Picking the winners of big short track races throughout the country is a tradition that our staff at Speed51.com enjoys.  With a big event taking place this weekend at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA, our staff has been challenged once again.


This week we asked members of our Speed51.com team, “Who are you picking to win the two Late Model races at SpeedFest 2018?”


The answers we received varied, but when all the votes were tallied it was Bubba Pollard (Super Late Models) and Casey Roderick (Pro Late Models) who were named the favorites to win.


Check out our full list of staff picks for SpeedFest 2018 below.


Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

PLM Pick: Jeff Choquette

Choquette simply can’t be beat. He’s had a bit of a chip on his shoulder since the Snowball Derby and he’s shook off any rust by winning the Red Eye 100 and Marion Edwards Memorial 100 at New Smyrna Speedway already through the month of January.


SLM Pick: Chase Purdy
Purdy comes in with the experience and he’s got a full slate of racing this year with the Anthony Campi Racing team. Campi has been burning the midnight oil to develop their program over the last year and it started to show results at the Snowball Derby. I say this is when it all clicks and the team starts the season off with a W.


Bob Dillner, Speed51.com Executive Editor

PLM Pick: Chris Dilbeck

I picked him last year and I’m going to pick him again this year. The guy can drive a race car and he’s a former track champion at the Watermelon Patch. I think he’ll take down the Casey Roderick-train this time.


SLM Pick: Chandler Smith

I like Cinderella stories and I believe we could see one at SpeedFest. Teenager Chandler Smith has been knocking on the door to a Super Late Model win and I believe this could be his time. Harrison Burton got his big win at SpeedFest last year and now it’s Chandler’s turn.


300x250 SpeedFest PPV 2018.01.27-02Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor

PLM Pick: Bubba Pollard

When a race car driver talks about how good a particular car is, you know it’s pretty dang good.  Pollard is very happy with where his Pro Late Model program is at.  When you mix confidence with Pollard’s ability behind the wheel, that spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for the competition.  He’ll continue his Pro Late Model success with a victory at SpeedFest.


SLM Pick: Jeff Choquette

2018 is shaping up to be the year of Jeff Choquette.  I know it’s early and I know his two victories have come at only one race track, but I truly believe this driver and team have their you-know-what together entering the new season.  Following an impressive running that came up just short at the Snowball Derby in December, Choquette gets his redemption at SpeedFest 2018.


Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor

PLM & SLM Pick: Bubba Pollard

I think Pollard will end up doing what he just missed out on at the beginning of the winter in Pensacola by completing a Super/Pro Late Model sweep. He’s proven that he has some of the best race cars right now in both the Super and Pro fields. He knows how to run both in the same weekend. Most of all, he knows Cordele like the back of his own hand, where he won the SLM race in 2016 and the 2017 Southern Super Series event last September. Pollard is in the right position to join Chase Elliott in record books in his home state this Saturday.


Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

PLM Pick: Casey Roderick

In the SpeedFest record books, wins come in bunches in the Pro Late Model class. Roderick will go back-to-back to become the third Georgia driver to do so.


SLM Pick: Bubba Pollard

His record at Watermelon Capital Speedway is solid and they are looking to prove it again this weekend. 


Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Operations Manager

PLM Pick: Casey Roderick

It’s hard to believe that someone with three track championships in three different states and 18 wins overall last year could be looking for redemption, but I believe that is exactly what what he will be doing after coming up short in the final race of 2018 in the Snowflake 100.


SLM Pick: Jeff Choquette

Choquette been a contender every time out, and a favorite more often than not, ever since joining the JETT team. Already with two wins under his belt in as many starts in 2018, he has a great chance to sweep the month of January in the Southeast and make a statement, loud and clear, that they are a force to be reckoned with in 2018.


Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Regional Editor (IN, MI & OH)

PLM Pick: Jeff Choquette

Choquette is always a force in the region, and I think he will continue to be so Saturday. It will be a fast field though, with Pollard and Roderick also running both races.


SLM Pick: Bubba Pollard

It’s hard to pick against Bubba Pollard anywhere, so I have to go with the driver of the #26 after a strong performance at Five Flags Speedway in the Snowball Derby. Casey Roderick will likely be a challenger, but Pollard will kick the year off with a Speedfest victory.


Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor

PLM Pick: Josh Brock 

Brock was very fast in the beginning of 2017 and surprised a lot of people. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to his cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, Brock has beaten his cancer and has been cleared to race again. If his Fury Race Car is as fast as it was at the beginning of last year I think he can contend for the win.


SLM Pick: Carson Hocevar

I think I’m going out on a bit of a limb on this one, but I still think this is a realistic pick. The KBR cars are strong every time they go to the track. Carson’s progression has been fast and he’s proven that he can contend for SLM wins. He was in a position to win the Money in the Bank race at Berlin Raceway, a flat short track, before he was taken out late. If things go his way I think he can score the win.


Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

PLM Pick: Casey Roderick

Only four men have ever won the Pro Late Model portion of SpeedFest: Greg Simpson, Chase Elliott, John Hunter Nemechek and Casey Roderick. Each of the first three have won the race on multiple occasions. Last year, Roderick got his win-soaked year jump started with a victory in Cordele. The defending race winner will join the list of multi-time winners with another SpeedFest PLM win on Saturday.


SLM Pick: Chandler Smith

The Peach State Posse has won four of the last five Super Late Model SpeedFest events. Veteran Bubba Pollard leads the gang back to ‘Melon this year, but it will be a new face in victory lane. We finally see Chandler Smith grab his marquee win to set the tone for what could be a dominant 2018 tour.


-Text by Speed51.com Staff

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Speed51.com Staff Picks Winners for SpeedFest 2018