Mike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 25”

Brandon Sheppard – Mike Ruefer photo

June 2020 “Almost Normal Edition”

A few weeks ago during the DirtonDirt “Fast Talk” discussion that I was a guest participant on, it raised the question about dirt track racing bringing a sense of normalcy back to the world. It made me think about all the things we’ve been through since mid-march and realize just how lucky we are to be working back to normal in our Dirt Late Model world. We should all feel very fortunate that our sport is back and we’re all doing what we love to do.

As you’ll see in the ranking below there are big changes with many regional drivers jumping into the “Top 25” this month. I always like to see this. The mathematical calculation used in the SLMP ranking isn’t only about national series dominance or money won. The SLMP applies the same criteria to everyone, everywhere. It’s a formula to rate drivers and those who are the most consistent regardless of the series can and do rank amongst the best.

So let’s get things going for June 2020 and recap the Top 10 for the third edition of the SLMP Ranking.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Brandon Sheppard continues to be in the #1 position. No one in the country races more and at the highest consistent level, against the best competition than Brandon. He just doesn’t have that many bad nights or DNF’s. Drop the mic!

Jimmy Owens is the nation’s hottest driver and won 29% of the races he has raced this year. It’s just not the number of wins but the pace of victory by stringing 3-4 wins together on three different occasions this year. If he keeps this up and has better consistency on the non-winning nights he has a chance to catch Brandon Sheppard.

Number 3 is Timothy Culp who so far has been nothing but good in his nine races made and winning two of them. He’s staying close to home these days versus the long road of travel and he might have a Comp Cams title in this reach if he continues to race like this.

Could anyone have a worse Firecracker run than Ricky Weiss? I don’t think so but he still managed to close out the month in 4th place. Look for him to rebound and get back to his strong runs in the near future.

Jesse Stovall is having the type of year like he had in 2015 when he finished third nationally. So far so good for the 00 as he lands on 5th place this month. His resurgence is making him a strong contender to win again.

6th place goes to Ross Bailes. I’m always impressed with him. Not only how good he is in regional competition but also when the national series stops in his backyard. Ross Bailes is a Hot Shoe and when in a good car does extremely well.

Another good driver showing up this month and in the 7th position is Tony Jackson Jr. His immaculate white Hot Rod has been impressive this year and like Stovall is a contender. It’s good to see him firmly planted back only on the dirt.

8th place is Josh Richards. Josh year after year is one of the best drivers and he continues to prove it night after night. 9th place is another MLRA Hot Shoe by the name of Payton Looney. The Top 25 is sprinkled with MLRA stars and the competition is fierce. Last but not least is 10th place. Tim McCredie slipped just a little bit but continues to be having a good year. As the year goes on I think he’ll be fine and move back up with better finishing positions.

That wraps up June my friends and it’s going to get very busy in July just like it should be. There will be comers and goers in the regional driver ranks as only the most consistent will stay at the top of the ranking. As national drivers reassert themselves and regional stars shine the competition for the SLMP Ranking gets very interesting At least to me anyway.

The current event qualifier number for May was 9 features and will now go up by two each month and top off at 15-17 in September. It just all depends on how many shows take place as the year goes on. Currently 81 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 616 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 25” for June. It’s a strong list of the “Best of the Best” from around the country.


1          Brandon Sheppard

2          Jimmy Owens

3          Timothy Culp

4          Ricky Weiss

5          Jesse Stovall

6          Ross Bailes

7          Tony Jackson Jr.

8          Josh Richards

9          Payton Looney

10        Tim McCreadie

11        Bobby Pierce

12        Mike Marlar

13        Shane Clanton

14        Billy Moyer

15        Jimmy Mars

16        Tyler Erb

17        Ricky Thornton Jr.

18        Devin Moran

19        Dale McDowell

20        Jonathan Davenport

21        Chad Simpson

22        Brandon Overton

23        Kyle Bronson

24        Zack Mitchell

25        Jeremiah Hurst

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.


Mike Ruefer

Photographer & Writer