Mike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 50” July 2021 “The Case for Numero uno”

Jonathan Davenport – Mike Ruefer photo

It’s definitely a “what have you done for me lately” society. News cycles are short and memories are even shorter. In racing it’s not about how you finished last month but how you finished this past weekend. In a very short time big victories and strong finishes are quickly forgotten.

Here is what is primarily different about this ranking. It’s not only about what a driver did last week but what the driver has done since their season began. It’s not subjective or based on what I think but based on a mathematical formula that averages out all finishing positions.

Often I hear the term “The Number 1 Driver in America” and that’s okay with me. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I take a different approach and base my decisions on data and time proven rules that design the ranking. So let’s do something different this month and dissect the data for “The Case for Numero uno.”

It can factually be said that over the last 20 races Brandon Overton has performed the best and won the biggest races when compared to his peers and thus #1. He has had an outstanding run. As you can see below he has easily outdistanced himself from Jonathan Davenport and Max Blair.

Last 20 Races             Average Rate

Jonathan Davenport     14.125

Brandon Overton          6.66

Max Blair                      13.988

Now let’s dig a little deeper. Because this is a year to date ranking we have to go back to the beginning of the year. Jonathan Davenport had a very strong start in Arizona and carried good performances throughout spring and outperformed Overton and Blair.

First 20 Races             Average Rate

Jonathan Davenport    12.723

Brandon Overton         16.0095

Max Blair                     16.2585

Next let’s dive a little more and review the meat between the bread and see where our top three stack up. In this scenario Jonathan Davenport continued to pull the competition and outperformed Overton and Blair.

Middle 20 Races         Average Rate

Jonathan Davenport    9.964

Brandon Overton         23.408

Max Blair                     16.766

So when we look at our top three drivers in our year to date analysis Jonathan Davenport continues to be the #1 performing driver so far in 2021. Max Blair is probably the most underrated driver nationally in the media and deserves recognition. Brandon Overton is the hottest driver in America regardless where he unloads the racecar at the biggest events during his last 20 races.

Year to Date                Average Rate  Race Total

Jonathan Davenport    12.69                56

Max Blair                     13.33                35

Brandon Overton         15.16                52

That wraps up July and it’s time for a hot August of racing action. The schedule starts to slow down a bit during the week but the weekends are filled with big races and Crown Jewel events. The regional drivers are making more noise and also claiming their spot in the ranking. The ranking system will continue to be 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 July was 16 features and will go up by two each month and top off at 20 in September. Currently 119 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 1183 drivers currently being tracked since January 1st, here is the SLM Performance Ranking “Top 50” for July. It’s the “Best of the Best” from around the country.

1          Jonathan Davenport

2          Max Blair

3          Brandon Overton

4          Brandon Sheppard

5          Tyler Erb

6          Bobby Pierce

7          Tim McCreadie

8          Chris Madden

9          Gregg Satterlee

10        Tanner English

11        Devin Moran

12        Hudson O’Neal

13        Jared Miley

14        Dale McDowell

15        Brian Rickman

16        Donald McIntosh

17        Jimmy Owens

18        Brian Shirley

19        B.J. Robinson

20        Logan Martin

21        Ricky Thornton Jr.

22        Jacob Hawkins

23        Ashton Winger

24        Kyle Beard

25        Garrett Alberson

26        Ross Bailes

27        Cory Hedgecock

28        Kyle Bronson

29        Zack Mitchell

30        Shannon Babb

31        Frank Heckenast Jr.

32        Devin Gilpin

33        Josh Richards

34        Zack Dohm

35        Billy Moyer

36        Chad Thrash

37        Ryan Unzicker

38        Dylan Yoder

39        Mike Marlar

40        Mike Spatola

41        Spencer Hughes

42        Jeff Rine

43        Tony Jackson Jr.

44        Jason Feger

45        Chris Ferguson

46        Rick Eckert

47        Darrell Lanigan

48        Jason Papich

49        Gary Stuhler

50        Tyler Bruening


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 $2500 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