Each year, thousands of short track racing fans make their way to Speed51.com for the latest short track racing news and information. Like every news outlet, there are stories posted on Speed51.com that are read more and receive more interaction than others. As we get ready for the ball to drop and the year 2018 to begin, we take a look back at the top 51 most viewed stories from the 2017 short track racing season.
The results below combine the reach of each story through Speed51.com, the Speed51 Video Network and Speed51.com’s social media channels.
Without further ado, here’s the list for 2017:
Cassius Clark’s King Racing team, based out of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, was stuck at the Canadian border into the State of Maine for over 70 hours as they attempted to make their way to Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) for the PASS Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown in November.
Ted Christopher, a legend of Modified racing, passed away Saturday, September 16 at the age of 59 in a plane crash in Guilford, Connecticut. Christopher was en route to Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway for a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.
Speed51.com’s Bob Dillner delivered a fitting tribute to TC on the following week’s episode of Short Track Center.
Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont opened its 58th season of racing on April 30 under new ownership. Long-time track owners Ken Squier and Tom Curley sold the track to former racer Cris Michaud and local businessman Patrick Malone for an undisclosed amount.
Although there was a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series championship up for grabs in the weeks leading into the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, a victory in the prestigious race was near the top of Kyle Busch’s bucket list. After a few small tweaks to his No. 51, a winning car was born, allowing the 2009 race winner to capitalize late and earn the coveted Tom Dawson Trophy.
An increase of penalties was issued to the No. 11 Late Model Stock Car owned and driven by Jeff Oakley following post-race disqualification from the duel races held at Dominion Raceway on March 25. Ultimately, Oakley was suspended from the tour indefinitely for keeping his engine and not allowing CARS Tour officials to confiscate the allegedly illegal parts.
Prior to the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN), Bubba Wallace, Jr. said that he was just “going to get out of the regular guys’ way.” However, when the green flag waved at the Last Great Colosseum it was the regulars getting out of Wallace’s way on his way to winning the 100-lap Super Late Model feature.
New Smyrna Speedway handed down penalties to Carter Stokes and the No. 33 Pro Late Model team as a result of an altercation in Victory Lane following the Zack Donatti Memorial race.
Stokes and the Racecar Solutions team were suspended two races (April 1 and April 15), fined $1,000 and placed on indefinite probation. The penalties came after the team confronted and caused injury to race winner Casey Roderick in victory lane.
The celebration didn’t last long for the Kyle Busch Motorsports team at Wisconsin International Raceway. Just minutes after celebrating his second career win in the Dixieland 250, Busch was informed by ARCA Midwest Tour officials that his car was disqualified for not meeting post-race minimum weight requirements.
As a result of Busch’s disqualification, second-place finisher Casey Johnson was awarded the victory.
Big-Block Modified racing has big tires, big cars and big personalities. When those big tires, big cars and big personalities clash, the result is typically, well, big. That’s what happened in the Super DIRTcar Series feature at New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway in July when Matt Sheppard and Larry Wight collided.
A video of the incident can be viewed by clicking here.
When Mark Martin climbed out of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet at the end of 400 miles at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November of 2013, that appeared to be the last race for the legendary driver. Until this past July, Martin hadn’t strapped in behind the wheel of a race car since that race.
That all changed when Martin entered the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Ty Majeski was forced to wait one more night to record his first Super Late Model victory at the 51stAnnual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Majeski, who crossed the finish line first during the 75-lap Super Late Model race Tuesday night at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for a fuel safety valve infraction. Stephen Nasse, the third-place finisher, was disqualified for the same infraction.
NASCAR officials announced in April that they had terminated the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanction and canceled the July 22 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour date at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT).
A Sprint Car crash at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida sent three participants in the pit area to the hospital during the DIRTcar Nationals in February.
One of the most successful drivers in the history of open-wheel racing in the state of Florida died in a Sprint Car crash at Desoto Speedway in Bradenton, Florida. Dave Steele, 42, was competing in a Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series race at the 3/8-mile oval when the accident resulting in his death occurred.
Wisconsin’s Johnny Sauter entered the 50th Annual Snowball Derby weekend as one of the favorites, even though it was his first attempt in the prestigious event. Unfortunately, before Thursday practice reached lunch break, his team was forced to pack things up following multiple on-track issues that culminated with a hard crash in turn four.
Sauter spoke about the crash in this one-on-one interview on the Speed51 Network.
Construction and renovations of the long-dormant Hinchliffe Stadium in New Jersey are underway. Promoters of the speedway hope that racing will soon resume at the historic facility.
