With the 2016 racing season continuing to heat up, we at Speed51.com powered by JEGS will be taking a look at a variety of short track racing realms in order to highlight the “things to watch for” during the 2016 season. Today, we take a look at the 2016 Super Late Model season and our Elgin Traylor makes some bold predictions about the upcoming season.
Streaks will continue: PASS South will continue its run and it will have an 11th different champion in 11 seasons down south. Championship drivers have come from many different racing back grounds. We will also see a few new faces in victory lane.
Streaks will Continue II: Streaks will also continue at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt of Stock Car racing. The streak will continue as a 15th different driver will lock up the Smyrna Speedweeks title. The smart money would be on Ty Majeski if he goes. Remember, no one expected Zane Smith a year ago.
New winner at the Winchester 400: The field should be stoked that Erik Jones should be out of the running and might not run for the Winchester 400. This could be big for those who have not tasted victory.
Pollard Finally Gets a Crown Jewel: Bubba Pollard had a fine season in 2015 with big wins out west at Kern and Evergreen. Back home he posted top-five runs in the All American 400, Winchester 400 and Snowball Derby. This is the year he finally takes one of those wins home. He already has a Rattler 250 win and he could start there.
250 & Derby Remain the Kings: This is too easy to call, but the Oxford 250 and the Snowball Derby will draw the most cars again in 2016. The events are so different and are so far apart it’s almost a shame that 20 or so guys couldn’t run both.
New Faces: Watch for guys like Cole Anderson, Tyler Antrum and Bret Holmes to step up and contend in the south region. The northeast already saw Jeremy Davis, Bryan Kruczek, and David Oliver break into victory lane. The big race went to a first time winner in Glen Luce, which was a heck of a first PASS win. In the Midwest, Nathan Haseleu’s exit from racing leaves the ARCA Midwest Tour with new blood hoping to contend with champion Ty Majeski
More Griffith: Derek Griffith enjoyed a breakout season in 2015 on his way to winning the Granite State Pro Stock Series championship. Griffith has plans to travel south to New Smyrna Speedway (FL) for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing and chase some other bigger events in 2016. Don’t be surprised if you continue to hear more of his name this year.
No Repeat for Casey Smith: The Southern Super Series is the toughest Super Late Model series in the county when it comes to chasing points. The fields are deep and top-five finishes are a tough commodity. Nine different winners in 13 races shows the parody. Smith could win three or four races, but the chances that he will be the best of the best again are rare. New winners could emerge in names like Garrett Jones, Bret Holmes and Ryan Luza, who was looking to make the switch from Pro Late Models to Super Late Models.
CARS Keeps on Strong: After a successful season in 2015 there will be more of the same in 2016. Look for Deep South regulars Kyle Grissom and Bubba Pollard to find victory lane this year. A model of consistency will lead a driver to the championship again. It’s too early to tell who that will be. There are several worthy contenders, and outside shot would be Brandon Setzer if he ends up running all the races.
A Thorn Again: SRL has been a playground for Derek Thorn. He’s won or been tied for the most wins in each of the last five seasons. He may not run for all the points as he could likely race for big shows and money like he has in the past. Regardless, the road to victory lane will go through Thorn.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo credit: Bruce Nuttleman/Speed51.com