Editor’s Note: The Speed51 Short Track Draft ranks the top prospects in short track rankings in the eyes of more than 100 industry experts who take part in the voting process. The following Top 10 ranking includes the opinions of Speed51 Correspondent Koty Geyer, and in no way reflects potential voting results or the ultimate outcome in the 2020 Short Track Draft.
As we continue our countdown to the 2020 Speed51 Short Track Draft, we take a look at the Top 10 dirt prospects. This group of racers covers both the full-fendered and open-wheel worlds, with representation from across the country.
Keep in mind that not all racers are eligible for the Short Track Draft. Drivers must be under the age of 25 as of April 1, 2020. Additionally, if they lose their rookie status in any of NASCAR’s top-three series by the end of the 2020 season, or if a driver plans to compete in more than seven races in any of NASCAR’s top-three touring series during the 2020 season, they are also ineligible for the Short Track Draft.
Here are the Top 10 dirt prospects for this year’s Short Track Draft.
#1) Bobby Pierce (Dirt LM) – Last year’s number two overall pick scored another 18 wins in 2019 after what some considered to be an “off year” in 2018 (which still saw him score wins in the Jackson 100, Pittsburgher, and Gateway Dirt Nationals). The “Smooth Operator” can score a fourth consecutive top five pick in the Short Track Draft, with the number one overall pick not out of the question.
#2) Tyler Courtney (USAC) – If 15 wins and a USAC National Sprint Car championship in 2018 weren’t good enough, “Sunshine” topped it in 2019 with 21 wins across all three USAC National series and New Zealand with a USAC Midget title and Sprint Car runner-up to go along with it. The 2020 season will see Courtney defend his Midget title while racing across USAC and making the moved to Winged Sprints for select starts with Clauson-Marshall Racing.
#3) Logan Seavey (USAC) – The 2018 USAC National Midget champion scored 19 wins one year ago between Midgets and Winged/Non-Winged Sprint Cars, with 12 of them coming in the POWRi National Midget League. Last year’s number five overall pick is making the move to the USAC National Sprint Car series full-time with Reinbold/Underwood, the team CJ Leary took to the series title in 2019.
#4) Tyler Erb (Dirt LM) – “Terbo” took over the Best Performance Motorsports No. 1 that Josh Richards had piloted to the 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title for the 2019 season, winning six races and finishing fourth in series points while earning the Rookie of the Year title. Erb already has one win this year, coming with the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series at Boothill Speedway (LA) in March.
#5) Giovanni Scelzi (Sprint Cars/Stock Cars) – Scelzi scored wins in both the World of Outlaws and All-Star Circuit of Champions one year ago, while adding his first career USAC National Midget win at Placerville Speedway in November. He is also gaining pavement experience with Bill McAnally Racing in the ARCA Menards Series West, already having scored Late Model wins at Irwindale Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway.
#6) Hudson O’Neal (Dirt LM) – O’Neal scored the biggest win of his career last September at his home track when he won the Jackson 100 at Brownstown Speedway, one of four Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series wins in 2019. “The New Deal” is tackling the 2020 season in the MasterSbilt House Car, a team his father Don drove for from 2009-2013.
#7) Zeb Wise (Midgets, Sprint Cars) – The Angola, Indiana driver won three USAC National Midget races in 2019, which included the BC 39 for the namesake’s team Clauson-Marshall Racing. Wise made his Winged Sprint Car debut one year ago and will chase after the All-Star Circuit of Champions title in 2020 for Sam McGhee while adding a partial USAC Midget schedule for powerhouse team Keith Kunz Motorsports.
#8) Caden Kvapil (Outlaw Karts) – The youngest son of former NASCAR Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil became the first driver in Millbridge Speedway history to win in all four divisions when he won his first Open feature. He went on to score multiple wins at both Millbridge and Thunder Hill Speedway (WI). Older brother Carson recently tested a Pro Late Model for Caden, so we could see the 13-year-old make the jump to pavement Late Models like his brother did.
#9) CJ Leary (USAC) – Leary joined the new-formed Reinbold/Underwood Racing team last season, and all he did was win the USAC National Sprint Car championship with two wins and 24 top-fives while finishing outside the top ten just twice all year. After cracking the top-51 for the first time last year, the 2020 version of the Short Track Draft could see him soar in the draft picks.
#10) Demetrios Drellos (Big-Block Mods) – Drellos shocked the Big-Block Modified world when he won his first Super DIRTcar Series race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway against some of the top dogs in the discipline. “The Greek Streak” opened up the 2020 season with two top-10s during the Super DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
Who will be the number-one pick in this year’s Short Track Draft. Find out on Thursday, April 30 during the first-ever Short Track Draft Selection Show at 7 p.m. Eastern.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Neil Cavanah