A quintuplet of short tracks in the Midwest region came together to form a new Outlaw Super Late Model touring series. Berlin Raceway (MI), Flat Rock Speedway (MI), Toledo Speedway (OH), New Paris Speedway (IN) and Kalamazoo Speedway (MI) joined forces to create the Sweet Manufacturing Outlaw Super Late Model Series.
Before a single car had hit the track at the 6th Annual Summer Showdown there was already a bit of drama building in the pit area. Fresh off a one-two finish at the Montana 200, brothers Owen and Tayler Riddle had failed pre-practice technical inspection and left the race track. Shortly after, Pete and Shane Harding had left as well and Chris Davidson had been sent back to the pits to adjust the rear overhang on his No. 14 machine.
Just a few days into the New Year, Mansfield Motor Speedway announced that it would be transforming the .44-mile Ohio oval into a full-blown dirt racing track and would host some of the biggest short track events across the country.
Speed51.com’s Rob Blount explains why NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Busch is great for the sport of short track racing.
Jackie Ward passed away following an incident at Myrtle Beach Speedway (S.C.) in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series Challenger division on Friday, November 10. Ward was involved in a two-car incident on the third lap of the 50-lap race.
Not even the most crazed special effects artists could have pictured the scene in turn one at Evergreen Speedway in Washington State back in August.
On lap 28 of a 75-lap Super Late Model feature, a massive firestorm consumed a portion of the track, including three of the speedway’s finest competitors. Thankfully the flames died down after a few seconds and out of the smoke Trenton Moriarty, Tyler Tanner and Jeff Knight all walked away with just minor injuries.
Former NASCAR Busch North Series champion Kelly Moore, the owner of the trucking company R.C. Moore, received a call that no business owner ever wants to receive.
Shortly after 8 p.m., Moore received a call informing him that trucks were on fire at two of his company’s locations in the state of Maine. By the time he arrived at one of the locations in Poland, the fires were out and the damage had been done.
Indoor dirt track auto racing made its way to the Northeast in December of 2017.
Len Sammons Motorsports Productions offered two days of Indoor Auto Racing on a dirt oval inside the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J., on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2.
Cole Williams of Sellersburg, Indiana put himself in the right place at the right time all night long to win the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model feature during the Short Track U.S. Nationals. Williams took advantage when front-runners Dillon Olliver and Eddie Fatscher collided on lap 47.
Kyle Busch can’t get enough of short track racing. One week after entering the Dixieland 250 in Wisconsin, Busch pulled double duty at Kalamazoo Speedway. The former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion competed in both the ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model portion and the Outlaw Super Late Model feature.
Ty Majeski unclipped his window net and pulled himself up into his signature iRacing stance at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). The Seymour, WI driver had just won the 52nd Annual Governor’s Cup 200, but before celebrations could go any further, the 23-year-old had to take a phone call.
The next chapter of Joe Gibbs Racing may be right in the front of our eyes. In February, Ty Gibbs – the 14-year-old grandson of NASCAR car owner Joe Gibbs – scored his first career Late Model victory.
On March 23, officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced the seven drivers who would represent the organization during the 2017 racing season. The seven drivers hailed from five different states and Canada and ranged in age from 17 to 25.
Harrison Burton scored the biggest Late Model victory of his young career in January at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia. The 16-year-old put on a dominating performance against a stout field of Super Late Model drivers to win the 200-lap ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of SpeedFest 2017
On top of many race victories on Bubba Pollard’s list of accomplishments, the Senoia, Georgia native can now add “Slinger Nationals Champion” to his growing resume. It wasn’t easy, though. Pollard spun after contact with Ty Majeski while battling for the race lead. However, Majeski tapped his hood, accepting fault for the incident. That meant that Majeski would go to the rear of the field, while Pollard would have his spot back.
Following retirement from the National Football League (NFL), professional football players go in many different directions. They become analysts on television networks, coaches on the sidelines and entrepreneurs. Shawne Merriman, a former NFL Pro Bowl Linebacker, has chosen to take the entrepreneurial route and his latest adventure will see him serving as a car owner for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race team.
A new team is entering the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East ranks for the 2018 season, but with a driver that is familiar to many in Stock Car racing. John Visconti, a former owner on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour from Long Island, has formed an alliance with Tommy Baldwin to run a partial season with Brandon McReynolds behind the wheel.
