LMSC Power: March 2016

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The March 2016 Superior Trailer Late Model Stock Car Power Rankings are ready for release.  The month of March is coming to a close today and racing for this month is in the rearview mirror.  So, who’s the top drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and outlaw Late Model Stock Car racing for the last month?  We’re ready to answer those questions.

We’ll give you the breakdown from the last month (a little over including the Myrtle Beach IceBreaker 200) of who’s on the move in the Late Model Stock Car division and who’s slipping back.  This season already has had plenty of interesting things going on from wrecks to rivals and even disqualifications.

Let’s dive right into the Superior Trailer Power Rankings….

Best of the Rest

Cody Haskins – If not for a terrible performance in the season opener at Greenville Pickens Speedway back on March 5th, Cody Haskins win at Anderson might have propelled him into a top 15 spot on the list.  He spun in qualifying at Greenville and then finished ninth and 12th on the night.

Sam Yarbrough – He grabbed a third place finish in the IceBreaker 200 and plans to travel this season and not run one track.

Lucas Williams/Matt Cox – Each of them grabbed a victory at Myrtle Beach Speedway’s season opening points event and could work their way up the list if they continue to run this good all season and the Myrtle Beach car count increases.

Brenden Queen – He started off a little slow but a fourth place finish in his most recent start shows that Brenden Queen could live up to the expectations we had for him this season as one of the drivers to beat.

Ryan Wilson – Finished third in the season opener at Caraway and looks to have some strong runs in CARS and at Caraway all season.

Anthony Alfredo – He grabbed two fourth place finishes at Greenville Pickens Speedway against a stout 19 car field showing he could be a driver to contend with this season.

Dennis Holdren – Finishes of eighth, ninth and tenth don’t exactly sound like that great of finishes. But when you consider it was in fields of 32, 28 and 21, then those finishes are pretty good.  Dennis Holdren has been known for being among the fastest and most consistent guys at tracks around Virginia and this season is no different.

Justin Carroll – Things are different for Justin Carroll this season.  He’s “movin’ on up” and his runs at South Boston Speedway already this season prove his program is headed in the right direction.  Carroll finished eighth twice and sixth in three starts already this season.  He could very well continue to move up this list as the season goes on especially if his home track of Langley Speedway opens sometime this season.

22 – Dexter Canipe, Jr.

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He’s not setting Hickory Motor Speedway on fire just yet but Dexter Canipe, Jr.’s second and third place finishes at Hickory are enough to put him in the top 22 drivers so far this season in Late Model Stock Car racing.  If it wasn’t for the short fields at Hickory, he would find himself near the top ten in this list.

 

21 – Ryan Millington

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Who? Yeah everyone found out just who Ryan Millington was on the first week of March when he invaded Hickory Motor Speedway and picked up the win in the first Big 10 Series race against the likes of Josh Berry, Dexter Canipe, Jr. and others.  Millington backed that up with a fifth place finish in the second race of the season.

20 – Mark Wertz

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Even without Langley Speedway open for the 2016, which seems unlikely at this point to even open, veteran driver and former track champion Mark Wertz is making his presence known elsewhere.  Wertz recently finished third in a scramble to the finish line at South Boston Speedway.  His third place finish backed up his seventh and ninth place finishes in the opening set of twins at SoBo.

19 – Bradley McCaskill

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He’s only competed once this season so far in the season opener at Caraway Speedway but his second place finish in that race was enough to secure a space in the top 22 drivers in Late Model Stock Car racing.  We expect McCaskill to retain his spot on the list and we won’t be surprised if he finds his way inside the top ten sometime this season.

18 – Ronnie McCarty

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A second place finish in his only start this season at Kingsport Speedway was enough to put defending track champion Ronnie McCarty on the list.  He finished second to Chad Finchum in the season opener but he was the only car within striking distance and with a return to Friday night racing where his stats are better under the lights McCarty could be climbing up the list for the month of April.

17 – Philip Morris

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There’s nothing surprising about Philip Morris being on any list of top drivers even with his career in what is likely his final years of racing.  Morris has been nothing short of competitive running among the top five in all the races so far at South Boston Speedway even if his finishes don’t necessarily show it.

16 – Josh Oakley

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Josh Oakley hasn’t won a race in a while.  Especially at South Boston Speedway where he hasn’t won in a couple of seasons but he’s showing this year he’s not far away from getting back to victory lane.  He’s finished fourth once and sixth twice in some strong fields at South Boston.

15 – Justin Johnson

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A second place finish at Myrtle Beach Speedway after leading laps in the IceBreaker 200 was enough to put him on the list but a seventh place performance in a 32 car field at South Boston was enough to move him on up the list a little.  Johnson who appears to not be planning to compete anywhere full-time but rather moving around from track to track and we all know Justin can win races anywhere.

14 – Peyton Sellers

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Consistency for Peyton Sellers is higher than anyone else right now.  He’s ran three races this season and has an average finish of fifth with five fifth place finishes at South Boston Speedway.  He’s been run into and run over and been in the mix for the top spots in all races but has ended up in fifth all three times.  As this season continues we expect he’ll be moving up the list with some trips to victory lane right around the corner.

13 – Bobby McCarty

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If not for a couple of incidents including a crash with Philip Morris in the last race Bobby McCarty might well have a victory or two to add to his second place finish from the season opening race against a 32-car field.  McCarty with the help of Nelson Motorsports team that Timothy Peters competes for has been strong this season and we expect with a little bad luck out-of-the-way his break through is right around the corner.

