The Superior Trailer Power Rankings won’t come out for March 2016 until next week but there’s already been a handful of races and we wanted to take a look at the Trends in the Late Model Stock Car racing scene.
Some drivers are trending up, while some are trending down and then there are those who are flat-lined and aren’t really going in either direction. We’ve analyzed all the races held to date and we’re ready to let you know who’s going in what direction.
Of course keep in mind that Late Model Stock Car races will happen at tracks all over the region including South Boston, Greenville, Anderson, Myrtle Beach and Kingsport and that means that things can change greatly before next weeks Superior Trailer Power Rankings are released.
Tommy Lemons, Jr.
This one was pretty much a given after he opened the season with two wins. Right now he’s undefeated on the season and he’s headed back to Myrtle Beach Speedway, the track that he won at to open the season three weeks ago.
He was the number one driver in the Pre-Season Rankings but an overheating engine at Myrtle Beach, a blown engine at Caraway, a 20th place finish at South Boston has this three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion trending in the wrong direction. However he did grab a second place finish in the night-cap at South Boston and was spun while leading the first race so with another visit to South Boston on the horizon he could get his stock headed back in the right direction.
This kid seems to be the real deal. Three wins to open the 2016 season at Greenville Pickens Speedway has Chase Purdy’s name making the rounds in Late Model Stock Car racing. Granted one of the wins came in a Limited Late Model race and another came via disqualification to the man who took the checkered flag first but a win is a win.
Expectations might have been too high for the young driver. He’s not off to a hot start like we thought he would be and thus his stock is in decline. However engine woes in Friday practice didn’t slow him down in the South Boston season opener and he battled back to get a top 10 in the night-cap. He’s got another chance this weekend to make a big impression and he’s certainly capable of doing so.
I’d be willing to bet that no one would have predicted Matt Bowling to take both wins in the South Boston season opener. That wasn’t because he wasn’t capable of it, it’s just because we thought that the stiffer competition would keep him from being able to win both races. He’s looking like the early front-runner for the championship at South Boston which would be his third.
It’s hard to judge a guy as down trending from one race but Deac McCaskill wasn’t a factor at Myrtle Beach Speedway which is surprising anytime he isn’t one of the guys in the mix for the win. You could say he’s held to a higher standard. We expect he’ll be on the upswing when the CARS Tour fires up as well and he heads to tracks where he’s been known to dominate like his home track of Southern National.
We knew Josh Berry was probably going to be one of the drivers to beat this year in Late Model Stock Car racing. We weren’t sure exactly how much he’d get to run, maybe because we’re all optimistic that he’s going to get a full-time ride in the NASCAR Xfinity Series sooner rather than later. He’s probably going to be a force in Late Model Stock Cars until he gets an upper level ride.
Again it’s hard to judge a guy by one race especially to determine if he’s on the downward trend but Kyle Dudley was a championship points leader and winner at Caraway Speedway last year and the season opener didn’t go his way. It was a new car and they had brake issues and we expect them to turn it around but race one wasn’t what we were expecting from him this season.
If not for a connector rod breaking with around 20 laps to go in the Caraway season opener, we might not be talking about Tommy Lemons, Jr. winning two races this season but rather we’d be talking about how Travis Swaim dominated Caraway’s opener. Swaim is ready to get back in the hunt for the Caraway title and he’s likely going to be going up the list soon.
It’s not that he’s really on a downward slide but for David Roberts being a non-factor at Greenville Pickens just doesn’t seem right. Roberts finished fifth in both races, so it’s not like he was completely out of the loop but it’s certainly not as good as we expected him to perform. Heading to Anderson will probably help him swing back in the other direction as it won’t take much.
He was in a position to win both races at South Boston Speedway’s Twin 100-lap season opening races. He finished third position in both races and aside from Bowling’s double wins he collected the most points on the day. He doesn’t run much of anywhere else which will keep him from being one of the top drivers in the Superior Trailer Power Rankings but he could very well be the guy to challenge Bowling for the title at South Boston.
If practice paid money Myatt Snider would be the top money winner of the season. However he hasn’t had as good of races as he’s practiced and qualified. Snider qualified on the pole at Myrtle Beach and lead some laps before slipping back and not being able to make a run back to the lead. At Caraway he was one of the best cars in practice and qualifying and even late in the race took the lead only to be spun around. He’s made his presence known but now he’s got to get the finishes for it.
A sixth and an eighth place finish at South Boston Speedway season opener have Justin Carroll trending upward. Carroll had been an underfunded driver scraping and clawing to get some good runs but this year his program is greatly improved and he’s ready to contend for race wins and soon.
If you look at the results from Greenville Pickens Speedway’s season opener you wouldn’t think that Trey Gibson was off to a good start. He’s listed last with a DQ beside his name but the runs he had on his way to the tech shed have him trending up. Gibson finished second after being bumped from the lead on the last lap of race one and then won the second race of the night before the tech shed shattered his results. Gibson’s illegal parts have been removed and fixed and he’ll be looking to show that it meant nothing this weekend with races at Anderson Motor Speedway and Greenville.
He’s another guy who’s results don’t match the performance. CE Falk has long since been one of the best Late Model Stock Car racers in the country but in recent years he’s fallen back some but this season he’s back in a big way. He had a great run in the first of twins at South Boston before getting together with Lee Pulliam for the lead and losing the top spot on a restart before cutting a tire. He’ll be a contender at South Boston if he races there all year.
He came out of the box and immediately made people go “Who?”. He defeated the likes of Josh Berry and Dexter Canipe, Jr. in the season opener at Hickory and backed it up with a top five in the second of the Paramount Kia “Big 10” races last weekend. This young driver looks to be ready, willing and able to put the rest of Late Model Stock Car racing on notice this season.
Many More on the Rise
There’s plenty of other drivers who seem to be on the uptick already. Here’s just a handful of the guys who will make the final list of Superior Trailer Power Rankings for March 2016 an extremely tough list to decide.
Bobby McCarty – Second place finish at South Boston
Bradley McCaskill – Second place finish at Caraway
Danny Willis, Jr. – Sixth place in first Late Model race in years at South Boston
Ryan Wilson – Third place finish at Caraway
Mark Wertz – Two top ten finishes at South Boston
Josh Oakley – Fourth and Sixth at South Boston in Twins
Bob Root – Third and Fourth in Twins at Greenville
Justin Johnson – Second at Myrtle, Seventh at South Boston
Jonathan Findley – Fourth at Caraway
Dylan Hall – Third at Greenville
Patrick Coleman – Fifth at Caraway
There’s so many other movers and shakers. Let us know on our Facebook page who you think we missed, who you think we got wrong and who you think we got right. After this weekend we’ll take it all in and evaluate everything including this weekends racing action and deliver the March 2016 Superior Trailer Power Rankings.