Each year, thousands of short track racing fans make their way to Speed51 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. With a new year now upon us, we take a look back at the top 51 most viewed stories from the 2019 short track racing season.
The results below combine the reach of each story through Speed51.com, the Speed51 Video Network and Speed51’s social media channels.
Without further ado, here’s the list for 2019:
Travis Braden inherited the win in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club after Stephen Nasse failed post-race inspection at Five Flags Speedway (FL).
The driver that crossed the finish line first during the North-South Shootout Tour-type Modified race at Hickory Motor Speedway was not declared the official winner. Following analysis of the top-three finishers’ right rear tires, initial winner Burt Myers was disqualified and admitted fault.
In February, Speed51 reported that Florida racing legend David Rogers had been diagnosed with lymphoma. Nine months later, the “Gentle Giant” had won his battle with cancer and made history by taking the green flag in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
A big piece of American short track racing history will be revived in 2020. After inactivity for more than five years, engines will once again roar to life at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA) on May 16-17, 2020 for a Super Late Model event featuring the Southern Super Series and CARS Tour.
The final four transfers into the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club seemed all but decided at the end of the Last Chance Qualifier Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway. Then everything went sideways for Rich Bickle and Harrison Burton.
A Dirt Late Model racer from North Carolina racer passed away following an incident at 311 Motor Speedway (NC). According to a track Facebook post, Keith Jacobs, a local favorite commonly referred to as the “Indian Outlaw,” lost his life while competing in a 604 Late Model event at the Pine Hall, North Carolina track.
After a one-year hiatus to focus on other endeavors in racing, DGR-Crosley Racing returned to the Snowball Derby. After having Raphael Lessard, Todd Gilliland, and Chase Purdy compete for the team in the Derby and Snowflake 100 in the past, team owner David Gilliland climbed behind the wheel to make his debut in the biggest short track race in the country.
Competition Director and Technical Inspector Ricky Brooks announced in November that he would be leaving his position at New Smyrna Speedway, effective immediately. In an email sent to drivers, Brooks cited “current management and ownership status” as the reason for his departure from the speedway.
Two winners on Thursday night at the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club at Five Flags Speedway (FL) saw their victories overturned during technical inspection, with four drivers disqualified in two classes on the evening.
A North Carolina race track will be coming back to life in 2020. Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina has been purchased by a new ownership group, TriCo Entertainment, LLC., with plans to race during the 2020 season at the 4/10-mile pavement oval.
When JR Motorsports arrived at Martinsville Speedway (VA) for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on October 4-5, they showed up with one of the best Late Model Stock racers in the region alongside arguably the best Super Late Model driver in the country.
Two-time Daytona 500 Champion and current NASCAR on Fox broadcaster Michael Waltrip climbed back behind the wheel of a race car to compete with the Vore’s Compact Touring Series at Shadybowl Speedway in Degraff, Ohio on Saturday, July 20.
One of the most infamous cars in short track racing history was Gary Balough’s “Batmobile,” which won Super DIRT Week in 1980. The car roared to life again during an exhibition during Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway (NY) on October 25-27.
Beginning in 2020, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock teams will be allowed to utilize the new Late Model bodies designed by Five Star Race Car Bodies and ARBodies. Racers reacted to the big news following the announcement in September.
Baer Field Motorsports Park promoter Dave Muzzillo announced in December that the Fort Wayne, Indiana multipurpose racing facility would not be operating in 2020 following the end of the facility’s lease by the property owners.
It seems that even in racing, one of life’s oldest proverbs rings true: all good things must come to an end. One of short track racing’s most successful duos— Casey Roderick and Ronnie Sanders Racing— parted ways in September after three years of collaboration.
A Street Stock racer from South Carolina was placed in ICU after suffering third-degree burns during an incident at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) Saturday, June 1. The incident took place during the Mid-Atlantic Street Stock 50-lap feature event at the half-mile oval. Seven drivers were involved in the incident, which led to a substantial fire on the backstretch.
