COPPER HILL, VA :: With the regular season winding down and teams making their final push for the championship, we take another look at the Late Model Stock Car Power Rankings.  As has been the case all summer, the power rankings have taken another shake up as championship pictures become clear and a handful of drivers have gotten red hot and peaked at the right time.

Honorable Mentions

Thomas Burbage: Thomas Burbage has scored three consecutive wins at East Carolina Motor Speedway.  While the track is struggling with car counts, we do feel that Burbage’s accomplishments are worthy of a mention.

Wesley Thomason: Wesley Thomason scored his first win since 2010 at Franklin County Speedway a few weeks ago on the same night that his younger brother, Cary, scored his first career win of any kind.  Thomason is one of the good guys in this sport and he deserves his dues.  We’ll give him an honorable mention.

Kyle Plott: Anyone who can beat Anthony Anders at Greenville deserves a mention.  Kyle Plott did just that on August 9th.  Say what you want about Anders, he’s a tough man to beat at Greenville.  So, we give Plott some credit there.

Greg Peterson: Greg Peterson won the most recent race at Dillon Motor Speedway, upping his win total to two on the season.  We give him a mention as well.

Lance Gatlin: Veteran driver Lance Gatlin returned this season and, while winless so far, he’s run strong at Kingsport Speedway.  We’ll give Lance a “welcome back” shoutout.

22. Ryan Stiltner


Ryan Stiltner, who drives car no. 22, comes in at position 22 on our Power Rankings with his victory at Lonesome Pine in their most recent race.  Despite dominating at Lonesome Pine last year, Stiltner knew he’d have his work cut out for him this year with the track partnering with Kingsport and going NASCAR, but it was only a matter of time before he’d win.  Stiltner still has a chance to score his second consecutive championship as well.

21. Kyle Dudley


Kyle Dudley makes his way back in to our Power Rankings in the 21st spot after his win at Orange County Speedway last weekend.  Dudley joins a very small list of drivers who have won at two different tracks this season – something his critics have said he’s not capable of doing, at all.  Haters gonna hate.  Kyle Dudley’s five wins on the season, four at Franklin County and one at Orange County, deserve credit.

20. Justin Carroll


Justin Carroll has been one of the hottest rising stars on the scene this summer with consistent top-five performances at Ace Speedway.  He finally scored his first career victory on August 16th at Ace Speedway and followed that up with a third place finish.  Carroll’s breakthrough win is enough for him to break in to the top 20 on our Power Rankings.

19. Dennis Holdren


Another multi-track winner is Dennis Holdren.  Holdren scored a win at Franklin County Speedway back in July.  He’s been running at Ace Speedway during Motor Mile Speedway’s summer break and has been scoring podium finishes in just about every race there lately.  He finally scored a victory on August 22nd, his second Late Model victory this season.

18. Bruce Anderson


Bruce Anderson, who won at South Boston back in July, is one driver who does a lot with a little.  His car is prepared by students at a nearby community college.  Anderson manages to take this car and put it inside the top-five and contend for wins at one of the toughest tracks on the circuit.  To date, he has one win on the season and remains in our Power Rankings.

17. Lee Tissot


Tissot has five wins this season, four of those coming at Newport Speedway, and has been a contender at Kingsport Speedway each time he races.  Tissot’s a drier who can contend in anything, whether it’s a Late Model or a Super Late Model, and he’s continued to be a contender.   Tissot comes in at no. 17 on our rankings.

16. Philip Morris


Philip Morris comes in at 16th because he’s the king of Late Model Stock Car racing and he’s back!  Morris has been racing on a regular basis at South Boston lately where he’s been running inside the top-five and challenging for wins.  He may not be in the white and orange Clarence’s Steakhouse car, but it doesn’t matter what he races, he hasn’t skipped a beat.   Welcome back, King Morris.

15. Sam Yarbrough


Yarbrough has scored five wins on the season, all five at               Myrtle Beach speedway.  He also swept the two most recent races at Myrtle Beach and is always a threat to win there.  Yarbrough also sits atop the points standings at Myrtle Beach.  We rank him in 15th.

14. Myatt Snider/Mike Darne


We can’t figure out which driver wants to finish second more.  In all honesty, they both want to win races but that’s tough to do against Lee Pulliam and Tommy Lemons, Jr.  Snider finished in second to Pulliam in one of two twin races last week.  Darne has finished second in two of the last three features at Southern National and has been knocking on the door of his first win since 2012.  Both drivers could end up in victory lane before the season is over, if not this weekend.  Keep an eye on them.  With that, they share position 14.

13. Deac McCaskill


Deac McCaskill may not have countless wins on the season but he’s still one of the best in the business.  He’s a contender at South Boston, he’s been a contender at Langley and he has seven wins on the season, six of those at East Carolina and one at South Boston.  McCaskill comes in 13th on our list.

12. Greg Edwards


When Greg Edwards doesn’t win at Langley Speedway, he’s finishing in second.  Edwards still leads the points at Langley but he’s been overshadowed by track hotshoe Matt Waltz.  Edwards is one driver who’s shown he can win elsewhere though after winning the Thanksgiving Classic a couple years ago.  Edwards has six wins on the season, all at Langley Speedway, and remains in our Power Rankings.

