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Mike Ruefer’s A-Team “Top 50” Dirt Late Model Ranking

Brandon Sheppard – Mike Ruefer photo

August 2019 “Before the World Edition”

Can you feel the excitement? The World 100 is right around the corner and no better time to break out the first “Top 50” Dirt Late Model ranking. On any given night any of these drivers can win and do in their respective series and regions of the country. The rate difference is amazingly tight throughout the ranking. It’s much easier to go backwards in the ranking based on the exponential formula for lower place finishes. It’s also much more difficult to climb back to the top. That’s why every race and finishing position matters in the A-Team. It’s not how you just did in the last race but how you’ve done in all your races.

With all that said, let’s get into the “Top 10.”

Guess who is still number #1? You only get one guess. That’s right it continues to #1 Brandon Sheppard. As of right now I don’t see any reason for the Rocket Team to falter. They haven’t all season. Now anything can happen but I wouldn’t bet on nothing but Money for Big Blue.

Getting a firm grip back on 2nd place is Jonathan Davenport. JD continues to get it done and could still get to first but only if Sheppard has multiple very bad finishes, so September and October could still be interesting.

3rd is Canada’s Best and he’s making a home in the lower 48 with consistent high performance. If you haven’t figured out who I’m taking about, glance down and you’ll see Ricky Weiss. He’s good, Really Good!

Bobby Pierce and his family work their tails off zig zagging around the Midwest chasing the national and regional shows. Bobby’s holding down 4th place this month and worked hard to get it.

It’s a pleasure to announce Rick Eckert in the 5th position for the second straight month. Rick’s a past national point chaser who now stays closer to home. That’s ok in my book and when the big dogs show up in his neighborhood he stays right with them just like he always has.

Chris Madden has had phenomenal Mid-Season success and lands in 6th place. He’s been sidelined by injury and I hope he comes back and keeps the “Team Zero” train rolling. If he picks up where he left off, the wins might just keep coming.

Now I’m impressed with Ross Bailes who continues to do well, win races and stay in the Top 10. He’s even moved up a bit, sitting in the 7th position.

Folks I said it’s hard to climb back up in the ranking after slipping down. Chase Junghans has done just that. For the first 4 rankings he was solidly hanging around 8th and then he left and now he’s back in 8th from the 15th position. Congrats!

Another grizzly veteran who is having a quiet good year is Darrell Lanigan. Club 29 is back in business and rocking each and every night.

10th is the final position I talk about. It’s a big spot. To be in the “Top 10” says something because it’s hard to get to and even harder to stay in. All season I’ve seen Josh Richards improving his rate and as others have hit hard times, he just keeps digging. With the Hillbilly win I wouldn’t count Josh out from any of the big shows left this year.

So that’s it for the Month of August, ending with Labor Day Weekend races. Who’s going home with the Globes next weekend? I’m just like you as I have my personal favorites. You have to be good at Eldora but you also have to be lucky. Whoever wins will carry the honor and prestige of being a World 100 Champion for the rest of their life.

The current event qualifier number for July was 18 features and will top off at twenty in the September ranking. Currently 99 drivers have met the 18 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 1285 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the A-Team “Top 50” for August. It’s the “Best of the Best” from around the country.

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

 

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.

 

Mike Ruefer

Photographer & Writer

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One comment

  1. I would think Brandon overton would be a little higher ranked

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