Upsets Galore in First Round of Short Track Madness

The first round of the Speed51 “Short Track Madness” tournament saw its share of upsets, but just how many were there?


Out of the 32 matchups in the first round, the lower seed won nearly half of them, with 13 coming from drivers who were a double-digit seed. Compare that to the NCAA Tournament record, where ten double-digit seeds won in the opening round in 2016.


The biggest upset of the opening round saw #15 Tyler Roahrig knock off #2 Tyler Courtney in a Hoosier State battle, 53.1% to 46.9%. He now faces another double-digit upset winner in #10 Casey Johnson with a shot at the “Speed 16” on the line.


Just as the second seed, the third seed in the Heartland region also went down in the first round as defending ARCA Menards Series East champion Sam Mayer fell short against Michigan Late Model mainstay Brian Campbell, 57.1% to 42.9%. Campbell now faces a tall task ahead of him as he takes on #6 Ty Majeski in the second round.


We stay in the Heartland region for a second-round matchup between double-digit seeds. Defending Snowball Derby champion #12 Travis Braden moves on after defeating #5 Brian Shirley, while Michigan Modified ace #13 Travis Eddy took down #4 Aaron Reutzel in another shocking upset.


The West/Canada region saw two double-digit seeds move on to the second round, starting with #12 Tanner Thorson bouncing #5 Michael Self out of the tournament. He has a second-round dance with fellow USAC champion #4 Brady Bacon, who mounted a comeback late to deny #13 Cole Butcher the upset.


With five USAC Silver Crown titles, the series’ all-time wins mark, and three Little 500’s in five tries to his record, some may have thought #10 Kody Swanson was seeded too low. He made his case to prove those people right by knocking off #7 Hailie Deegan in the opening round, setting up a matchup with Snowflake 100 winner and two-time ARCA West champion Derek Thorn in round two.


The north region with see a double-digit seed matchup in the second round, with Knoxville Nationals champion #11 David Gravel taking on multi-time PASS North champion #14 DJ Shaw after knocking off #6 Matt Hirschman and #3 Erick Rudolph, respectively.


Three-time Oxford 250 winner #12 Travis Benjamin made his case that he may be underrated going into the tournament by knocking off #5 Mat Williamson. He will now take on #4 Doug Coby in round two. Meanwhile, #10 Stewart Friesen made a late rally to get by #7 Derek Griffith to move on to a matchup against #2 Tim McCreadie.


While the south region didn’t see too many surprises in the opening round, there was one that stuck out from the entire field. UMP Modified stalwart #12 Kyle Strickler knocked off #5 Stephen Nasse to set up a second-round matchup with multi-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion and World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport. Fellow UMP Modified driver #10 Nick Hoffman also joined in on the fun, defeating #7 Matt Craig. He will take on #2 Chandler Smith in the second round.


Voting will begin at 5 p.m. ET this evening for the second-round matchups, which will set the “Speed 16” who continue on in the pursuit of the Short Track Madness championship. Voting for the second round will end Thursday, March 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET.


While the tournament will be crowning a champion, fans can also win by participating in “Short Track Madness.” Those who place their votes and share with their friends, using the widget at the top of the bracket page, will be entered to win one of five Speed51 yearly subscriptions.


Speed51 Network subscribers gain access to our expansive on-demand video library, featuring past races, highlights, recaps and much more from short track racing events across North America.


The Speed 16 will get underway on Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. ET, with voting continuing until Monday at 11:59 p.m. ET.


On Tuesday, March 31 the tournament will become epic with eight drivers qualifying for the “Epic 8.” Fans will have until Thursday, April 2 to cast their votes for the “Fast 4.”


The “Fast 4” round will see the best driver from each region battle for the top spot beginning Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m. ET. Voting will continue until Monday, April 6 at 11:59 p.m. ET, and the championship matchup will be revealed on Tuesday, April 7.


Voting to crown the overall “Short Track Champion” of the 2019-2020 season will begin at 5 p.m. ET on April 7 and end on Thursday, April 9 on 5 p.m. The winner of the tournament will be announced on Speed51 shortly after.


The voting process will mostly be held on, with some additional rounds also being contested on our social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter.


-Story by: Speed51 Staff

Upsets Galore in First Round of Short Track Madness