11. RD Smith


RD Smith has won four times this season at Ace Speedway with his most recent win coming two weeks ago in the second of two races run in the final Moonshine Capital Promotions series race at Ace.  Smith is one of the more underrated drivers.  He’s a consistent threat to win races at Ace Speedway against some very tough competition.  We rank him in 11th.

10. Kres VanDyke


Kres VanDyke comes in just inside the top-10 with his eight wins of the season.  VanDyke has scored eight wins this season across two different tracks – five at Kingsport and three at Lonesome Pine.  He also leads the championship standings at Kingsport and is looking destined to win that track championship.  He’ll likely add to his win total before the season concludes.

9. Josh Berry


Josh Berry has five wins across two different tracks – four of those wins coming against a stacked field at Hickory Motor Speedway.  He finished second in his most recent start at Hickory and remains a threat to win every single race he enters.  Berry will certainly be one of the drivers to beat in Saturday’s Bobby Isaac Memorial.  Berry ranks in at ninth on our rankings.

8. Peyton Sellers


Peyton Sellers has six wins on the season and has remained consistent all year long.  He currently leads the points at two different racetracks and has wins at three different tracks (Caraway, Motor Mile and South Boston).  Sellers could become the second driver in two seasons to score championships at two different tracks.  We rank Sellers in eighth on our list.

7. Clay Jones


Clay Jones has been red hot this season, with 11 wins on the year.  He has scored six consecutive victories at Wake County Speedway where he’s scored nine of his 11 wins.   Jones’ dominance in Wake County’s Late Model division has been nothing short of remarkable.  With that, we rank him inside the top-10, in seventh.

6. Tommy Lemons, Jr.


“Third place sucks!”

That’s what Tommy Lemons, Jr. said after finishing in third at Southern National in the most recent race there.  The week before that, Lemons swept in twin Late Model races and extended his very large points lead in the track’s championship standings.  Lemons wants to win every single time he races and anything less, for him, is a personal disappointment.  Lemons will certainly continue to contend for wins every week and will likely win the track championship at Kenly.

5. Chad Finchum


Chad Finchum has gotten back to his winning ways after a mid-summer slump.  He’s now scored three consecutive wins at Kingsport Speedway and increased his win total to 12 – six wins at Kingsport and six at Lonesome Pine.  Finchum also leads the points at Lonesome Pine.  Finchum remains in our rankings in the top-five.

4. Matt Waltz


Matt Waltz has scored 12 wins on the season and has won the last four consecutive races at Langley Speedway.  He’s also shown over the last year that he can hang with the top names in Late Model racing.  His stock went up after Martinsville and it’s gone up even more this season.  He’s not even leading the points at Langley Speedway but is still the driver everyone’s chasing and the driver everyone’s talking about.  Waltz could easily win-out the way he’s been running this season.  We rank Waltz in fourth.

3. Lee Pulliam


Lee Pulliam is still one of the best drivers in Late Model racing and it’s impossible to deny that.  He has 20 wins on the season across four different tracks, most recently adding Caraway Speedway to the tracks he’s put on his clinic at when he swept twin races a couple of weeks ago.  Pulliam sits second in the national standings and has scored wins this season at Caraway (2), Motor Mile (3), South Boston (5) and Southern National (10).  He has also swept twin races in his most recent appearances at South Boston and Southern National against some of the toughest business.  We keep Pulliam inside the top-three.

2. Anthony Anders


While Lee Pulliam might have 20 wins across four different tracks, he’s still chasing Anthony Anders.  Anders has 24 wins on the season across three different tracks, 21 of them coming at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, and Anders leads the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship.  While his championship lead is the discussion of controversy and many feel the championship he appears destined to win should come with an asterisk, he’s still leading the points and Lee Pulliam has felt compelled to go to Anders’ house and chase him.  In all honesty, we’d love to see what Anders could do against Pulliam at South Boston or Southern National.  Or what the two drivers could do on neutral ground.  Time will tell.  As for now, Anders ranks in second.

1. Dillon Bassett


Right now, it would be pretty hard to deny that Dillon Bassett is the hottest driver on the circuit, and quite possibly the most talent.  What Bassett has done in recent weeks is nothing short of remarkable.  Bassett has 12 wins across four different tracks (Caraway, East Carolina, Hickory and Motor Mile).  He’s won the last four races he’s entered.  He beat Lee Pulliam at Motor Mile.  He beat Lee Puliam at Caraway.  He beat Anthony Anders at Hickory.  He’s won the last three races at Hickory.  He’s been a contender at every single track he’s raced at this season.  And he’s done things in his car that just defy logic.  It’d be hard to make a case against Bassett being atop our Power Rankings.  So, that’s where he sits.

So, there’s our top-22 for the Late Model Stock Car scene.

There aren’t many weeks left in the “regular season”.  Most tracks will be wrapped up by middle-September, while a handful race to the NASCAR cutoff in late September.  After that, the stars of Late Model competition will focus their attention to what is Late Model Stock Car racing’s Daytona 500, World Series and Super Bowl all rolled in to one – the MDCU 300 at Martinsville.  As usual, nobody will have you covered quite like either, so be sure to bookmark us.