A panel of industry experts from all four corners of the country and Canada have voted on their choices for the ninth 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 – Matt Sheppard – Dirt Modifieds (August Rank: 5) – Since building a brand new race car following a flip at Canandaigua Motorsports Park (NY), “Super Matt” Sheppard has been a man on a mission. In fact, he hasn’t lost since the car made its debut on September 1 at Lebanon Valley Speedway (NY). Sheppard has scored a total of seven wins since August 1 including four Super DIRTcar Series wins, a Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series win at Utica-Rome Speedway (NY) and weekly Big-Block Modified wins at both Canandaigua and Utiica-Rome.
#2 – Wayne Helliwell, Jr. – PASS/ACT (August Rank: NR) – It’s amazing how much one win can do for a driver’s career. Helliwell proved that in August by winning the crown jewel Super Late Model race in the Northeast, the Oxford 250. “The Punisher” and his team collected a check for $29,500 after winning a late-race battle with two-time race winner Travis Benjamin. It may have only been one win, but his Oxford 250 showed a lot of power according to our panel on Speed51.com.
#3 – Ty Majeski – Super Late Models (August Rank: 1) – Majeski made a lot of noise this past month by jumping from 10th to third in the battle for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship. He picked up three wins at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway (WI) and one win at Madison International Speedway (WI) this past month. Majeski also visited Victory Lane in the ARCA Midwest Tour race at Marshfield Motor Speedway (WI).
#4 – Bobby Pierce – Dirt Late Models (August Rank: 7) – “The Smooth Operator” makes his way back up the power rankings after falling in August. Although he scored less wins during the past month, he scored the biggest one of them all in Dirt Late Model competition. Pierce picked up the biggest win of his career and a $49,000 paycheck by winning the World 100 at Eldora Speedway (OH). If $49,000 isn’t power, what is?
#5 – Burt Myers – Tour-Type Modifieds (August Rank: NR) – Myers has been flexing plenty of muscle in the Southern Modified ranks over the last month. He kicked it off by winning in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour’s visit to Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) and followed that up with his seventh career championship at “The Madhouse.” Add in a Southern Modified Racing Series win at Caraway Speedway (NC) and Myers has been on quite a roll as of late.
#6 – Matt Bowling – Late Model Stock Cars (August Rank: 17) – As Bowling closes in on the 2016 NWAAS national title, he also climbs up the power rankings on Speed51.com. The Virginia racer embarked on one of the busiest schedules in racing the past month, picking up wins at Dominion Raceway (VA), East Carolina Motor Speedway (NC), South Boston Speedway (VA) and Southern National Motorsports Park (NC).
#7 – Keith Rocco – SK Modifieds (August Rank: 8) – Rocco closed the gap to just one point between himself and NWAAS national points leader Bowling over the last month. “Kid Roc” piled up wins at all three Connecticut tracks — Stafford, Thompson and Waterford — to bring his season total to 13. In addition, Rocco recorded three Late Model wins at Waterford.
#8 – Justin Bonsignore – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (August Rank: NR) – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has seen four different winners since the last edition of 51’s power rankings, but only Bonsignore recorded more than one win during that time. Bonsignore kicked off the month by winning the Bud 150 at Thompson before picking up a win at his home track of Riverhead Raceway (NY) two weeks later.
#9 – Donny Schatz – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars (August Rank: NR) – Schatz rolled off four straight World of Outlaws victories to end the month of August, bringing his season total to 21 wins. Schatz appears to be well on his way to yet another World of Outlaws championship.
#10 – Cody Coughlin – CRA/JEGS Tour (August Rank: 13) – Coughlin continued his march towards 2016 championships in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour this past month. His biggest feat came during the World Stock Car Festival at Winchester Speedway (IN) when he won the 100-lap Super Late Model race.
#11 – Josh Richards – World of Outlaws Late Models (August Rank: 4) – Richards continues to make the World of Outlaws Late Model Series his personal playground. He picked up six wins during the month of August to bring his 2016 total to 17.
#12 – Scott Bloomquist – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (August Rank: 16) – “Bloomer” climbs up in the power rankings after winning four Lucas Oil LM Dirt Series wins since the beginning of August.
#13 – Donnie Wilson – Southern Super Series (August Rank: NR) – With one race remaining on the Southern Super Series schedule, Wilson locked up the $10,000 championship with a stellar victory in the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
#14 – Todd Gilliland – NASCAR K&N Pro Series – (August Rank: 2) – Gilliland drops in this edition of the power rankings after recording just one win during the month of August. In addition to his victory at Evergreen Speedway (WA), he also scored a pair of runner-up finishes on the road course at the Utah Motorsports Campus.
#15 – Derek Kraus – Super Late Models (August Rank: NR) – Kraus made history this past month at Dells Raceway Park (WI) by becoming the youngest winner in ARCA Midwest Tour history. He also won the Larry Detjens Memorial at State Park Speedway (WI).
#16 – Josh Berry – Late Model Stock Cars (August Rank: NR) – Berry jumps into this month’s power rankings after recording a CARS Tour Late Model Stock win at Concord Speedway (NC) and a Late Model Stock win at Caraway Speedway (NC).
#17 – Jeff Choquette – Pro Late Models (August Rank: NR) – Choquette swept the Pro Late Model twin 50s at Five Flags Speedway (FL) in dominating fashion.
#18 – Patrick Emerling – RoC Modifieds (August Rank: 15) – Emerling continues to shine on the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour. He picked up his fifth and sixth wins of the season this past month at Lancaster National Speedway (NY) and Chemung Speedrome (NY).
#19 – Trevor Huddleston – Late Models (August Rank: NR) – Huddleston recorded a pair of Late Model wins on the West Coast to stay in the top five in NWAAS national points. His biggest victory came during a trip to Tucson Speedway (AZ), but he also recorded one win at his home track of Irwindale.
#20 – Ricky Thornton, Jr. – IMCA Modifieds (August Rank: NR) – Competing in the toughest IMCA-style Modified race of the year, the IMCA Super Nationals, Thornton went from 30th to first to win his qualifying A-Main. From there he went on to win the IMCA Super Nationals championship later that night.
-Text by Speed51.com Staff