We’re back again with our May version of the NE Modified Rankings! Once again, it’s been a rough month weather wise so that’s limited some of the opportunities to compare drivers side by side. But, enough specials made it in to give us a better idea than in April.
|Stew Friesen Had a May to Remember|
Alright then, so here’s what our criteria is based on:
1. How many races did the driver partake in
2. How big are the purses for any special events
3. What’s the level of competition at home tracks or in special events
4. Bad luck factor wrecks, mechanical problems..etc are taken into account these things happen. However should the driver rebound with solid finishes afterwards, it shall diminish the effect of a bad night.
Basically, WRG events including home tracks, ROC events and American Racer home tracks and 358 modified in both Niagara region and Eastern PA/NJ are all taken into account as well as the new Short Track Super Series events. Sail panels or not, Hoosier or American Racer, it doesn’t matter.
So here’s our 2014 NE Modified Rankings for May:
1. Stewart Friesen: Last Month: 3rd
Where to start? First he had a weekend to remember at Utica Rome to close out the month, sandwiched by some hard earned Fonda weekly wins including last night’s Lazzaro Memorial! That’s a 10K to win RoC show, solid performances elsewhere too. Not sure how long he stays up here, but he was the best in May and there’s little doubt about that.
2. Matt Sheppard: Last Month: 1st
Super Matt had a good month even by his standards. He won the second NDRL/STSS event at Thunder Mountain for $5K, and seems to be putting up Sheppard-like finishes elsewhere with a good run in the SDS opener. Still waiting for some Canandaigua domination at some point, but it’s one of the hardest places to rattle off a winning streak with the talent pool.
3. Brett Hearn: Last Month 2nd
Look, it’s not that Hearn’s lost anything, it’s still there and he’ll be dominant at Malta, and in the hunt for titles at Lebanon Valley and on the SDS portion. We want to give some applause here to the jet for skipping a reg season night at the valley to attend his daughter’s college graduation. There’s things more important than racing! Had some ups and downs, 3 Malta wins and a 2nd at SDS Brockville that easily could have been a 1st.
4. Billy Decker: Last Month: 4th
Had the fifth ranked driver had one or two other wins in weekly action, he’d probably have been here. But if if’s and buts were candy and nuts………we’d have a hell of a party! Had a win at Fulton and has been was in the mix in the big May specials.
|Justin Haers Took His First SDS Tour Win at Brockville, ON|
5. Justin Haers: Last Month: Unranked/Honorable Mention
Mr. Haers took home is first SDS tour win at Brockville in May, and it was absolutely no shock at all. Most people could have seen that coming, but combined with that and his Volusia win, the T-bone believers have been validated this season. He’s also got 5 top 10’s at Canandaigua in 5 starts which only 4 drivers have done so far. Not sure how long he stays up here, but for now, it’s deserved.
6. Billy Dunn: Last Month: Unranked/Honorable Mention
Dunn put up two Canandaigua wins so far and a decent SDS opener performance. He’s not put it on the track that much just yet, but when he has, the results have been phenomenal.
|Ryan Godown continues to Impress at NES|
7. Ryan Godown: Last Month 9th:
Godown moves up with a pair of May wins at New Egypt and good finishes elsewhere. He’ll need some podium finishes in the RoC events coming up and ‘Dirty Jersey 60’ to stay here though.
8. Danny Johnson: Last Month: Unranked
When he makes weight, he’s doing real well. But in spite of two “light at the scales” finishes, his other body of work has been seeing him getting better every week. He’s took the DIRTcar 358 series win at Merrittville and has been on a few podiums this month too.
9. Jimmy Phelps: Last Month: 8th
Still looking for first win of the season. Results so far have been hit or miss, but he races at tough places, races often, and has had some bad luck with the draw. That luck can’t last much longer.
10. Andy Bachetti: Last Month: 5th
Bachetti had never seen Thunder Mountain Speedway before his arrival for the NDRL/STSS event this month and finished 7th with 73 cars in attendance. He got an early month win at Accord and currently leads points there. His Lebanon Valley results have been a bit disappointing. But it’s early yet.
Ryan Watt: He might make it back into the top 10, a very underrated driver
Billy Pauch: His New Egypt domination has started to diminish, let’s see what happens on Jun 17
Mario Clair: Won 358 tour race at Cornwall and has had good finishes in land of poutine!
Matt Williamson: Had some engine issues early, but came on strong late at Merrittville/Lernerville
Pete Britten: Still waiting for elusive 1st SDS tour win, but has been consistent weekly.
Mike Maheny: Cream of the Southern Tier crop along with Perrego and a re-energized Brian Weaver
Anthony Perrego: See above, but will keep turning heads this season
|Rex “Cooter” King Has Parked it in Victory Lane Multiple Times in May|
Western Frontier PA/OH:
1. Rex King Jr: Last Month: 4th
Cooter’s been getting around Lernerville better than he ever has with 2 wins in May and a Sharon win too. The way he’s been running, it’s not out of the realm to think he’ll stay here for a while
2. Rex King Sr: Last Month: 6th
The elder statesman has either finished 1st or 2nd at Lernerville or Sharon 4 times in 8 tries. Having a great start to the 2014 campaign.
3. Mat Williamson: Last Month: 2nd
Had it not been for two DNF’s, he probably gets top spot. Got a Lernerville win and a 2nd in the subsequent weeks.
4. Jeremiah Shingledecker: Last Month: 5th
Shook off some early season gremlins and now is consistently in the top five at both Lernerville and Sharon
5. Brian Swartzlander; Last Month: 1st
It’s been a month to forget for flyin Brian. It’s much more car than driver though, and cars can be fixed. He’ll be back on track much sooner than later.
6. Jim Weller Jr: Last Month: 9th
Took home 2 wins in 3 tries at Sharon. And with the way the King’s have started out the season, that says something! Would still love to see him in the Lernerville mix at some point.
7. Brad Rapp: Last Month: 8th
The Dr is consistent! And is in the Lernerville points battle even without that first elusive win. 3rd place at Lernerville anymore means you’re doing something right, and he’s been a top 5 runner all season.
8. Dave Murdick: Last Month: 7th
He brought out an older piece at Lernerville on the last Friday of the month and looked like the Murdick of old. Might be headed for a string of solid finishes very soon!
9. Jim Rasey: Last Month: Unranked
Has been a frontrunner at Sharon all year and gets rewarded with his first ranking of 2014
10. Tom Winkle: Last Month: Unranked
This is bit of a reach, but Winkle’s been fast and been a top 5 car at Lernerville in terms of lap times. Hasn’t had the luck yet, but in 2014 he’s been re-energized.