A number of years ago, Sam Holbrooks came up with his own formula to determine the top 25 dirt late model drivers in the country each month. Sam published his poll in his “Behind The Wheel” and “Late Model American” racing news papers. Since getting out of the business a number of years ago, Mike Ruefer has taken over the A-Team Top 25 and will now be publishing his poll on Inside Dirt Racing. We are honored to have Mike and the A-Team poll join our site. Here is this week’s poll from Mike:
Usually April is a busy month for racing but the only thing busy was the rain. Not to beat a blown up motor but it rained a lot and everywhere. Cancellations and postponements ruled the Dirt Late Model world. There were still enough events scattered around that dodged the showers so there was some movement in the rankings.
The rankings move for some drivers based on good and bad finishing positions and also when new drivers earn their nights to qualify. Such is the case with Donald McIntosh and Ross Bailes who are starting to mount good average rates in their regions.
Enough with the soggy thoughts, let’s get into the results.
Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport are the two Top Dogs and the duel for #1 still lands with the Rocket #1 of Sheppard. Actually Davenport lost a little bit of ground the last weekend of the month but it wasn’t much. For drivers and teams of this caliber, good nights are expected but bad nights still happen. Month by month whoever has the best consistency wins.
Did I say Dale McDowell was getting hot last month? I think I did and wherever he races he becomes a major threat to win. McDowell clocks in at 3rd this month.
The two WoO shows at the beginning of the month was all Darrell Lanigan needed to get locked in at 4th. It will be interesting to see how he does with a busy May schedule but so far so good for the Club 29 driver.
Earl Pearson Jr. is having an excellent start to the year and is now 5th. The Black Diamond Gang are playing all their cards each and every night and Earl is driving the wheels off the Hot Rod.
Ok I’m not going to shout too loud about Shane Clanton but I will anyway. He’s consistently going fast and getting good runs. His 6th place rank is well deserved.
The new comer to the Top 10 is Donald McIntosh. Last year he wasn’t even anywhere close. He ended the year in 60th position. How’s a 7th place rank sound for a great start to 2019? Now he has to keep it going but that’s the challenge of the A-Team. It’s how you do all year! Nice start Mr. McIntosh.
For the 3rd month in a row Chase Junghans has locked up 8th place. That’s amazing and continues to be proof that this driver and team are real contenders. It’s another example of a great turnaround from last year where he ended the season in the 51st position. Congrats Chase Junghans.
After really good runs at the Wild West Shootout, Kyle Beard came home, waited for the racing season to start and picked up right where he left off in Phoenix. He’s a top performer in his region and he’s challenging for wins.
Last but not least is the 10th ranking position. Its goes to Tyler Erb who had kind of a tough month but he is holding on and keeping Bobby Pierce just behind him. Look for Bobby Pierce to climb the ranking and make a big run come Summer Nationals time.
Ok folks that’s enough for April. Let’s all pray for no rain on race day in May.
The current event qualifier number for April was 9 features because of all the rain outs and will go up by 3 in May (unless it just keeps raining) and then 2 each month after that. It will top off at twenty in September. Currently 41 drivers have met this 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 530 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the A-Team “Top 25” for April. It’s the early season “Best of the Best” from around the country.
|5||Earl Pearson Jr.|
|22||Dennis Erb Jr.|
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.