A-Team National Dirt Late Model Ranking

Mike Ruefer’s

A-Team “Top 50” Dirt Late Model Ranking

September 2019 “Pennsylvania Edition”

Wow! What a great September for racing. The World 100 was Super as always and Knoxville was an “O” Show. Though a few rainouts dampened some of the action, overall it was a great month for national and regional action. With the Pittsburgher getting ready to fire up some home cooking for the Pennsylvania Hot Dogs who are dining at the table of the Top 10 this month, October will be fun to watch.

The A-Team isn’t all about drivers who chase National Touring Series points. It’s about putting everyone on a level playing field. Full time racers distinctly have an advantage but a strong regional driver can rate high in the ranking or even win it all. With that said, let’s get into the Top 10. Remember the A-Team isn’t about who is best but who is having the best year.

All season long Brandon Sheppard has been #1 in the ranking. It’s been a blistering pace and even on the bad nights he’s not been that bad to slip down. The key in the exponential rating system is limiting the number of DNF’s that doom your rank. He hasn’t had any! It’s been an amazing year for Team Rocket.

Jonathan Davenport has a good grip on 2nd for now. The Eldora weekend was perfect but since it’s been a little struggle to get the high finishing positions. I expect JD to rebound and finish off the season strong to hold off the fast closing competition.

Can a driver go from 23rd to 3rd in one month? Yes, they can. That’s exactly what Max Blair has done in the Keystone State. Regardless on where you race or who you race against, the goal is to win. That’s what Max Blair has done in September. He’s WON just about everything or on the bad nights finished second. A hot regional driver like Max could win the A-Team with a season like this.

Ricky Weiss holds down 4th this month and is closing the gap. He’s calm and cool in Victory Lane and a beast on the track. Watching him race you know he’s no rookie. Each and every night he gets the best out of the car that he can. If he works the Power Play just right with the late season races he might have the best probability to contend for second place in the ranking. Time will tell.

Back in Black and Back on Track is Chris Madden in 5th. It had to be difficult coming back from injury. Team Zero has been the Wounded Racers but you would never know it from their performance. Chris is my Wild Card to make a late season run toward Victory Lane. If he repeats August anything is possible to shake up the ranking.

The home cooking is good in Pennsylvania for Rick Eckert and he lands in 6th place this month. His years of National Touring experience is paying off as he now chooses to race close to home. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rick stay in the Top 10 as we near season end.

Bobby Pierce has had a good year going home and has floated up and down the ranking this year and currently is in 7th. His last weekend at Tri-City helped him hold down the fort.

I never get tired of talking about the Rock and Roll Club 29 Show. Darrell Lanigan is 8th in the tight A-Team ranking battle. In my opinion Darrell has exceeded expectation after re-starting his own team.

Old Age and Treachery my friends. In a sport of rising young stars Dale McDowell just keeps performing at the highest level. He’s back in 9th!

Last but not least and new to the ranking, blasting all the way up to 10th is Jared Miley. Jared is consistently a top performer. He joins his fellow Pennsylvanian’s at the top of the rankings.

So that’s it for the Month of September. Late October and November shifts most of the racing action south as the Midwest cools down. There is still plenty of time for drivers to move up and down the ranking before season end. The Final 2019 Ranking will be out around Thanksgiving and feature the “Top 100.” I’ll update on my Twitter feed a few times in-between now and then.

The current event qualifier number for September was 20 features and will remain at this point for the rest of the ranking season. Currently 99 drivers have met the 20 feature threshold. All results are tracked via DirtonDirt. Without them and their attention to detail because they’re the best, I couldn’t do this and have this much fun.

With 1369 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the A-Team “Top 50” for September. It’s the “Best of the Best” from around the country. On any given night any driver in the ranking can and do win against their tough competition.

1 Brandon Sheppard
2 Jonathan Davenport
3 Max Blair
4 Ricky Weiss
5 Chris Madden
6 Rick Eckert
7 Bobby Pierce
8 Darrell Lanigan
9 Dale McDowell
10 Jared Miley
11 Ross Bailes
12 Tim McCreadie
13 Ashton Winger
14 Shane Clanton
15 Mike Marlar
16 Mike Spatola
17 Tyler Erb
18 Chase Junghans
19 Josh Richards
20 Jimmy Owens
21 Zack Dohm
22 Chad Thrash
23 Brandon Overton
24 Brian Shirley
25 Donald McIntosh
26 Timothy Culp
27 Michael Page
28 Ryan Unzicker
29 B.J. Robinson
30 Travis Stemler
31 Hudson O’Neal
32 Kent Robinson
33 Frank Heckenast Jr.
34 Scott Bloomquist
35 Rusty Schlenk
36 Earl Pearson Jr.
37 Jason Covert
38 Jimmy Mars
39 Dennis Erb Jr.
40 Kyle Beard
41 Zack Mitchell
42 Chris Ferguson
43 Devin Moran
44 Casey Roberts
45 Chub Frank
46 Kyle Strickler
47 Don O’Neal
48 Michael Chilton
49 Gregg Satterlee
50 Brandon Thirlby


What is the A-Team Dirt Late Model Ranking? The original A-Team was developed by Sam Holbrooks in 1996 and printed in “Behind the Wheel” and Late Model America.” The A-Team is a national ranking for Open Motor events that pay a minimum $2000 to win. Each driver who makes a feature event will earn a mathematical formula based rate built on performance, competition and durability. The final ranking is based on rate and logic rules that reward racing more. Nothing in the rate, rank or logic is subjective. It’s just all numbers, math and rules. The A-Team isn’t about who is best but who is having the best year. If you think that makes the driver “The Best” that’s ok with me.

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