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

Jonathan Davenport – Mike Ruefer photo

April 2021 “April Showers Edition”

The days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising my friends. The April Showers that bring May Flowers also brings more racing where the Carhartt’s can be left in the closet. It’s full speed ahead to summer.

I find that by the time we get through April certain trends on performance start to develop that carry many drivers into successful summer results. To have a good finish in the national ranking it’s much easier to start fast and be good early. We’re seeing that this year and the top 25 drivers have set themselves up for trophies and paychecks as the season heats up.

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

Having another great month and holding down the #1 position is Jonathan Davenport. Right now it’s not even close. He’s the Top Dog and is proving it every night.

Coming in at #2 is still Tyler Erb. April was a little down in performance but still no steep drop off. Consistency matters in the formula and Terbo is doing that right now with good runs against the best competition.

The Beast of the East is Gregg Satterlee who comes in at #3. His regional schedule is playing right into wins and very good finishes. I think it’s the beard.

The California Kid is in town and hovering over the Midwest MLRA scene. Jason Papich ranks #4 and is on a hot path to pave the competition. The Wild West success was no fluke and if he keeps this up he’s a title contender.

The New Real Deal is Hudson O’Neal. He lands in #5 and is on the upward trend. How far can he go? I think his potential is unlimited now and into the future.

Rounding out the rest is Brandon Sheppard at #6 who by all accounts is doing good but not great based on the previous two seasons. Devin Moran stays locked in at #7 this month. On any given night Devin has the tools to win. Ricky Thornton Jr. continues to prove he belongs in the talk in the Dirt Late Model world with a #8 position. Coming in at #9 is Garrett Alberson. He’s an impressive driver with a high upside in the sport. The Top 10 is hard to make and staying in the highest category is not easy. Brandon Overton has had a few setbacks this month but nothing he probably won’t rebound from and gets back to the front as the season unfolds.

That wraps up April and its full steam ahead with a very busy May racing schedule. The regional series drivers are already making noise in the ranking and more will follow in the coming months. The ranking system gets very tight with individual rates that are very close. Every finishing position matters which influences the rating formula. 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 April was 10 features and will go up by two each month and top off at 20 in September. Currently 61 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 553 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the SLM Performance Ranking “Top 25” for April. It’s still the early season “Best of the Best” from around the country.

1 Jonathan Davenport
2 Tyler Erb
3 Gregg Satterlee
4 Jason Papich
5 Hudson O’Neal
6 Brandon Sheppard
7 Devin Moran
8 Ricky Thornton Jr.
9 Garrett Alberson
10 Brandon Overton
11 Billy Moyer
12 Tim McCreadie
13 Bobby Pierce
14 Brian Shirley
15 Dale McDowell
16 Chris Madden
17 Kyle Beard
18 Logan Martin
19 Mike Marlar
20 Ross Bailes
21 Jimmy Owens
22 Frank Heckenast Jr.
23 Kyle Bronson
24 Tyler Bruening
25 Tanner English

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.