Each year, race car drivers work hard on and off the track in order to improve their stock in the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes.  Often times, we witness drivers have career years that vault them up the draft order in the following year's draft on Speed51.com.  This year, we've decided to take a look at some of the biggest movers from the 2016 draft to the 2017 draft.

 

#1 - Casey Roderick - 24 - Pro / Super Late Models

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 5th

Casey Roderick was a man on a mission during the 2016 season and the early part of 2017.  After making the list of "Best of the Rest" one year ago, his success in the Pro and Super Late Model ranks slingshotted him all the way up to fifth in this year's draft.

 

Raphael Lessard celebrates his first career Super Late Model win in May 2016. (Speed51.com photo)

Raphael Lessard celebrates his first career Super Late Model win in May 2016. (Speed51.com photo)

#2 - Raphael Lessard - 15 - Super Late Models / ARCA

Last Year's Pick: 50th

This Year's Pick: 7th

The Canadian-born driver saw his stock rise dramatically after scoring four CARS Tour Super Late Model victories and the season championship in 2016.  Our panel recognized his success and as a result he jumped all the way from 50th to 7th, a gain of 43 spots, in this year's Short Track Draft.

 

#3 - Stephen Nasse - 21 - Super Late Models

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 16th

The saying goes, "any publicity is good publicity." By never holding back his words or emotions, Nasse has become a driver that fans don't want to miss at the race track. He's also been very consistent behind the wheel to start 2017, recording top-five finishes in eight of his 10 starts this season.  Those two things paired together have resulted in his jump from "Best of the Rest" to top 16 in this year's draft.

 

#4 - Derek Kraus - 15 - K&N West

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 17th

At just 15 years old, Derek Kraus has loads of potential. He's been competing in Super Late Models for two years now and recently made the jump to the heavier NASCAR K&N Pro Series stock cars.  With more and more experience, our voters like where the kid is headed.  After missing the top 51 last year, he jumps all the way up to 17th in the 2017 Short Track Draft.

 

Matt Craig celebrates a PASS South victory at Southern National earlier this year. (Speed51.com photo)

Matt Craig celebrates a PASS South victory at Southern National earlier this year. (Speed51.com photo)

#5 - Matt Craig - 18 - Super Late Models

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 19th

Winning will do wonders for a race car driver hoping to make it to the next level, and Matt Craig has been a winner over the past few months.  The 2016 PASS South champion used his momentum from last season to get off to a hot start with two PASS wins already in 2017.  Our panel saw those victories and his success vaulted him into the top 20 in this year's draft.

 

#6 - Chad Finley - 25 - Super Late Models / ARCA

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 21

Speaking of winning, Chad Finley recently scored the biggest win of his career when he won the ARCA race at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).  Add in a dominating performance at the Snowball Derby prior to a mechanical issue and it's no surprise that Finley's stock is the highest it's ever been.  In his final year of draft eligibility, the Michigan native jumps from "Best of the Rest" to 21st.

 

The kiss that Eckes will never forget. (Speed51.com photo)

The kiss that Eckes will never forget. (Speed51.com photo)

#7 - Christian Eckes - 16 - Super Late Models / ARCA

Last Year's Pick: 32nd

This Year's Pick: 3rd

When you win the biggest pavement short track race of the year, your stock goes up.  Simply put: Christian Eckes' victory in the 49th Annual Snowball Derby was a life changer. Not to discredit his wins at the Myrtle Beach 400 or Thanksgiving Classic, but that one night in December 2016 will be the night that has the potential to vault Eckes to the top levels in NASCAR.  And rightfully so, it was enough for him to jump from 32nd all the way to third in this year's Short Track Draft.

 

#8 - Hailie Deegan - 15 - Off-Road Racing / LM

Last Year's Pick: Undrafted

This Year's Pick: 24th

In the NFL Draft and in the Short Track Draft, the potential to be a breakout star can sometimes outweigh being a proven player.  Hailie Deegan has yet to tear up the short track racing scene, but her potential landed her in the top 25 of this year's draft.  The daughter of former X-Games medalist Brian Deegan is already a Toyota Racing Development Driver at the young age of 15.

 

Gravel has been on fire in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. (Paul Arch photo)

Gravel has been on fire in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. (Paul Arch photo)

#9 - David Gravel - 24 - Sprint Cars

Last Year's Pick: Best of the Rest

This Year's Pick: 26th

After enjoying a breakout season in the Sprint Car ranks, David Gravel won over the votes from our panel of industry experts for this year's Short Track Draft. Gravel, who didn't make the top 51, fell just shy of the top 25 but was the dirt racer who gained the most positions this year.

 

#10 - Austin Theriault - 23 - ARCA

Last Year's Pick: 33rd

This Year's Pick: 9th

A win on the big stage will do wonders for a driver.  Theriault picked up the biggest win of his career earlier this year when he won the ARCA Racing Series race at Daytona (FL).  That win and his full-time ride with Ken Schrader Racing were enough to vault him up 24 spots from last year.

 

 

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Top 10: Biggest Movers in the 2017 Short Track Draft