On Friday, Speed51 will unveil its complete “Short Track Madness” bracket, where fans will vote for the top drivers in short track racing in a single-elimination tournament format. Before we can set the field of 64, however, there is the matter of a play-in game, pitting dirt against pavement in a battle of Southeastern racers.
In the play-in game for Short Track Madness, Dirt Late Model racer Brandon Overton will go against Late Model Stock competitor Mike Looney. A poll is available below to cast your vote, with the winner moving on to the “Big Dance.”
Before you cast your all-important vote, however, here is the case for both drivers in the matchup.
Georgia Dirt Late Model racer Brandon Overton has garnered success in recent years, often stepping up against the stiffest competition and bagging some big paydays.
In his last full-time season on a national tour, Overton finished fourth in the 2016 World of Outlaws Late Models points standings.
While he doesn’t follow a tour full-time anymore, he’s still plenty capable of winning against the best, with two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series wins apiece in 2017 and 2018, as well as six World of Outlaws wins since 2017.
Overton can also lay claim to a pair of $50,000 wins over the past two years. In 2018, Overton won the Hillbilly 100 at Tyler County Speedway (WV), and he followed it up with a win in the 2019 FASTRAK World Championship at Virginia Motor Speedway.
Mike Looney has been one of the true underdogs in Late Model Stock Car racing, often going against multiple-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Champions and multi-car teams competing on the bullrings of Virginia. After 2019, it’s a little harder to still call him an underdog.
Looney first garnered notable acclaim with a shocking win in the 2016 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA). In Late Model Stock Car racing’s Super Bowl, Looney held off two-time event winner Lee Pulliam in an electric battle for the win.
However, the Virginia racer’s real breakthrough came last year, as he nearly scored a National Championship of his own. Looney won 13 points-paying events in pursuit of the title, ultimately coming up just eight points shy of Minnesota’s Jacob Goede for the honor. Looney won the Motor Mile Speedway track championship as part of his wildly successful season.
Looney and his Billy Martin Racing team may still be underfunded compared to some of the competition, but they can no longer be taken lightly in the Late Model Stock landscape.
The winner of the play-in game will be assigned the No. 16 seed in the South Region of Speed51’s “Short Track Madness” bracket.
From there, voting will heat up on Friday at 5 p.m. ET when fans will be able to place their votes for the first round of tournament action. Voting will continue through the weekend until Monday night at 11:59 p.m. ET when the Round of 32 will be determined.
From there, the field will continue to whittle down until a Short Track Madness Champion is crowned.
So, who will move on to the Round of 64? Cast your vote below!
-Text by Speed51 Staff