A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the 10th Short Track Power poll of 2016. 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 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 2016 racing season:
#1 – Bubba Pollard – Super Late Models (September Rank: NR) – Pollard returned to asphalt Late Model racing in a big way this past month. The driver from Senoia, Georgia made his return during the Southern Super Series finale at Five Flags Speedway (FL), besting a strong field to pick up the victory. He followed that up with one of the biggest wins of his career by winning the All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). As we head towards the Snowball Derby, Pollard is back and may just be stronger than ever.
#2 – Stewart Friesen – Dirt Modifieds (September Rank: NR) – One $50,000 win is all it took for Friesen to jump back up towards the top of the power rankings. Friesen continued his Super DIRT Week success by winning the inaugural event at Oswego Speedway (NY). Sometimes quality is more important than quantity, and according to this month’s panel that was the case this time around.
#3 – Ty Majeski – Super Late Models (September Rank: 3) – If there has been one mainstay near the top of the power rankings this year, it has been Majeski. That’s because he keeps winning, and he did so again this past month. Majeski was victorious twice during Oktoberfest Weekend at LaCrosse (WI) and clinched his third straight ARCA Midwest Tour championship with his Sunday victory.
#4 – Travis Braden – Late Models (September Rank: NR) – One weekend, two wins for Travis Braden at Winchester Speedway (IN). Braden kicked off the race weekend by winning the 100-lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour finale and capped it off by making a last-lap pass to win the prestigious Winchester 400. Not a bad day in the Hoosier State, and one good enough to turn the heads of our panel this month.
#5 – Cody Coughlin – Late Models (September Rank: 10) – Coughlin made history this past month by becoming the first driver to win both the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championships in the same year. His World Stock Car Festival win at Winchester Speedway in September helped him clinch the CRA Super Series title.
#6 – Matt Sheppard – Dirt Modifieds (September Rank: 1) – If it wasn’t for what transpired during the final laps of Super DIRT Week, Sheppard could have very well been at the top once again. But after leading over 150 laps to start the race, Sheppard had to settle for fourth while Stewart Friesen had the spotlight. Still, another big month for “Super Matt” and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. He scored four Super DIRTcar Series wins in September, as well as a RoC Dirt Modified Series win at Utica-Rome to kick off Super DIRT Week.
#7 – Doug Coby – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (September Rank: NR) – Coby earned two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins during the month of September to inch towards his third straight tour title. His wins at Oswego Speedway (NY) and Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) have him leading comfortably entering the season finale at Thompson (CT) this weekend.
#8 – Nick Sweet – American-Canadian Tour (September Rank: NR) – For the third time in his career, Nick Sweet kissed a cow. The driver from Barre, Vermont won the biggest race, The Milk Bowl, at his home track to build on his impressive resume at Thunder Road (VT). Sweet also won the ACT points-counting race at Beech Ridge (ME) in dominating fashion and leads the championship standings heading into Thompson.
#9 – Jeremy Doss – Super Late Models (September Rank: NR) – The month of October has been good to Doss thus far. He kicked off the month with a Pacific Challenge Series win at Ukiah Speedway (CA) and followed it up by winning the Fall Spectacular 100 at Redwood Acres (CA) this past weekend.
#10 – Kyle Benjamin – K&N East (September Rank: NR) – Benjamin ended the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season by winning three of the final five events, including the season finale at Dover (DE). If it weren’t for some bad luck early on in the season, he very well could have been celebrating a championship at Dover as well.
#11 – Casey Roderick – Late Models (September Rank: NR) – Roderick proved to be the strongest and most consistent at Five Flags Speedway when he captured the Blizzard Series crown for the second straight season. He followed that up by winning the Hunt for the Bear 150 at Montgomery Speedway (AL) the next day.
#12 – Raphael Lessard – Super Late Models (September Rank: NR) – Lessard continued his breakout season by winning the CARS Tour Super Late Model feature at Myrtle Beach (SC) and extending his championship lead. He also turned in an impressive third-place performance in the All American 400 and was up front battling for the lead in the Winchester 400 before being involved in a crash.
#13 – Scott Bloomquist – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (September Rank: 12) – Bloomquist just keeps on winning and extending his lead atop the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship standings. He won the Hillbilly Hundred, Jackson 100 and Rome Showdown since the last edition of the power rankings on 51.
#14 – Casey Johnson – Late Models – (September Rank: NR) – It has been an impressive end of the year for Johnson and his teams. Over the last 30 days, he clinched the Triple Crown at Madison (WI), swept a pair of Late Model features at Jefferson (WI), won the TUNDRA Super Late Model race at Jefferson, clinched the TUNDRA SLM championship, won the Big 8 Series race at Rockford (IL) and clinched Rookie of the Year honors on the ARCA Midwest Tour.
#15 – Wayne Johnson – Sprint Cars (September Rank: NR) – Johnson bested one of the best in the business, Sammy Swindell, to win the $10,000 Hockett/McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway (MO). He also won a preliminary feature the night prior.
#16 – Chris Windom – USAC (September Rank: NR) – Windom did what he needed to do, winning the final two USAC Silver Crown races of the season to steal the title from recent series dominator Kody Swanson.
#17 – Burt Myers – Tour-Type Modifieds (September Rank: 5) – Myers continued his impressive season by winning the Southern Modified Racing Series feature at Caraway. He also did what he needed to do at Charlotte (NC) to clinch the final NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship.
#18 – Travis Benjamin – PASS North (September Rank: NR) – Since suffering some tough luck in the early stages of the season, Benjamin has consistently been a threat at every track PASS North has visited. He recently picked up a win at Beech Ridge (ME) and has four straight top-five finishes.
#19 – Dalton Sargeant – Super Late Models (September Rank: NR) – It’s not very often that you see a driver make this list without winning the race, but Sargeant flexed enough muscle this past month to appeal to our panel. His strong run at the Winchester 400 came to an end after contact with Stephen Nasse in the late stages.
#20 – Noah Gragson – K&N West (September Rank: NR) – Gragson scored a trio of road course wins in K&N Pro Series action this past month. He swept the K&N West events at Utah Motorsports Complex before heading to the East Coast and winning at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
-Text by Speed51.com Staff