On Thursday the Superior Trailer Power Rankings for the Late Model Stock Car division will be released for March 2016 but where everyone will stack up was certainly scrambled by a rain-soaked weekend.
Anderson Motor Speedway, Kingsport Speedway and Franklin County Speedway was set to be the last three tracks to open before the March 2016 Superior Trailers Power Rankings were to be released this week. Anderson was able to get their race in on Friday but Kingsport’s Saturday afternoon opener was pushed back a week and Franklin County delayed their season opener until April 10th. The delayed openers will certainly eliminate Kingsport and Franklin County competitors from being able to secure a spot in the Power Rankings for this month.
Other tracks also got their races in such as South Boston and Myrtle Beach Speedway and those races will scramble the standings further as going into last weekend, there was an all but guarantee at the number one position in the March 2016 Superior Trailers Late Model Stock Car Power Rankings but a bizarre day for that driver and a stellar performance by two other contenders leaves the number one spot wide open.
Tommy Lemons, Jr. looked to be a lock for the number one spot after two early season wins and an undefeated record but a broken ball joint on the pace laps of one race and a one-lap penalty for not having put the required amount of laps on his tires for the next race eliminated any chance for his undefeated record to continue. Lemons didn’t make the start of the first twin at Myrtle Beach and finished fifth in a caution free affair where he made up a lap and was only a quarter of a track behind the leader at the finish of the second race of the day.
Lemons misfortune could be just what the doctor ordered for Matt Bowling and Trey Gibson. Bowling won the first two races of the season at South Boston Speedway against a 32 car field while finishing second in this past weekend’s 100-lap event after being required to start mid-pack for winning two consecutive races the week before. Bowling’s average finish of 1.3 through three races is impressive and certainly gives credibility to his chances of taking the top spot.
Gibson on the other hand has an odd set of circumstances in his favor and working against him. Gibson finished second and first on opening night at Greenville Pickens Speedway only to be disqualified for an intake violation. He backed that up this weekend with a second place finish at Anderson Motor Speedway on Friday night and twin wins on Saturday at Greenville Pickens. With all of his finishes counting sans the disqualification Gibson’s average finish through five events at two different tracks is 1.4. His average at Greenville without the disqualifications would be 1.25 and if the disqualifications stood, he would essentially not have even been there on night one and his average at Greenville would be a 1.0 and overall a 1.3 matching Bowling’s average finish on the season.
Disqualifications are where things get a little tricky sometimes when deciding how the drivers stack up in the Superior Trailer Power Rankings. It’s a divider among our voters. Some say they could care less about the disqualification while others think it’s a huge strike for that driver. But either way you look at Gibson’s season he’s bound to be one of the drivers who will at least get a couple of votes for the top spot.
Another driver who has to be looked at for the top spot is Josh Berry. Berry was someone we knew would be a factor after his dominating performances last year with 12 wins at six different race tracks. He’s off to a pretty good start so far with a victory and a third place finish at Hickory Motor Speedway already this season. His average finish is a 2.0 giving him the second lowest average finish ahead of Lemons (2.33) and the least amount of starts among the guys being considered for the top spot. However in a @race22 twitter poll he was voted the top driver by a margin of 60% to Lemons 18%, Bowling 18% and Gibson’s 4%.
Behind those guys but not far behind has to be Austin Thaxton who could easily be undefeated on the season at South Boston Speedway as he was in contention to win in the closing laps of both the first two races only to finish third. He backed that up with a victory in Saturday’s 100-lap event. The win brought his average up to a 2.33 which equals Lemons average now on the season. Thaxton is a guy who won’t likely be voted number one but he could easily find himself among the top five.
Another driver who will be creeping around the top five this week is rookie Chase Purdy. He is credited with two wins on the Late Model Stock Car season at Greenville Pickens, granted one of them came off Gibson’s disqualification. He also has a second place finish and two sixth place finishes on the season. His average finish is 3.2.
Another guy who will be on the radar is Myatt Snider. He doesn’t have the finishes to back it up but he’s been among the best in the business so far this season. He was leading at Caraway Speedway’s season opener only to be spun in the closing laps. He’ll be somewhere in the rankings but the need to get to victory lane is stronger this season than it was last year when it took him until November to get a win despite being among the most consistently up front drivers in Late Model Stock Car racing.
One guy who is certainly not making it easy on where to rank him is three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam. His season hasn’t been off to a very good start despite some good runs. He had an engine overheat at Myrtle Beach in February, a blown engine at Caraway’s opener, was spun out while leading in the first of twin races at South Boston and bounced back to finish second in race two. He then looked to be in contention to steal away a win this weekend while battling for the lead on a green white checkered when he got shoved up the race track and was run over while trying to hold on to second giving him a seventh place finish on the day.
Pulliam has proven he’s not going away but his finishes aren’t representative of his performances which makes him a hard guy to place in the standings. Much like many of the other competitors who have run good but haven’t been able to break through for a win in the young season so far.
Other winners so far this season include Ryan Millington and Cody Haskins. Millington won the season opener at Hickory Motor Speedway and Haskins won the season opener at Anderson Motor Speedway on Friday night. Haskins performance at Greenville Pickens on season opening night will probably hinder his rating while Millington’s fifth place finish in night two at Hickory will go toward his positioning. Two other winners include Matt Cox and Lucas Williams.
Other guys who we’ll be looking at (among many others) are some of the guys who have made some noise at South Boston among stellar fields of cars. Guys like Justin Carroll and Mark Wertz, two Langley Speedway regulars that are having to venture out more this season due to Langley’s season being in jeopardy still. Another Langley guy who has been up and down already this season is Brenden Queen. He had been hitting the skids a little but this past week had a good performance at South Boston.
Bobby McCarty is a guy who could be making some noise in the Power Rankings as well. His performance has been there racing right alongside former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champions Philip Morris and Peyton Sellers. Even grabbing a second place finish in the season opening race.
There are plenty of others who have us scratching our heads on where everyone should be placed but we’ll take all of this into account and try to decipher who belongs where in the March 2016 Superior Trailer Late Model Stock Car Power Rankings.