Mike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 25” May 2021 “Let the Good Times Roll”

We dodged some rain and other days we got soaked. Some tracks were muddy and rough while others were dry and smooth. Very few things are perfect in dirt racing and that’s just the way it is. At the end of the day we’re all lucky to be doing what we love to do. It’s all good folks.

As you see the list below you’ll notice some moving and shaking taking place amongst the leaders in the top tier of dirt late model racing. The biggest change is Max Blair who has catapulted into second place. I say this all the time that the formula and ranking isn’t about who is best but who is having the best year against the competition they choose to race against. Top regional racers like Max can and should be ranked with the best when they earn it. The hardest part for the regional stars is to stay there. On average regional drivers race about half as much as what the touring guys do so they have less room for error when results are averaged. Agree or disagree but drivers like Max Blair earn their position by consistently finishing at or near first when they race.

So let’s get going and recap the “Top 10” for the fourth edition this year of the SLMP Ranking.

Jonathan Davenport continues to be the #1 ranked driver in America. He has a good lead and his sub-par performance at the Show Me 100 only dented his average rate just a little bit. I’m going to guess JD gets back on the winning horse and does some Eldora Dreaming.

I’ve already let the Viper out of the bag if you know what I mean with Max Blair jumping into the ranking at #2. Max is the ‘Beast of the East” and very hard to beat in his region. It will be interesting to see him race in bigger shows in June and later in the summer.

Missouri wasn’t kind to Tyler Erb as he got the boot from “Gus the Cool Mule” at the Show Me 100. Even with that kick he still had a good May and secured position #3 this month.

He’s back folks and Brandon Sheppard used some home cooking to cap off a great Memorial Day weekend of racing and landed in #4. Once Rocket 1 takes off with the biggest races of the year yet to come, Brandon is going to make a run for Numero Uno.

The Bearded Wonder, Gregg Satterlee continues to have a great year in Pennsylvania and is #5 this month. Like Max Blair he defends the home turf and races great Keystone State competitors. Non-sanctioned events in PA are star studded and tough to win. It’s impressive when you win these special events.

Just when you think Brandon Overton is slipping a bit he wins and wins again and comes into the ultra-competitive SLMP ranking at #6. Next is Hudson O’Neal at #7 who has been very good and was great at the Show Me 100! He’s the “Real Deal” now. Winning means a lot to Tim McCreadie and he shows that in Victory Lane. T-Mac is on course for a great year and this month is #8. Devin Moran is having one his best years ever and is #9. Picking and choosing his prey is working for him and the team. Last but not least is #10 and it’s nowhere but up for Chris Madden. A regular in the top honors of the dirt late model sport, Chris is back doing what he does best.

That wraps up May and it’s time for summer and racing every day while the sky is high throughout our racing world. The June racing schedule is action packed. As more races get in the regional series drivers will be making more noise in the ranking during 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 May was 12 features and will go up by two each month and top off at 20 in September. Currently 77 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. Next month will be the first “Top 50.”

With 830 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the SLM Performance Ranking “Top 25” for May. It’s the Mid-Season “Best of the Best” from around the country.

1 Jonathan Davenport

2 Max Blair

3 Tyler Erb

4 Brandon Sheppard

5 Gregg Satterlee

6 Brandon Overton

7 Hudson O’Neal

8 Tim McCreadie

9 Devin Moran

10 Chris Madden

11 Donald McIntosh

12 Ricky Thornton Jr.

13 Dale McDowell

14 Jason Papich

15 Brian Shirley

16 Garrett Alberson

17 Mike Marlar

18 Tanner English

19 Bobby Pierce

20 Jimmy Owens

21 Billy Moyer

22 Ross Bailes

23 Frank Heckenast Jr.

24 Josh Richards

25 Chris Ferguson

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