, beating names like Kenny Tremont, JR Heffner, and Brett Hearn.
But he has not followed up his stock car win nor won a big name race, something he will try to change this year.
Dippel is somewhat shy, which is fine, because everyone is shy to an extent, but he isn’t a great talker when speaking to the media. He’s decent when speaking off the record, but on the record his personality goes away.
Being a member of the NASCAR Next program, this is something Dippel should improve on with time.
Dippel always puts on a bright smile when he’s with the fans, especially the younger ones who tend to look up to drivers his age. He’s also not afraid to give constant shout outs to his home state and fans while on the road.
Sponsor Appeal: A-
Being a part of NASCAR Next means that Dippel will receive a nice education on what sponsors want from their drivers.
At the same time, his young face compliment his immense driving talent, which will benefit from some first-place finishes along the way.
Social Media: B
It took a little while for Dippel to hit the scene on social media, especially on Twitter. Since then he is visible both there and on Facebook where he provides a good behind-the-scenes looks of the racing operation while updating fans the latest on what’s going on with his racing career.
But we don’t get an inside look on him personally, with his updates taking more of a PR look at times.
As of now, he also doesn’t have an Instagram page. That doesn’t earn him any bonus points in this category.
Dippel plans to run the remaining K&N East schedule for Rette Jones Racing, but beyond that things are not as clear. Fans in New York can expect him in the No. 1 Dirt Modified mostly along the Hudson Valley this summer, but when and where is not known. Any potential Late Model plans are also unclear, but Dippel has proven that you can’t rule him out of anything.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com