Short Track Draft Stock Report: Who’s Rising & Who’s Falling?

Each year as the NFL Draft approaches, aspiring professional football players see their draft stock rise, fall or hold steady.  Similarly, short track racers see their stock rise and fall ahead of the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes.

 

Our short track racing experts have taken a look at some of the drivers in this year's draft to determine whether their stock is rising, falling or holding steady leading up to the 2019 Short Track Draft on Speed51.com.

 

Be sure to use hashtag #51Draft on Twitter and let us know whether you agree or disagree with our experts.

 

Corey Heim – Stock Rising

Age: 16

Hometown: Marietta, GA

Current Level: ARCA / Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: 42nd

 

After making the top 51 for the first time in 2018, the short track racing world watched throughout the remainder of the 2018 season and the early part of this season to see if he could continue his rapid growth in the Late Model ranks. Despite some troubles, the answer has been a resounding yes.

 

Unfortunately, the issue of post-race technical inspection has dogged Heim over multiple rides in the past year, but through all of it he has come out as a contender in close to every race he has entered. That all culminated with his first Super Late Model win at South Boston last November, plus an impressive ARCA Menards Series debut this past March.

 

Positive consistency can only mean a rising stock, so look for Heim to climb up the board in the 2019 Short Track Draft.

 

Bobby Pierce – Holding Steady

Age: 22

Hometown: Oakwood, IL

Current Level: Dirt Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: 4th

 

A top-five pick in the Short Track Draft can be a tough follow-up the next year, especially if you do a shake-up of your racing schedule. Despite doing exactly that, Pierce has his kept his stock even heading into the 2019 Draft.

 

Pierce ran full-time on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the first time in his career in 2018, scoring four wins and placing seventh in the final standings. In total, he won seven times in around 80 races during the year. For 2019, Pierce made another change, going back to his pick-and-choose approach over multiple series and has already snagged seven wins from his efforts.

 

The strong beginning has Pierce holding steady with a shot at another high pick in 2019.

 

Raphael Lessard – Stock Rising

Age: 17

Hometown: St-Joseph de Beauce, QC, Canada

Current Level: ARCA / K&N / Trucks

Last Year’s Pick: 14th

 

While not running nearly as many events in 2019 as he had compared to 2018, Lessard’s stock is still in good shape with the rides that he does have for this season, and more importantly what he was able to do last year.

 

After his top 15 selection in the 2018 draft, Lessard responded immediately by racing to victory lane in Super Late Model competition for the first time in Kyle Busch Motorsports equipment at Bristol Motor Speedway. He also checked a Super Late Model major off the win list, winning the Redbud 400.  He also had a great chance at the Snowball Derby before a busted radiator in the late laps took him out.

 

For 2019, he proved himself in ARCA competition once again by nearly winning at Five Flags Speedway before coming home in one piece in his NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series start at Martinsville. Lessard’s opportunities might few and far between in 2019, but they will be high in quality.

 

Logan Seavey – Stock Rising

Age: 21

Hometown: Sutter, CA

Current Level: Various

Last Year’s Pick: 43rd

 

One of the hottest youngsters on dirt right now may be this California hot shoe. After his POWRi National Midget championship in 2017 propelled him into the top 51 in 2018, his accomplishments since then have only become more impressive.

 

A USAC National Midget title with three wins in 2018, plus another six in POWRi, and his first Stock Car win with ARCA on the dirt-mile of DuQuoin have given his stock a huge kick in the rear. Add a solid start to 2019, including a Chili Bowl Prelim Night win, and you have a driver in position to take in plenty of draft stock come selection time.

 

Kyle Benjamin – Stock Falling

Age: 21

Hometown: Easley, SC

Current Level: Modifieds

Last Year’s Pick: 6th

 

If there is one driver who has experienced the ups and downs of the Short Track Draft, it has to be Kyle Benjamin. Unfortunately, this time around Benjamin is experiencing a fall in his draft stock in 2019.

 

Back in 2013, Benjamin made waves in the short track world at a young age, from impressing in Late Models to almost immediately doing the same in ARCA, winning twice that year. Since then, he has made his mark in NASCAR K&N East with five career wins, and even coming with a few close runner-ups in both Xfinity and Trucks.

 

But for 2019, Benjamin found himself in desperate need of a ride. Ending up in the ranks of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the first time in a part-time, but quality ride for LFR Racing. But, considering what he has had access to in year’s past, this has caused a decline in his draft stock.

 

Travis Braden – Holding Steady

Age: 25

Hometown: Wheeling, WV

Current Level: ARCA / Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: 16th

 

In his final year of draft eligibility, Braden is in a position to land solidly in the 2019 edition after another firm year in both ARCA Stock Cars and Late Models.

