HomeDirt Late Model NewsMike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 25” March 2021 “The...

Mike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 25” March 2021 “The Earth Worm Edition”

Jonathan Davenport – Mike Ruefer photo

Feels good to be racing right? You bet it does. Remember last year at this time? Okay let’s forget about that and move on. Time to get vaccinated with a little dirt injection.

This March is playing out somewhat like normal with cold and rain ruining the hopes of a lot of racers and fans. It’s just what happens this time of year above the “Sweet Tea Line” with Mother Nature winning many nights. An old friend of mine once said to me, “When the Robins arrive and the Earth Worms rise it’s time to go racing.” Something to be said about that saying. It’s hard to race on dirt tracks without warmer soil temperatures that enable solid cohesive compaction. Pushing the race dates into March looks good on the winter racing schedule but doesn’t very often produce a good track I’m sorry to say.

Every so often I get responses about the ranking from dis-agreeing readers. That’s fine with me as I understand that the rating and ranking is unique with the formula I use. Racing is a passionate sport and in the eyes of many, winning is everything to them but not to me in this particular situation. I’m more about consistent, continuous and sustainable performance. The complex nature of the formula highly rewards winning but is also adversely affected with low performance and DNF’s. There’s nothing subjective in the ranking. The formula rate and rules treat everyone the same. I play no favorites.

So let’s get going and recap the “Top 10” for the second edition of the SLM Performance Ranking.

Last month I said not to Tug on Superman’s Cape. Well folks he’s back. In the #1 position is Jonathan Davenport. Since leaving Florida J.D’s been on a terror running up front and he won the big Bristol Bucks’.

Tyler Erb slips back a spot landing in the #2 spot this month. I think his outlaw schedule suits him as he serves his time on the run. I love his passion and personality.

I think big things are in store for Devin Moran this year. He’s in the 3rd place position and it’s still early in the year but I wouldn’t be surprised if he maintains his high level performance on the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series trail.

Ricky Thornton Jr. has always raced a lot and the racing road is no stranger to him. He is posed to make a challenge for the top echelon of the sport from his #4 position.

When certain teams, cars and drivers pull into the pit gate you have to take notice. Brandon Overton is that said driver. He’s #5 this month and has won a bunch already. The only reason he’s not on the top is the few poor finishes he’s had.

Honestly I’m very happy to see the continued rise of Hudson O’Neal this year. Hudson is doing so well he’s still at the top of the ranking and in 6th place. Next is unfamiliar territory for Brandon Sheppard who lands in spot #7. At some point I feel a Rocket Explosion is coming and when it does watch out. It will be marvelous. Cracking the top ten and getting into 8th this month is Kyle Beard. He had a good Wild West Shootout and an even better Comp Cam start. Johnny Scott slides in at #9 and rounding out the top ten is Mike Marlar.

That wraps up March and the Earth Worms will be rising so April should be a much better month for racing. Very shortly all the Midwest regional drivers will get into the rating system and the competition for the SLM Performance Ranking gets very interesting. There will be comers and goers as consistency matters. Those who rate the best will be ranked the highest.

The current ranking qualifier number for March is 8 features and will go up by two each month and top off at 20 in September. Currently 44 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 342 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the SLM Performance Ranking “Top 25” for March. It’s the early season “Best of the Best” from around the country.

1          Jonathan Davenport

2          Tyler Erb

3          Devin Moran

4          Ricky Thornton Jr.

5          Brandon Overton

6          Hudson O’Neal

7          Brandon Sheppard

8          Kyle Beard

9          Johnny Scott

10        Mike Marlar

11        Chris Madden

12        Gregg Satterlee

13        Bobby Pierce

14        Tanner English

15        Tim McCreadie

16        Kyle Bronson

17        Brian Shirley

18        Jimmy Owens

19        Billy Moyer

20        Scott Bloomquist

21        Frank Heckenast Jr.

22        Josh Richards

23        Ross Bailes

24        Stormy Scott

25        Dennis Erb Jr.

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

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