Like the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Short Track Bracket Challenge on Speed51.com powered by JEGS saw a handful of surprising upsets this past weekend. Some of those upset victories came down to the wire, while a few underdogs shocked the Short Track Racing world by beating the higher-seeded driver by large margins.
Out of the four regions – Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and West Coast – the West Coast played host to the biggest upsets of the weekend. Hershell McGriff, the 16th-ranked driver in the region, pulled a stunning upset defeating No. 1 Jack McCoy. With his victory, McGriff will face No. 9 Rick Carelli, who upset No. 8 Derek Thorn in the first round.
Second-seeded driver in the region Ron Eaton held his ground to move onto the next round and will be joined by No. 3 Garrett Evans, No. 4 Jim Pettit II, No. 6 Gary Lewis and No. 7 Ray Elder.
The Midwest region, which received the most votes of any on Speed51.com, saw two drivers pull upsets and move onto the Round of 32. No. 12 Gary St. Amant defeated No. 5 Steve Carlson by a small margin of 52.48% to 47.52% to move onto the next round. Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin also prevailed as an 11 seed and defeated No. 6 Larry Phillips.
Dick Trickle received a whopping 97.12% of the vote against Scott Hantz and will match up with No. 8 Butch Miller in the next round. Mike Eddy, Bob Senneker, Joe Shear and Rich Bickle also scored victories as higher seeds and will move on.
Meanwhile, in the Southeast region only one upset was recorded with Dawsonville, Georgia’s Chase Elliott (11th seed) defeating No. 6 Larry Phillips.
Jody Ridley, Bobby Gill, Gary Balough, David Rogers, Dick Anderson, Butch Lindley and Wayne Anderson all held their ground as higher seeds.
Among all regions, the Northeast racing fans agreed with the Speed51.com selection committee the most as they voted the higher seed as the winner in every matchup. But that didn’t mean the first round lacked excitement.
In the closest matchup between all four regions, Mike Stefanik edged out a narrow one-vote victory over fellow Modified driver Ted Christopher. When voting ended on Saturday afternoon, Stefanik recorded 50.51% to Christopher’s 49.49%.
The full bracket for the Short Track Bracket Challenge can be seen below.
Now that the first round of voting is complete, that means it’s time to begin Round 2 of the Short Track Bracket Challenge. The matchups have been determined and now it’s once again up to the fans to determine who moves on to the Round of 16.
Voting will continue until Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. ET. At that time, the votes will be tallied and we’ll introduce you to the final 16 drivers on Thursday afternoon.
-Text by Speed51.com staff