12 – Dylan Hall

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He’s been a very successful Limited Late Model racer but he’s coming into his own already this season with a second, two fifth place finishes and a seventh place effort in two sets of twin races at Greenville Pickens Speedway.  He also racked up a fourth place finish in the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway which shows that he can get the job done at any track.

11 – CE Falk

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CE Falk’s performance in the season opener at South Boston Speedway shows that he’s back and as strong as ever.  Falk was at one time one of the best Late Model Stock Car racers in the country and while he won’t compete for a championship this year we know when he hits the track he’ll be in contention to win the race.

10 – Chad Finchum

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It’s hard sometimes to rank a driver based on a single start when everyone else has run two or more races but when it comes to Chad Finchum’s performance at Kingsport Speedway’s season opener, there’s no denying how strong he is.  Finchum is expected to compete for the Kingsport and Motor Mile Speedway this season and he could very well take both of them.

9 – Myatt Snider

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Myatt Snider was easily last years most consistent driver in both CARS Tour events and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events though he picked up only one win last season in the next to last race of the season in the Myrtle Beach 400.  This year he came out of the box very fast at the IceBreaker 200 at Myrtle Beach Speedway but fizzled out with a fifth place finish.  He was again fast at Caraway Speedway and took the lead with 10 laps to go only to be spun out of the lead and relegated to a sixth place finish.  He could very well be one of the top three guys in Late Model Stock Cars this season but he’s not there yet.

8 – Travis Swaim

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If not for Travis Swaim’s blown engine at Caraway Speedway’s season opener we might have been talking about Myatt Snider being spun out while running second.  Swaim was dominant at Caraway, leading the most laps and looking for the lead when his engine expired with under 20 laps to go.  Swaim is going to be strong when he competes this season as he is every year.

7 – Chase Purdy

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It’s really odd to have a rookie driver ranked so high in the rankings.  I’d be willing to bet a lot of people didn’t know who Chase Purdy was before March 5th despite the fact that he’d won the South East Limited Late Model race at Greenville Pickens Speedway and finished sixth at Myrtle Beach Speedway’s IceBreaker 200 a week earlier.  On March 5th he backed that up with twin wins at Greenville and grabbed a second place and a sixth place finish in the second set of twins at Greenville two weeks later.  He’ll set his sights on the CARS Tour this weekend.

6 – Lee Pulliam

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Lee Pulliam in sixth?  Sixth? Well if you went strictly by his finishes he’d be about 12th or 13th but the finishes don’t tell the story.  Pulliam has been fast in every event.  He was running strong at Myrtle Beach when his engine began overheating.  He was mixing it up at Caraway up front when his engine blew up.  He was leading the race at South Boston when he and CE Falk got together and he crashed out.  He backed that up with a second place finish in the second race of the day at South Boston.  His most recent race saw him get run over on the final lap while running second and on the outside of the leader only to finish seventh.  It’s not been the dominant season we’re used to from Pulliam but it is early on in the season.

5 – Josh Berry

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Josh Berry is one of those drivers that where ever he races at he’s going to be in the battle for the win and this season has been no different.  He broke the track record in the season opener at Hickory Motor Speedway only to slip back to finish third.  But then he came back the following week and won the race at Hickory.  He’s going to be racing for the CARS Tour title and he could very well be the guy to beat in that series as well as any races he competes in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

4 – Austin Thaxton

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He was a couple of laps away from being the number one driver on this list.  He could have won all three Late Model races at South Boston Speedway but has just one to his credit after out-dueling Lee Pulliam in a green, white, checkered finish.  He did get two third place finishes in the other two races despite being in contention for the win in both of those.  Thaxton has proved that he’s one of the guys to beat this season at South Boston Speedway.

3 – Tommy Lemons, Jr.

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A case could be made for Tommy Lemons, Jr. to be anywhere from first to fifth on this list and he landed right in the middle of those target numbers.  Lemons picked up two big wins to open the season with a win in the IceBreaker 200 at Myrtle Beach Speedway and winning the $5,000 to win season opener at Caraway Speedway a week later.  his performance in his return to Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks later wouldn’t be as good.  He broke a ball joint on the pace laps of race one and then had to start a lap down due to not running enough laps in race one and could only get back to fifth in race two after it went caution free.  If he had won both of those races he’d have been an easy number one pick.

2 – Trey Gibson

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How do you feel about disqualifications? It’s a question we have to answer every time we do the Superior Trailer Power Rankings and this year is no different.  Here we are just a handful of races into the season and Trey Gibson has already been ousted from two Late Model Stock Car races on a night of twins at Greenville Pickens Speedway.  It was a clear violation but honestly it wasn’t what won the race for him and with that said we don’t count it against him.  He’s been to victory lane three times this season already and racked up two second place finishes even though one of those wins and one second place effort doesn’t count for points it does count to show how powerful he’s been this season already.

1 – Matt Bowling

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One position is all that stands between Matt Bowling having three wins this season in four starts.  He won both of the season opening twin races at South Boston Speedway a week after having engine problems taking him out of contention at Caraway.  He backed that up with a second place finish at South Boston a week later after having to start mid-pack due to South Boston’s handicapping rules for winning two races in a row.  Those three South Boston performances are enough to lock him into the number one spot for March 2016 but we’ll see what April holds for him as he is expected to tackle the CARS Tour Series opener and Motor Mile in the upcoming month.

About the Author

Race22.com, the Short Track Authority, started out at Star City News, a racing magazine in the early-to-mid 2000s. In 2006, Race22.com was formed and quickly became a leading news outlet in Late Model Stock Car racing.