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, Speed51.TV and Speed51’s social media channels.
Without further ado, here’s the list for 2020:
After being indefinitely suspended by NASCAR, Kyle Larson dominated dirt tracks throughout the country in 2020. His season included one of the most impressive summers in dirt racing history, and it became more of a surprise when he didn’t win a race he was competing in.
David Rogers, a short track racing legend and fan favorite, passed away in March following complications associated with his battle with cancer. The Super Late Model racer from Orlando, Florida was 64 years old.
Two of the most notable drivers in Super Late Model racing clashed during the closing laps of Saturday’s CRA SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park. While battling for the lead with less than 15 laps remaining, Bubba Pollard and Stephen Nasse traded blows as they attempted to win the 200-lap ARCA/CRA Super Series race.
In May, Myrtle Beach Speedway unveiled an updated event schedule for the 2020 racing season. That schedule was condensed to six events for the South Carolina facility, with an August 18 event being advertised as “the last race at Myrtle Beach Speedway.”
Steve Zacharias, the General Manager at Myrtle Beach, found a new racing home at nearby Florence Motor Speedway and enjoyed a successful season that included the season-ending South Carolina 400.
Blake Morris, the son of five-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Champion Philip Morris, passed away in April. Soon after, Morris announced that he would be taking a break from racing.
The 53rd Annual Snowball Derby provided another finish that fans will remember for a long time. Ty Majeski prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with Derek Thorn in a five-lap shootout for his first win in Super Late Model racing’s biggest race.
Daugherty Speedway in Indiana planned a racing event in May despite an ongoing legal battle regarding the event. Those plans were canceled after government officials barricaded roads leading to the facility.
NASCAR Cup Series Champions Kurt and Kyle Busch came by their passion for racing honestly, as their father Tom Busch was a short track racer himself. Now, the next generation of the Busch racing family is on-track, with Kyle’s son Brexton embarking on his own racing journey.
In June, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ordered the closure of Ace Speedway, declaring the venue an imminent hazard.
Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham announced plans to launch the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), with plans to take the track in 2021. The Speed51 staff put together a list of the top 10 short track racers who should have a shot to compete with the new series.
In May, Michigan-based KBR Development announced that they were ceasing operations immediately. The team had fielded operations in both Late Models and the ARCA Menards Series, most notably for Carson Hocevar in recent years.
Longtime Florida racer Joe Boyd passed away in February after a prolonged health battle.
Speaking for the first time since his disqualification from the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL), Stephen Nasse joined Speed51’s “The Bullring” to discuss his thoughts on what unfolded at the prestigious Super Late Model race in December 2019.
He was a crew chief, a chassis man, an innovator and so much more for many in the short track world. Ray Stonkus’ reach spanned five decades, if not more in auto racing.
Stonkus passed away in March at the age of 80.
In April, when racing was shutdown throughout the country, Speed51 debuted a “Where Are They Now?” series. Former ASA National Tour and NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Johnny Benson was among the drivers we caught up with.
After 13 years of trying, Kyle Larson finally scored the biggest and most elusive win of his motorsports career, taking the checkered flag in the 34th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the River Spirit Expo Center (OK).
Fresh off his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship, Chase Elliott returned to a place where he began his path to stardom. Elliott returned to the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby in December to chase the biggest prize in pavement Super Late Model racing.
There was no lack of excitement during the Pro Late Model feature on Night #2 of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. Beginning with a thrilling three-wide battle at the drop of the green flag and ending with words being exchanged in victory lane, the 35-lap race had it all.
Shawn Balluzzo, one of the great champions in Langley Speedway history, passed away in July following an incident at the Hampton, Virginia facility. The 11-time Modified track champion was competing in the evening’s second Modified feature when he suffered a fatal incident in turn two.
Kyle Busch makes his return to Super Late Model racing in August at Wisconsin International Raceway, competing in the Gandrud Auto Group 250.
World Racing Group officials issued a pair of suspensions and fines to both Tyler Erb and Bob Pierce, following an on-track altercation in August’s World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models finale to the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway.
Lancaster Motor Speedway (SC) joined several tracks in South Carolina in postponing or cancelling their racing events in March, after Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order prohibiting events with 50 or more people statewide among other measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Over the past two years, Austin Kirkpatrick has been working to build a fast Dirt Late Model. On September 6 at Cherokee Speedway, the car he built was fast enough to lead every lap for a win with the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series.
The CARS Tour suspended Josh Berry for one race following an incident at Ace Speedway (NC) in June, in which Berry intentionally spun Bobby McCarty in the closing laps of the race. Berry shifted his focus to the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, winning the national championship for the first time in his career.
On its website and social media platforms, Showtime Speedway promoted a “COVID-119” racing event scheduled for April 25, featuring Super Late Models as well as “one-on-one” match races. However, local officials said that race would not be allowed to take place.
Ross Kenseth, the son of former NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth, ended his nearly five-year hiatus from racing in October when he competed in the Blizzard Series finale at Five Flags Speedway. Kenseth followed that up with a run in the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby in December. Prior to those two starts, we caught up with Kenseth in our “Where Are They Now?” series on Speed51.