All year long, Bubba Pollard read the articles, saw the videos and scrolled through pages of social media posts of how dominant a year Casey Roderick was having against Pro Late Model competition. Roderick’s 18 wins lit a fire under Pollard and motivated him to show he still was the king of Deep South Late Model racing.
After a convincing win in the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100, Pollard showed the world that Five Flags Speedway is still his playground.
The man known as “Mr. Freeze” was contending for the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on pavement in 2017. But as if that wasn’t already big enough, Friesen and his Halmar Friesen Racing team were also helping develop a brand-new Big-Block Dirt Modified chassis.
Derek Thorn had been searching for a crown jewel Super Late Model win for a long time. In February, in his home state of California, Thorn scored that elusive win in dominating fashion during the 3rdAnnual SRL Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park.
While some racers were seeking their way out to warmer parts of the country to get their racing fix, there were a brave few who battled it out on the snow-covered track of Speedway 51 (NH) last January.
Sealed Engine Alliance Leaders (S.E.A.L.) announced in January, a change in rules regarding the Chevrolet 604 crate engine. In the last year, the Ford packages received an upgrade in the ring/piston package that was necessary due to a supplier’s discontinued part. As a result of the change, there was a measured increase in performance. To aid in a return to parity, and following extensive research, teams were allowed a cam change in the Chevrolet 604.
In October, news broke of the creation of yet another Tour-type Modified racing series that is aimed at entering the New England market in the 2018 season. It was reported that engine builder and former racing official Bobby Carrita, along with officials from American Racer, are preparing to launch the American Modified Series in the region next season.
All good things at one time or another must come to an end, and that is true for even the most dynamic combinations in the history of motorsports. In July, one of those great chapters reached its end as NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Andy Seuss and longtime car owner Eddie Harvey announced that they mutually decided to part ways, effective immediately.
It should be noted that the driver/owner combination joined forces for the North/South Shootout later in the year.
A chassis built in 2002 turned the fastest lap during a New England Short Track Showdown open test for the Granite State Pro Stock Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Dillon Moltz, driving Zig Geno’s No. 57, jolted to the top of the speed chart in the seventh session of the day with a 29.778-second lap around the “Magic Mile.”
On June 10, 10 drivers had the opportunity to run in a 10-lap race at Baer Field Motorsports Park (IN) where $10,000 was up for grabs for the winner.
A new Super Late Model event will be held in 2018 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The race, named the Speed51 Super Select, will be held on Saturday, September 8 during Brickyard 400 Weekend. It will be a winner-take-all invitational race and will pay the winner up to $10,000.
During the final weekend of October, the World Short Track Championship took over The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Throughout the weekend, there was plenty of exciting racing action, but it was an incident between Kyle Strickler and David Stremme in the DIRTcar UMP Modified All-Star Invitational that left people talking.
Video of the incident can be found by clicking here.
There’s a new can’t-miss event that Modified fans will want to add to their calendar for 2018. On September 22, New Hampshire Motor Speedway General Manager Dave McGrath announced the addition of a 250-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race to be held September 21-22, 2018.
In August, Ryan Preece lived out a dream he’s had since he was six years old. His dream has been to race and win at NASCAR’s highest levels. Preece, in dominating fashion, accomplished that goal by winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Shortly after, Preece was back at work in his shop getting his hands dirty while preparing his No. 6 Modified for Friday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.
The Champion Racing Association (CRA) Street Stocks and VORES Compact Touring Series Compacts took to Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) for their features at the Short Track U.S. Nationals and they didn’t disappoint.
The latest edition of the Granite State Pro Stock Series produced great thrills and spills this past Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH). Todd Stone scored his first career victory, but a vicious crash involving the leaders during the middle portion of the race had everyone talking.
Video of the crash can be seen by clicking here.
Matt Craig scored his second consecutive Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South victory in March at Orange County Speedway (NC), but it didn’t come without controversy. Craig made hard contact with leader Preston Peltier during the final laps of the Orange Blossom Special before nursing his beaten-up No. 54 to the checkered flag.
Speed51.com Editor Brandon Paul took some time to write about why he believes it’s important to give racing fans what they pay for before it’s too late.
Junior Miller has long been known as the “King of the Modifieds” in the southeastern region of the United States. In August at Bowman Gray Stadium (NC), it appeared that his reign was coming to an end, or so it seemed. The King won his 74th race at the Madhouse and announced he was retiring in victory lane.
A few days later, the 66-year-old Miller announced he had changed his mind and was already returning from his short retirement.
-Text by Speed51.com Staff
-Photo credit: Michele Martin