Picking the winners of big short track races throughout the country is a tradition that our staff at Speed51.com has enjoyed for many years. With a Super Late Model crown jewel event being held this weekend at Winchester Speedway, we decided to challenge our staff once again.


This week we asked members of our Speed51.com team, “Who are you picking to win the 47th Annual Winchester 400?”


The answers we received varied, but when all the votes were tallied it was Chandler Smith (six votes) who was named the favorite to win the big race.  Overall, eight different drivers received votes from our panel of 19 experts.


Check out our full list of staff picks for the Winchester 400 below.


Aaron Creed, Speed51.com National Correspondent 

Pick: Harrison Burton

Redemption will be the name of the game in this year’s Winchester 400. The wheel stud and all other parts will hold up this time around for the now 18-year-old driver to cruise to the victory.


Adam Mackey, Speed51.com Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

While he’s only made one start in the Winchester 400, Chandler Smith proved to handle it like a veteran, finishing 3rd after leading nearly 100 laps last year. Smith will move up two more spots on the podium.


Bob Dillner, Speed51.com Executive Editor

Pick: Travis Braden

Braden has a passion for Super Late Model racing, and he’s done well in the ARCA Racing Series this season. As a former winner of the race, Braden is the type of racer that has exactly what it takes to prevail after 400 grueling laps at Winchester.


Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor

Pick: Travis Braden

Braden is too good at Winchester not to pick him. In addition to his Winchester 400 win two years ago, he also won the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race last year during Winchester 400 Weekend. He knows how to get around the place and he knows how to be around at the end. I believe he’ll fire the Winchester rifle again this year.


Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor

Pick: Raphael Lessard

He’s got two big Super Late Model wins to go with a very tidy debut season with Kyle Busch Motorsports, who won the 400 last year with Noah Gragson. Lessard also came close to winning in his first 400 two years ago before getting caught in a late dustup. He found redemption once this year in the Redbud, so there’s no reason he can’t do the same at Winchester.


Dakota Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)

Pick: Johnny VanDoorn

VanDoorn has come close in the Winchester 400 and arguably had the fastest car in last year’s race before engine issues derailed his chances for a win and an ARCA/CRA Super Series championship. He finally gets it done this year and wins himself a rifle.


Daryl Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Chandler Smith

After the season Smith has had, I couldn’t possibly go to this event and not pick one of my own #51Draft drivers. Smith has proven all year he is one of the best short track racers in America right now. A victory in the Winchester 400 could put Smith right near the top of the short track power rankings .


Duane Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Harrison Burton

He’s shown that he is more than capable of conquering the high banks of Winchester, and if not for a parts failure he would already have a 400 win on his resume. Everything will hold together this weekend and Burton will go to victory lane.


Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Travis Braden

Travis Braden will conquer the high banks for a second time. Heck, he might win Friday night too.


Evan Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Chandler Smith

The youngster has had a stellar 2018, showing he has what it takes to beat the best. After a third-place finish at Winchester last season, I expect him to contend once again, this time being first under the checkered flag.


Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com Northwest Editor

Pick: Chandler Smith

He finished third in 2017 behind Gragson and Braden. It will be tough to get the win with so many great cars, but Chandler Smith has put himself on the map this year and will celebrate another big victory at Winchester.


Kevin Peters, Speed51.com Southwest Editor

Pick: Harrison Burton

I’m going with Harrison Burton to pick up the win at Winchester. This pick is more of a gut feeling, but Burton has to be a favorite anywhere he goes.


Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

After the intense battle at Five Flags Speedway a couple of weeks ago between Smith and Pollard, Smith has proved that he is one to beat in the Super Late Model world. He’s had more than an impressive season and will continue to impress with a Winchester 400 win. Chandler Smith brings it home this weekend.


Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Operations Manager

Pick: Steve Wallace

With a lot of big names on the list, this one was tough for me to pick. I’m going somewhat outside the box of the ‘favorites’ as of late and going with Steve Wallace. If any driver is overdue for a big win, it is Wallace. After a strong start to 2017 including wins with the CARS Tour and CRA’s Redbud 400, he was unable to find Victory Late during the final six months of the year. His lone Winchester 400 start last year he wound up one spot off the podium with a fourth-place finish. Look for Wallace to make a statement and hold the infamous Winchester rifle in Victory Lane.


Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor

Pick: Corey Heim

Heim not only survived the craziness at Martinsville, but brought home a second-place finish (after only his third time behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock Car). I think he will be able to hold on until the end — and maybe even win — the Winchester 400 after running nearly a full season in his Super Late Model.


Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Great Lakes Editor

Pick: Josh Brock

Brock stands one race away from redemption, a year removed from cancer taking away his 2017 chances at the championship. Brock has led the pack of championship contenders all year, and I expect his team to have put together a car that will make the full 400-lap race and win the Winchester 400.


Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor

Pick: Travis Braden

The two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion is often overlooked for some weird reason. Braden was a surprise winner in 2016 at the end of a wild sequence of events. He followed that up by finishing second to Noah Gragson last year. It seems that Winchester is feast or famine for Braden. He’s finished second twice, won it once, and has three finishes of worse than 20th in six starts. I believe this year will see Braden feasting on his competition at Winchester once again.


Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Chandler Smith

The young driver from Georgia is ready to add a Super Late Model crown jewel to his resume. Give me Chandler Smith to win the Winchester 400.


Tom Ryan, Speed51.com Digital Manager

Pick: Harrison Burton

I am picking the No. 12 car. Harrison Burton had the high banks conquered last season and unexpectedly broke. This year he will end up in victory lane and not with a DNF.


-Text by Speed51.com Staff

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Speed51.com Picks: Who Will Win the Winchester 400?