It was a wild night under the lights at Citrus County Speedway in February as 21 Super Late Models kicked off the 2020 season at the Central Florida bullring. Anthony Sergi ended up picking up the victory at the end of the night, but it didn’t come without a little bit of drama.
Tire samples from six competitors taken during two of the first three nights of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing conformed to the benchmark, according to New Smyrna Speedway officials.
It is said every year that the Last Chance Qualifier at the Snowball Derby would create a spectacular feature race at most short tracks in America. The 2020 version of the race to get into the 53rd edition of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway made that statement even more true.
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that 15-year-old Sammy Smith would compete in a 20-plus race schedule that would see the talented teenager drive the famed No. 51 Super Late Model in a variety of events around the country this season, spanning several different series.
Popular YouTube personality Cleetus McFarland announced in January that he had purchased the former DeSoto Speedway in Bradenton, Florida, with plans to produce content and bring automobile events to the 3/8-mile venue.
Rising tensions reached a boiling point in the Pro Late Model class on Night #3 of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing under the full moon at New Smyrna Speedway. Once again, the focal point was on Jett Noland and Jamie Skinner, which ended in a destroyed race car for Noland and an early exit for Skinner.
A new driver will competed ull-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2020, equipped with a pair of proven race cars in their arsenal. Tyler Rypkema of Owego, New York, a frequent competitor on the Race of Champions (RoC) Modified Series in recent years, purchased equipment from Mike Smeriglio Racing and claimed Rookie of the Year honors.
The 47th Annual Oxford 250 came down to a pair of Maine natives, both with tremendous track records, seeking their first win in the marquee event in their home state. The night ended with Johnny Clark celebrating a hard-fought win, while Jeff Taylor was left to wonder what might have been.
Kevin Harvick made one thing clear after testing a Tour-type Modified with fellow NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece in January at Martinsville Speedway. He wouldn’t have made the three-hour drive to participate in the test if he didn’t want to race a Modified in the future.
Due to state restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home mandate issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Motor Mile Speedway announced the track would not open for the 2020 season.
John Reinke’s life will never be the same following his prominent role in the popular Netflix documentary known as “Tiger King.” But before, during and after his time working as the manager of the G.W. Zoo, one thing has remained constant: his love for short track racing.
Chandler Smith was heading to the last chance race regardless, but his path towards competing in the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby became even more difficult after his qualifying effort on Friday night. The multi-time ARCA Racing Series winner and his Donnie Wilson Motorsports No. 26 team were disqualified after his qualifying run due to a rules violation involving a cell phone.
Bob Bahre, a figurehead of racing in the Northeast best known as the founder of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, passed away in July.
Dirt Late Model racing returned in a big way to Cherokee Speedway in May. The Palmetto Invitational paid $10,000 to the winner and boasted an impressive entry list filled with some of the top Dirt Late Model racers in the country.
Carson Hocevar was a force to be reckoned with every time he showed up at the track in a Super Late Model in 2020. That continued at Winchester Speedway in October, as the Michigan driver won the 49th Running of the Winchester 400 presented by JEGS in dominant fashion.
One of the nation’s most popular short track racers teamed up with a NASCAR Cup Series driver to make his Tour-type Modified debut this February. Unfortunately, Bubba Pollard’s plans to drive Ryan Preece’s Modified during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway went up in smoke during practice day for the event.
One year ago, Casey Roderick played a major role in the finish to the All American 400. However, it wasn’t the role he wanted to play as a lapped car. In November, Roderick got his redemption and claimed the Super Late Model crown jewel victory at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Jake Johnson celebrated in victory lane after the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, but several hours passed before the New Englander could leave with the trophy due to a controversial finish.
After a decade of trying, Annabeth Barnes Crum earned her first career Late Model Stock Car win at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in June. Despite the monumental achievement, the first thought to cross her mind after taking the checkered flag was about her family.
Montana Raceway Park, the home of the Montana 200 Super Late Model race, has closed permanently according to an announcement by the track in May.
While racing was on pause earlier this year, 2019 Snowball Derby winner Travis Braden offered up a “how-to” go iRacing post on Speed51.com.
While racing was shut down during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, racers were looking for ways to pass the time. Dirt Late Model racer Rick Eckert found one such project for the job – preparing and restoring one of his father’s former race cars.
For the first time in 2020, a Super Late Model was held in the Northeast on Friday, June 5. Claremont Motorsports Park in Claremont, New Hampshire held a Granite State Pro Stock Series event without fans in attendance. The event was streamed via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.
Just months after formally announcing his retirement from racing, Ransomville, NY asphalt Modified ace Chuck Hossfeld became the latest TQ (Three Quarter) Midget entrant in the NAPA Know How Indoor Auto Racing Series events inside Atlantic City, NJ’s famed Boardwalk Hall.
Former NASCAR Cup Series winner David Reutimann was among the DIRTcar UMP Modified feature winners at Volusia Speedway Park in February.