Kyle Busch added another title in his long-displayed devotion to short track racing. Justin Oertel, who purchased Hamke Race Cars last year, and Busch have combined forces to build Late Models and Stock Car chassis’ under the brand of Rowdy Manufacturing, a product Kyle created several years ago.
Following Stephen Nasse’s disqualification at the Snowball Derby, many opinions and comments were made about what may or may not have led to Nasse being disqualified in post-race technical inspection. In an exclusive interview with Speed51, Chief Technical Inspector Ricky Brooks explained and clarified the technical inspection process that led to Nasse being disqualified for having titanium in the brake system.
An underdog story played out on a massive stage Saturday night at The Dome at America’s Center (MO), as Tyler Carpenter held off some of the toughest Dirt Late Model competition before winning the race in a photo finish with Brandon Sheppard for an emotional triumph.
Tempers flared at Bowman Gray Stadium in July, with Modified drivers Jason Myers and Jonathan Brown coming together on-track before getting into a demolition derby with their Modified race cars. Myers spoke to Speed51 about his role in the viral incident between the two drivers.
Mike Stefanik, a short track racing legend, was killed in a plane crash in Connecticut on Sunday, September 15. Stefanik, a seven-time champion in NASCAR’s premier Modified series, was 61 years old.
Shannon Babb knocked the wall down, quite literally, on his way to setting fast time in Dirt Late Model qualifying for the 4th Annual Arizona Sport Shirts Gateway Dirt Nationals Thursday night at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.
CARS Tour officials suspended Super Late Model driver Bubba Pollard five races and fined him the amount of his third-place winnings ($1,500) for his role in a post-race altercation with Matt Craig’s team at Hickory Motor Speedway.
The most prestigious asphalt Super Late Model race in America made a big change to save racers money in 2019. Five Flags Speedway officials announced that the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby would be contested using the controlled cautions format used by many other Super Late Model races in North America.
One of the premier Modified events in the country moved to a new venue in 2019. Promoters of the North South Shootout informed Speed51.com in January that the event would be changing venues from Concord Speedway (NC) to the historical Hickory Motor Speedway (NC).
NASCAR penalized Jonathan Brown and Jason Myers for their roles in an incident at Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) on Saturday, July 27, levying fines and suspensions for both drivers.
While a late caution set up a thrilling finish, in which Connor Okrzesik held off Kyle Busch for his first career Super Late Model win, another duel between Late Model standouts led to a post-race argument at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA) in the CRA SpeedFest Super Late Model 200.
A protest was filed by Bubba Pollard following the Show Me the Money Series race at Montgomery Motor Speedway on June 16. Pollard, who finished second in the race, protested the ignition box on the race-winning No. 81 Anthony Campi Racing Pro Late Model driven by Colby Howard. One week later, track officials announced the results of the protest.
Veteran INEX Legend Race Car driver Silas Hiscock Sr. of Bridgehampton succumbed to injuries he suffered during practice day at Riverhead Raceway. Hiscock, 78, impacted the fourth turn wall heavily during one of the Legend Race Car test sessions.
As temperatures reached into the 90’s, it was a hot Saturday both on and off the track at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. The night reached its boiling point during the Pro Late Model race when an on-track incident between the leaders led to a physical confrontation between one driver and a track official.
New Smyrna Speedway officials announced that two disqualifications in the Pro Late Model 50-lap race during the Florida Governor’s Cup had been reversed.
East Carolina Motor Speedway announced on its website it will not operate in 2020, barring a lease or sale of the Robersonville, North Carolina facility.
After sitting dormant for nearly a decade, officials from the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) and Lanier Raceplex announced that asphalt stock car racing would return to North Georgia in November. The PASS Super Late Models headlined the PASS National Championship season finale on November 15-16 at the track formerly known as Lanier National Speedway.
A dramatic last lap involving a pair of contenders and a lapped car decided the winner of the 35th All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). At the end of the night, it was local driver Mason Mingus scoring a surprise victory while a pair of contenders exited their cars upset.