 

Despite going winless in 2018, the former two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion and 2016 Winchester 400 winner made his presence felt in the ARCA Menards Series. He brought RMFS Racing home fifth in the standings in 2018, with four Top 5’s and 11 Top 10’s.

 

Currently, he is leading the ARCA Menards Series points heading into this weekend’s next race at Talladega, mixing it up with the top teams once again.

 

Jack Dossey III – Stock Rising

Age: 20

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Current Level: Super & Pro Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: 85th

 

After two seasons of consistency on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, resulting in two-straight titles, Dossey has been looking for that key victory to finally propel his draft stock up. Earlier this year, he finally got the win he had been looking for.

 

Taking the same momentum he has established in the Pro Late Models, Dossey has been finding his footing in the Super Late Model ranks as well, making his own schedule across multiple series, particularly on the ARCA/CRA Super Series. Earlier this month, it all came together as he took his first major Late Model win, claiming victory at Anderson Speedway in Super Series competition.

 

With that second JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model title from 2018, coupled with his recent Super Late Model win, expect Dossey to be a contender to crack the top 51.

 

Paul Shafer Jr. – Holding Steady

Age: 22

Hometown: Portage, IN

Current Level: Super Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: Missed the Draft

 

After just barely missing the draft in 2018, it’s looking like it’s going to be close again for Shafer in 2019. Leading into the 2018 Draft, Shafer’s consistency close to the front of the ARCA Midwest Tour field was good, but not quite what he would’ve been looking for stock wise.

 

Coming into this year, he has two important marks that might just tip the scale in his favor. First, he came away with his first career Midwest Tour victory last year at Jefferson Speedway. Second, he has been announced as one of the seven finalists for the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program.

 

While his stock may be holding steady for the most part, it may just be enough to get him onto the final count.

 

Max McLaughlin – Stock Falling

Age: 19

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

Current Level: K&N East

Last Year’s Pick: 29th

 

“Mad Max” has had plenty of eyes on him going back to his days at Millbridge Speedway in Mini-Outlaw competition. Since then he traced his family roots back to New York, competing in the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds full-time the past three seasons.

 

Despite consistency, including a third-place finish in the 2018 championship battle, plus a few weekly Modified wins at Brewerton and Canandaigua, McLaughlin was not able to find the breakout that a lot had been anticipating.

 

To start 2019, he has made the transition to asphalt on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, but he has not been a factor yet during the young season.

 

Ahnna Parkhurst – Stock Rising

Age: 18

Hometown: Evans, GA

Current Level: Dirt Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: Missed the Draft

 

A name who’s becoming more and more familiar on the Southeast Dirt Late Model circuit, Parkhurst is steadily becoming a rising force on the dirt and is expected to show up on a number of ballots in 2019.

 

Among her accomplishments are wins at Millbridge Speedway in Mini-Outlaws, local wins in Dirt Pro Late Models and a driver development deal with Richard Childress Racing.

 

It is only a matter of time before her name becomes known in all corners of the nation, so expect this year’s Short Track Draft to be a significant boost.

 

Layne Riggs – Stock Falling

Age: 16

Hometown: Bahama, NC

Current Level: Late Model Stock Cars

Last Year’s Pick: 37th

 

This second-generation driver made his presence known immediately on the Late Model Stock scene after joining the ranks midway through 2016. Since then, he has been a title contender in CARS Tour competition with a trio of wins between 2017 and 2018.

 

Unfortunately, the road has gotten bumpy for Riggs since mid-last year. First, an off-track injury sidelined him from competition, costing him a shot at the CARS title. A late race dust-up at Martinsville could also prove to be a hit to his draft stock. Additionally, the early stages of 2019 have also not been up to the par compared to the precedent he’s set in recent years.

 

It is simply a case of the 2019 Short Track Draft being one of those years where Riggs will be unable to bring his stock back up in time.

 

Molly Helmuth – Holding Steady

Age: 23

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Current Level: Super Late Models

Last Year’s Pick: 79th

 

After growing up and racing for a number season in the Pacific Northwest, competing first in asphalt Midgets and later in Super Late Models, Helmuth decided a change was needed for 2018. Taking the chance of moving to and competing in the Southeast, many were receptive to the change when making their ballots last year, also getting help with her KDDP finalist selection.

 

Competing mainly in Super Late Models on the CARS Tour, Helmuth found some consistency, finishing fifth in the 2018 point standings. She is pushing on into 2019 continuing to build on what she has started in the region.

 

With patience needed for such a transition and her notable social media presence, Helmuth has done well to hold her draft stock going into the 2019 Short Track Draft.

 

-Text by Speed51.com Staff

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Short Track Draft Stock Report: Who’s Rising & Who’s Falling?