(Editor’s Note: The Speed51 Short Track Draft ranked the top prospects in short track rankings in the eyes of more than 50 industry experts who took part in the voting process. The following story includes the opinions of Speed51’s Koty Geyer and in no way reflects voting results or the outcome of the 2020 Short Track Draft.)
Over the past week, 100 drivers were selected in the Speed51 Short Track Draft out of a list of close to 400 prospects from across North America. While only 100 drivers could have been selected for the Draft, you can make the argument for several other drivers having been selected.
Speed51 recently put out a list of the “Best of the Rest”, drivers who had received votes in the Draft but were not selected in the top 100. Going off the list of drivers listed as the “Best of the Rest”, we asked ourselves, “Who was the top driver not selected in the Short Track Draft?”
Let’s go over to the Dirt Late Model world to take a look at one of the Southeast’s biggest rising stars, Ashton Winger. The Hampton, Georgia driver had a career year in 2019, scoring eight wins throughout the Southeast against some of the strongest regional competition in all of Dirt Late Model racing.
While the 20-year-old didn’t follow one particular series in 2019, his success came across the board. His wins came with the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series, Durrence Layne Chevrolet Super Late Model Series, Schaeffer’s Oil Iron-Man Championship Series, Southern All-Star Dirt Racing Series, and the Fall Nationals Series. Wins came at Whynot Motorsports Park (MS), Crossville Speedway (TN), Smoky Mountain Speedway (TN), Thunderhill Raceway (TN), and Senoia Speedway (GA).
Winger ended the 2019 season with the biggest win of his career to date, coming at the Fall Classic at Whynot Motorsports Park. He won the 100-lap event against a field that consisted the likes of national stars Tyler Erb, Darrell Lanigan, and Devin Moran, as well as some of the Southeast’s top talent.
Off the track, Winger is active on social media and is well-spoken, adding to his draft stock.
One factor that may have kept him out of this year’s Short Track Draft is his lack of experience and success on the national trail, whether it be with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series or the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. That changes in 2020, as Winger is chasing after the Rookie of the Year title with the World of Outlaws. He scored a ninth-place finish in the season-opener at Vado Speedway Park (NM).
One can certainly make a case for Ashton Winger to have been selected in the 2020 Short Track Draft. With ample opportunity to improve his draft stock with a full-time World of Outlaws Late Model effort, we could very well see him make his Short Track Draft debut in 2021.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo