By Tyler Beichner:
Here it is, my attempt to rank the top 10 winged sprint car drivers of the country. You’ll see this as a bi-weekly post throughout the summer and into the fall as we strive to rate each 410 sprint car driver in America and rank them accordingly by their performance.
The results that you see will be subject to discussion each time because we all have our thoughts, and, to be honest, my opinion means no more than each you reader’s. With that being said, I encourage you to leave a comment or suggestion at the bottom of this article if you feel that I’ve hit the nail on the head, or completely f***** up and may have been dropped on my head.
What you can expect from my Sprint Car Rankings is an adequate representation of how I feel the 410 Sprint drivers rank at the point and time of the release. I expect a large portion of the rankings to consist of World of Outlaws drivers, obviously, but by no means should you expect it to be a recap of the current points standings. My rankings will only depict what has happened over the previous two weeks of racing…so if the Outlaws get rained out two weekends in a row, regional and local drivers will dominate the scene until the WoO can get back into action.
Lastly, World of Outlaws events are not necessarily graded with the highest value. Look for many of the hot drivers from Pennsylvania, California, and the Midwest to make a little noise and sneak up through the rankings.
Without further adieu, here is the inaugural TDN National Winged Sprint Car Power Rankings!
1. Joey Saldana
The Motter Equipment Motorsports’ driver from Brownsburg, Ind. comes in at the top spot for his spectacular performance with the World of Outlaws. In recent weeks Saldana has amassed a win, two runner-ups, two quick times, and a heat race win while facing the toughest competition in the world on the World of Outlaw tour.
2. Paul McMahan
Hendersonville, Tenn.’s own Paul McMahan notched the runner up spot in our rankings, coming in at a close second to Saldana. In the most recent World of Outlaws races, McMahan has notched three top 5 finishes, a heat win, and two runner-ups in qualifying. Though he’s tallied just one win so far this season, he has been by far the most consistent driver on the tour.
3. Donny Schatz
The five-time World of Outlaws champion currently sits fourth in the points standings but finds himself in the third spot in our rankings. Over the last two weekends with the World of Outlaws he’s finished in the top 10 in all four WoO races, including two top 5’s. He fell short of what likely would have been a win when he suffered a flat right rear at Salina, only to battle back through the field to record a 9th place finish.
4. David Gravel
Watertown, Conn.’s David Gravel has been an emerging star for a handful of years and it looks as though he’s finally managed to land a top flight ride to show off his talents. Gravel has qualified better and ran more consistently of late and I expect that to do nothing but continue. The young star paired with Dennis Roth and the Roth Motorsports #83 entry won in just his second night in the car at the famed Eldora Speedway after trading slidejobs with defending champ Daryn Pittman.
5. Daryn Pittman
The defending champion from Owasso, Okla. does own three wins with the WoO tour this season including the special Devil’s Bowl race that paid $20,000 to win. Since then he has somewhat cooled off by his standards, but don’t sleep on Pittman as he’s kept up in the points standings and he’s due for another hot streak in the near future.
6. Shane Stewart
Stewart has long been revered as an elite driver and it was only a matter of time until he was paired up with the right team and it seems like that time is upon us. Stewart and his Larson/Marks team were hot right out of the box at Port Royal for the Bob Weiker Memorial and then won in their next start with the Outlaws at the Big E. The team will stay mainly along the East coast for the remainder of the year to dial in their equipment before hitting the road in 2015.
7. Terry McCarl
Terry McCarl, who now hails from Iowa, has been known for his driving ability for years. While competing against arguably the toughest weekly field in the country, McCarl has pinned down back to back runner up finishes at the hallowed grounds known as Knoxville Raceway. Look for him to be a factor during the four-day long Knoxville Nationals.
The little guy can get the job done. He’s proven his dominance in midgets and is coming into his own behind the wheel of a full-fledged sprint car. In addition to his impressive runs with the Outlaws on their west coast swing, Abreu captured the win in the most recent King of the West series races, which is California’s only winged 410 sprint car series. Abreu had to hold off some stiff competition, which earns him spot number 8 in this week’s rankings.
9. Greg Hodnett
Former Outlaw competitor and Central PA regular of late, Thomasville, PA’s Greg Hodnett and the Heffner Racing team are beginning to mesh. Two weekends ago he won the All Star-sanctioned Bob Weikert Memorial at the “Speed Palace”, Port Royal Speedway, which amounted to a whopping $12,900 payday. Again this past weekend he finished runner-up in the special Weldon Sterner Memorial at the Lincoln Speedway. Fortunately he’s warmed up just as the Outlaws make their first trip through the area.
10. Dale Blaney
Dale Blaney has been a commonplace with the World of Outlaws Circuit of Champions for years. Despite being with a new team, he’s back at his old ways by running up front in every race he enters, and that’s if he’s not able to win it first. Blaney notched a runner-up finish to the aforementioned Hodnett at the Bob Weikert Memorial and then proceeded to finish 5th and 6th respectively during the World of Outlaws’ most recent weekend at Eldora Speedway.
Thanks again for reading our first edition of National Winged Sprint Car Power Rankings. Check back every two weeks throughout the remained of the racing season to see who moves, moves down, drops out, and ultimately takes the top honors in our sprint rankings.
Leave a comment below and let me know any thoughts, ideas or suggestions that you may have.
And as always, good racing!!