A-Team “Top 25” Dirt Late Model Ranking

Mike Ruefer’s

A-Team “Top 25” Dirt Late Model Ranking

July 2019 “Secretariat Edition”

With the Summer and Southern Nationals over does that mean summer is over? Well not yet Bubba. We’ve got a lot of racing left and August starts the big bucks’ month so I’m expecting the rankings to get very interesting with kamikaze slide jobs and stone cold stunners. Nothing sends a driver spiraling out of control and down in the rankings like crashed out DNF’s. Consistency is the key here folks. Keep the car out of the wall, tires fully inflated and motor purring like a Big Dog. That will do lot to keep a top ranking but you have to finish up front! Let’s get into the Top 10 for July.

It would be impossible to deny that the Top #1 Team, Top #1 Car and Top #1 Driver up to this point continues to be #1 Brandon Sheppard. Not only is he continuing to win he’s pulling away from the field like Secretariat in 1973 at the Belmont Stakes. It’s not even close folks.

Can you say Photo Finish? That’s what we had with Jonathan Davenport and Bobby Pierce with JD winning 2nd place by a nose and Bobby getting 3rd. At this point in the season every race starts to matter for everyone, especially top drivers. I’m excited to watch this play out.

The 4th place position goes to Dale McDowell. Dale’s high level of success over the years continues to be Hall of Fame material. He’s good, he’s very good and don’t ever count him out for the win.

With a smile on my face I can say that Rick Eckert is 5th this month. It’s good to see him performing so well, winning races all while getting a chance to stay close to home. He’s not too bad either as the hired gun as he did at the big Lucas shows a few weeks ago.

Rick Weiss just keeps getting better and now he’s in 6th place. With his high number of feature events and big schedule ahead of him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an even higher climb in the ranking.

The Summer Nationals Champ, Brian Shirley cracks the Top 10 and lands in 7th place. If Brian could start the year better, I think he could give the top spot a run for his money. The last two years Brian really heats up in summer and gains a lot of positions. It’s fun to watch.

Climbing back up is Shane Clanton into 8th. July was very good month for Shane and it sure looks like he’s got his mojo back.

Slipping down and into 9th is Darrell Lanigan. July was not a good month for Darrell but still with that said, his year to date average is not bad and keeps him in the Top 10.

Last but not least for this edition is Ross Bailes who once again gets 10th. Ross has a consistency to his racing and that’s King in the A-Team.

That’s it for the Month of July. Big Money is at stake in August so I’m betting the Top 25 guys get their fair share.

The current event qualifier number for July was 16 features and will go up by 2 each month. It will top off at twenty in September. Currently 82 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 1124 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the A-Team “Top 25” for July. It’s the “Best of the Best” from around the country. I might even do the first Top 50 next month so that should be interesting.

1 Brandon Sheppard
2 Jonathan Davenport
3 Bobby Pierce
4 Dale McDowell
5 Rick Eckert
6 Ricky Weiss
7 Brian Shirley
8 Shane Clanton
9 Darrell Lanigan
10 Ross Bailes
11 Ashton Winger
12 Tyler Erb
13 Josh Richards
14 Mike Spatola
15 Chase Junghans
16 Tim McCreadie
17 Mike Marlar
18 Earl Pearson Jr.
19 Kyle Strickler
20 Jimmy Owens
21 Chris Madden
22 Ryan Unzicker
23 Kyle Beard
24 Brandon Overton
25 Frank Heckenast 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.

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