Stephen Nasse has been chasing a crown jewel win for the entirety of his Super Late Model career. On October 13 at Winchester Speedway (IN), Nasse claimed that elusive win and left no doubt that he deserved it.
Hailie Deegan has been breaking barriers and setting records in stock car racing since joining the ranks of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2018. In her past two seasons behind the wheel of Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 Toyota Camry, the 18-year-old from Temecula, California has established a significant list of accomplishments and garnered plenty of attention in the industry.
“Brewster Baker” picked up a massive win in September, claiming the World 100 at Eldora Speedway (OH). In reality, Jonathan Davenport carried a brand-new wrap sporting the colors of Kenny Rogers’ character in the racing film “Six Pack,” to his third World 100 triumph, worth $52,000.
With two laps to go in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club, Ty Majeski appeared destined to win the event. However, a late-race restart turned to calamity for the Wisconsin driver, leaving him questioning restart procedures for the marquee event.
A passionate conversation unfolded after the drivers’ meeting for Champion Racing Association (CRA) SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia, with drivers and series officials discussing the future direction of Late Model racing.
A trio of high-profile short track racing events will be held at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 2020. Track Enterprises and Promoter Bob Sargent will promote the three events, including the prestigious All American 400 Weekend. Overall, 10 events are currently scheduled to be held at the track during the year.
The 2019 edition of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series’ Haunted Hundred saw a level of chaos one would expect to see at any season finale, plus a little bit more. Matt Hirschman crossed the line first, but Chase Dowling was awarded the victory after officials disqualified Hirschman for his last-corner contact with Ron Silk.
On a hot summer night in Indiana, Johnny VanDoorn was challenged by his competitors and the scorching heat during the closing laps of the 53rd Annual Redbud 400. But nothing was going to stop him from reaching victory lane at Anderson Speedway. The Coopersville, Michigan driver battled through the pain and outlasted all challengers to win his third career Redbud, and his first since the race returned to its traditional 400-lap distance.
Connor Okrzesik scored a breakthrough win, taking the checkered flag and shocking a star-studded field of Super Late Model drivers in the ARCA/CRA Super Series 200-lap feature to close out CRA SpeedFest 2019 at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA).
When Reid Lanpher pulled into victory lane at Oxford Plains Speedway on October 19, very few people realized that it would be one of his final races behind the wheel of a race car. Only Lanpher and a few of his closest supporters knew that the 21-year-old driver planned to step away from racing one week later.
There was no denying Josh Berry at Martinsville Speedway (VA) during the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. The JR Motorsports driver turned in one of the most dominating performances in the race’s history on his way to adding an elusive victory to his resume.
Ricky Brooks, chief technical inspector for the Southern Super Series, responded to criticism surrounding the Sealed Engine Alliance Leaders’ (S.E.A.L.) decision to place a 1.350” restrictor plate on Hamner sealed engines, effective for the Rattler 250 in March. In April, a resolution was reached between Hamner and S.E.A.L.
Stephen Nasse rallied from an early issue to pick up a clutch win in the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN), passing Casey Roderick for the lead on lap 96 to claim the famed sword.
Prior to July 10, Matt Kenseth had not been behind the wheel of a race car for a competitive stock car race since November’s NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In his return to competitive racing, Kenseth showed no signs of rust. The 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion passed Ty Majeski on the final lap to win the 40th Annual Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway in his home state of Wisconsin.
More than 100 drivers showed up at Virginia Motor Speedway to compete for the richest prize in Dirt Pro Late Model racing, the 2019 FASTRAK World Championship. At night’s end, Brandon Overton returned to victory lane at the Jamaica, Virginia half-mile, claiming the $50,000 prize.
Over the last 365 days, Bobby Therrien has been hearing the same old story about how close he came to winning Vermont Milk Bowl one year ago; how he was the overall leader coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap but lost the race by the finish line. But no longer will “The Bad Boy” have to be reminded of his defeat in 2018, because now – finally – Bobby Therrien is a Milk Bowl winner at Thunder Road.