February 2020 “Winter Racing Edition”
Hello Race Fans! Can you believe its 2020 and we’ve had almost two months of racing? I can because Arizona and the Wild West Shootout plus the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa Florida are my winter racing adventures to warm paradise. It’s what I do to escape the Midwest cold. After a brief off season if there is such a thing anymore, I’m ready to start tracking the races and ranking all the drivers. Maybe I’m strange but all this data and analytical analysis stuff is fun.
One thing you notice is the name change. I’ve decided to brand my own title all while continuing to appreciate the heritage that the original A-Team built, going back to 1996. I think the new title better reflects what I do and better suited for my future plans. During the off season I worked to rebuild past racing seasons and now have “Top 100” rankings going back to 2014. It’s very interesting (at least to me) to see the success and struggles that some drivers have over time. One thing for sure is that racing success is not easy! Every years is different.
So let’s kick things off for 2020 and recap the Top 10 for the first edition of the SLM Performance Ranking.
There is no question who is 1st. Brandon Sheppard picked up right where he left off in 2019 and started this year at high levels of consistency and dominance. He didn’t win them all but he’s always battling near the front of field and getting great finishes Whether in the family Rocket or Rocket1 it doesn’t matter, Brandon is the lead dog and will be hard to beat this year.
Jetting into the 2nd spot with great runs in LOLMDS completion is Devin Moran. Reuniting with Tye Twarog has been a dream come true and the way you want to start a season. There is a lot of potential for future success and will be interesting to watch in the months to come.
When it comes to consistency Ricky Weiss is operating at a high level of performance over many years now and comes in at 3rd. I truly believe the wins will come when the team and driver perform this well.
It just feels good to see Tim McCredie be successful. Nobody celebrates a victory better than T-Mac who is having his best early season in many years and is in the 4th position. I know it’s only February but I think he has all the right stuff to contend for the Lucas title.
Three wins in a row at Volusia is not an easy thing to do. Jimmy Owens did that and it jumped him up the ranking into 5th. Can that kind of dominance lead to future success? It might and we’ll find out soon.
Rounding out the Top 10 is Jonathan Davenport at 6th. JD had a good Winternationals and is about where he was last year. No worries in his camp. The best is yet to come. Coming in at 7th is Brandon Overton. He’s in the Wells entry this year and looks very good. Better consistency at all his races and Brandon could be at the very top. Starting the year at 8th is Mike Marlar who is always fast and we all know he’s going to be at the front challenging for the win. Darrell Lanigan starts this year in 9th with another car change but the results haven’t. So far so good for the Icon. Last but not least in 10th is Shane Clanton. Shane just digs and digs getting the best out of his race car and good average finishes.
That wraps up February my friends with March right around the corner. Remember that later in the early summer when the regional drivers get into the rating system, the completion for the SLM Performance Ranking gets very interesting.
The current event qualifier number for February was 6 features and will go up by two each month and top off at twenty in September. Currently 47 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 159 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the SLM Performance Ranking “Top 25” for February. It’s the early season “Best of the Best” from around the country.
1 Brandon Sheppard
2 Devin Moran
3 Ricky Weiss
4 Tim McCreadie
5 Jimmy Owens
6 Jonathan Davenport
7 Brandon Overton
8 Mike Marlar
9 Darrell Lanigan
10 Shane Clanton
11 Chris Madden
12 Brian Shirley
13 Josh Richards
14 Bobby Pierce
15 Kyle Bronson
16 Tyler Erb
17 Scott Bloomquist
18 Hudson O’Neal
19 Chris Simpson
20 Ricky Thornton Jr.
21 Dale McDowell
22 Dennis Erb Jr.
23 Rick Eckert
24 Chase Junghans
25 Billy Moyer
What is the Super Late Model Performance Ranking? The SLM Performance Ranking has its origins from the A-Team Ranking developed by Sam Holbrooks in 1996 and printed in “Behind the Wheel” and Late Model America.” The SLM Performance Ranking 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 SLM Performance Ranking 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.
Photographer & Writer