A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the first Short Track Power poll of 2015. Drivers in all forms of short track racing, including Late Models, NASCAR Touring Series, ARCA, Dirt Late Models and Modifieds, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series or ASA Member Track program and everything in between were eligible.
The rankings shown below were decided after polling our panel of experts in the industry. Rankings were based on overall number of votes, with more weight given to each vote the higher the vote. Example, a #1 vote would be more valuable than a #2, #3, etc.
Here are the results of the short track power rankings to this point in the 2015 racing season:
1. Christopher Bell (Asphalt SLM) – Driving for asphalt Super Late Model powerhouse team Kyle Busch Motorsports, Christopher Bell has kicked off his 2015 racing season in fine fashion. The 20-year-old Oklahoma driver has made five Super Late Model starts so far this season and has finished in the top-five in all five races. He picked up his first career Super Late Model win during the 100-lap Bruce Gowland Memorial to close out the World Series of Aspahlt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) and then backed that up by leading 203 of 250 laps to win the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
2. Shane Clanton (WoO Late Models) – Butter him up because Shane Clanton has been on a roll to start the 2015 World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series season. In seven events so far this season, the 39-year-old Georgia native has recorded four wins and top-five finishes in all seven races. He’s been on a Kevin Harvick-like streak notching six straight finishes of no worse than second heading into the series’ next event. There is no driver in dirt racing as hot as Clanton during the early stages of this season.
3. Bubba Pollard (SLM, PLM) – One year after claiming the Southern Super Series championship, Bubba Pollard’s 2015 season is off to a smoking hot start. Pollard has recorded three wins during the early stages of the season including a huge $25,000 West Coast win at the Inaugural Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park (CA). He also recorded his first career win at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) during the Red-Eye 100 and picked up his third career Baby Rattler Pro Late Model win at South Alabama Speedway.
4. Ryan Preece (Tour-Type Modifieds) – New team, no problem for 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece. Just two years after winning the championship with Flamingo Motorsports, Preece made the decision to join the TS Haulers No. 6 team for the 2015 campaign. So far that decision doesn’t appear to be a poor one. Preece dominated the Tour-Type Modified division during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing winning four of the six races on his way to winning the overall championship. He also recently led 159 of 160 laps en route to a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win at South Boston Speedway (VA).
5. Dalton Sargeant (NASCAR K&N Pro Series, SLM) – Out of nowhere, Dalton Sargeant has become one of the most talked about names in short track racing this season. It all stems from a strong runner-up finish at the Snowball Derby in December of 2014, but he’s continued to impress early on during the 2015 season. In his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start, Sargeant claimed the pole and led 75 laps to win the season-opening event at Kern County Raceway Park (CA). He’s also recorded finishes of second and third in his first two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts.
6. Eric Goodale (Tour-Type Modifieds) – Long Island native Eric Goodale made the decision to pack things up, head south and leave the cold Northeast weather behind during the early stages of the 2015 racing season. That decision was one that would ultimately pay off. Goodale became just one of two drivers to beat Ryan Preece during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing when he used a late charge to win the 76-lap John Blewett III Memorial. He followed that up by scoring his first career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win during the season opener at Caraway Speedway (NC) and recording top-five finishes in all three of his NWSMT starts.
7. Grant Enfinger (ARCA) – We have all heard this one before, “Grant Enfinger wins at Daytona.” And now that we think of it, we’ve all heard this one before, too, “Grant Enfinger wins at Mobile.” For the second straight year, Enfinger has kicked off his ARCA Racing Series season with two straight wins at Daytona International Speedway (FL) and Mobile International Speedway (AL). He’s led 197 of the 285 laps completed in two ARCA events so far this season and once again leads the way in the championship standings heading into the third event of the season.
8. William Byron (K&N East) – 17-year-old William Byron made the jump from Late Model Stock Cars to the higher horsepower NASCAR K&N Pro Series East machines this season, and so far that move is paying off. Byron currently sits second in the championship point standings after scoring a win at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) in just his second career start. Driving the sharp looking Liberty University No. 9 machine, the Charlotte, North Carolina driver will be one to keep an eye on throughout the 2015 season.
9. Donny Schatz (WoO Sprints) – So far in 2015, Donny Schatz has proved that he’s going to be the man to beat in the Sprint Car ranks. The veteran driver from Minot, North Dakota has tallied up four wins, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts this season. He currently sits at the top of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship point standings after recording three wins in his last five starts.
10. Earl Pearson, Jr. (Lucas Oil Dirt) – Battling in the competitive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series ranks, Earl Pearson, Jr. has scored two wins and five top-five finishes in 10 stars this season. A win during the Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isles Speedway (GA) helped the Jacksonville, Florida driver get his season started on the right note and he hasn’t slowed down since. Most recently, Pearson led 49 of 50 laps to claim the win in the series’ visit to Brownstown Speedway (IN).
11. John Hunter Nemechek (SLM,PLM) – SpeedFest Pro Late Model winner, led 45 laps during SpeedFest SLM feature.
12. Austin Hill (K&N East) – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East winner at New Smyrna, leads K&N East points.
13. Eddie MacDonald (ACT) – Swept all three American-Canadian Tour features at New Smyrna.
14. David Stremme (Renegades of Dirt) – North Carolina Modified Nationals Winner, RoD winner at Screven (GA).
15. Randy Weaver (Dirt SLM) – Southern All Star Racing Series March Madness & Bama Bash winner.
16. Rico Abreu (Dirt/K&N East) – Two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series wins, Chili Bowl winner.
17. Kodie Conner (PASS PLM) – Three PASS Pro Late Model Series wins in four events.
18. Todd Gilliland (CARS LMSC) – Won the inaugural CARS Late Model Stock Tour event at Southern National (NC).
19. Cole Timm (CARS SLM) – Won the inaugural CARS Super Late Model Tour event at Southern National (NC).
20. Zane Smith (SLM) – 2015 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Super Late Model champion, one SLM win at New Smyrna (FL)
Others Receiving Votes: Jonathan Davenport, Alex Reece, Derek Thorn, Preston Peltier, Erick Rudolph, Harrison Burton, Gray Gaulding, JR Bertuccio, Burt Myers, Ruben Pardo, Dalton Armstrong, Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Jason Myers, Lee Pulliam, Trey Gibson, Bobby Pierce, Andy Seuss, Kyle Strickler, Josh Berry, Shane Stewart, Jimmy Owens, Doug Moff, Willie Allen, Austin Barnes, Tyler Church