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Mike Ruefer’s Super Late Model Performance Ranking “Top 100” November 2021 “The Final Edition”


It’s a bittersweet time of year for me when putting together this final ranking. During the racing season each and every weekend I put in a tremendous amount of time tracking all the super late model races, doing my best to find all the results so that the data is fair and consistent. So now it’s over and before long 2022 will begin. If we thought this year was big coming out of the Covid restricted year, next year will be a season like we’ve never seen before. Besides the normal full slate of local and regional series specials, the big money is out there for the winners. It’s going to be great.

So before we all start to dream too much about what could be, let’s recap what has happened in 2021. It was an awesome year that went right down to the final weekend in the Sandbox and finished off with Blue and Gray. Throughout the list below is a star studded field who make the fans cheer and events rumble with excitement. In my opinion all who strap into a super late model are stars. I like to say you can’t walk in off the street and do what these guys do. They’re talented and fear less, giving us the thrills of a lifetime at our favorite tracks and events. So here is my breakdown of the Top 10.

#1 Brandon Overton: Average Rate: 13.49 Feature Events: 86 Wins: 30

Never shaken and never rattled best describes Brandon. He won some of the biggest and toughest races plus regional shows close to home. Just an impressive young driver who dreamed big in his Wells family Longhorn. It was a joy to watch him as he never was outside of contention for the win in most of his races and when he wasn’t winning he didn’t overdrive. Congratulations on having the Best Year in Super Late Model racing.

#2 Jonathan Davenport: Average Rate: 14.03 Feature Events: 85 Wins: 27

Jonathan battled back and forth with Overton all season long for the big wins and top spot in the ranking. Jonathan is now the crafty veteran who knows how to win and has won on the biggest stages. He will continue to be one of the best each and every night and has earned his SuperMan title. To be the best, you have to beat the best. In super late model racing you have to beat Jonathan Davenport.

#3 Brandon Sheppard: Average Rate: 14.26 Feature Events: 99 Wins: 16

Brandon had a good year. All championship level teams don’t win it all every year in any sport. Brandon and the Rocket #1 were good but not good enough to be at the top at the biggest races. It happens. Even without the marque wins Brandon each and every night showed his talent and consistency to finish near the front was still impressive. I look for Brandon to bounce back and challenge for the top spot in 2022.

#4 Kyle Larson: Average Rate: 14.53 Feature Events: 21 Wins: 4

Kyle has done something that maybe no driver has done except maybe those who raced in the 1960’s. That’s win in NASCAR and also anything with 4-Wheels on dirt all in the same year. He’s a generational talent like we’ve truly never seen before. I think he could race in any type of race car anywhere and win. What he’s done to demonstrate his talent in a super dirt late model is beyond impressive. I say sit back and enjoy the ride he’s giving us. He won’t do it forever because he won’t need to. Over time he might just become the Best of the Best race car driver of all time.

#5 Tim McCreadie: Average Rate: 16.14 Feature Events: 71 Wins: 9

Tim is electric in victory lane and appreciative when winning. It’s hard to win and he knows that. I was very happy for him winning the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series season championship. He deserved it. Our dirt late model version of T-Mac makes our sport better. He bridges the old now with the new. He’s our elder statesman who’s still at the top of his game who makes you earn it and lets you know if you’re getting out of line. I like that about him and I never get tired of him smashing the roof and getting excited when he wins.

#6 Devin Moran: Average Rate: 17.30 Feature Events: 74 Wins: 14

It was a breakout year for Devin. Racing independent from a series, picking and choosing, finding the right events that made sense all paid off handsomely for him. I never questioned his talent but I was just waiting for it to blossom and it did this year. His future’s so bright and I expect great things for him in the future.

#7 Max Blair: Average Rate: 17.60 Feature Events: 59 Wins: 15

Max is no stranger to the top in the rankings. For years now he has been one of the best regional racers in the country. This year was different as he branched out with the Viper Motorsports Team and raced bigger national events. He’s proving he can hang with the big boys and has the talent to compete at a very high level. Max isn’t going to surprise me but he will surprise others when he wins a few big shows next year.

#8 Bobby Pierce: Average Rate: 18.45 Feature Events: 93 Wins: 20

Bobby is a maturing race car driver and I think this evolution will lead him to greatness. Racing for a living is a tough business. To do so and be successful takes a great support system. Bobby has everything he needs with family that’s behind him and experience that makes a difference come feature time. Fast. Smooth and Cool will lead him to many victories in 2022.

#9 Tyler Erb: Average Rate: 18.86 Feature Events: 82 Wins: 16

Terbo is fast becoming one of the best and a contender in every event he races. His Dirtcar suspension was a learning opportunity and he used it to race a real outlaw schedule and win while he was at it. He has a huge personality and is very outgoing with young fans. I like this and he’s good for dirt late model racing. He tells you what he thinks and agree or dis-agree, we need drivers like this that bring fans to their feet with excitement.

#10 Dona Marcoullier: Average Rate: 19.57 Feature Events: 20 Wins: 6

The one thing that’s sets my rating and ranking process apart from others is that it gives the

regional racers a chance to be measured equally against national touring drivers. Dona is the best racer in Michigan and when he does leave his friendly confines he does extremely well. If you go to Michigan to race you have to beat Dona Marcoullier because he’s going to bring it, each and every night.

Well folks that’s all I have for the racing season in 2021. Like I said it takes a lot of hours of work to compile all the data and make sense of it to create this ranking. It’s a labor of love and I love Dirt Late Model Racing. It’s all worth it to me. I’ll do it all again next year or at least that is my plan.

The final ranking qualifier number was 20 features to finish out the year. 145 drivers 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. Time to get ready for the biggest year of Dirt Late Model ever in the history of the sport. 2022 will be a very busy year.

With 1538 drivers tracked since January 1st, here is the SLMP Ranking “Top 100” for the final time in 2021. It’s the “Best of the Best” from around the country.

1          Brandon Overton

2          Jonathan Davenport

3          Brandon Sheppard

4          Kyle Larson

5          Tim McCreadie

6          Devin Moran

7          Max Blair

8          Bobby Pierce

9          Tyler Erb

10        Dona Marcoullier

11        Tanner English

12        Hudson O’Neal

13        Chris Madden

14        Gregg Satterlee

15        Jimmy Owens

16        Jared Miley

17        Cory Hedgecock

18        Dale McDowell

19        B.J. Robinson

20        Ashton Winger

21        Dave Hess Jr.

22        Donald McIntosh

23        Brian Shirley

24        Ross Bailes

25        Brian Rickman

26        Frank Heckenast Jr.

27        Ryan Unzicker

28        Ricky Thornton Jr.

29        Jacob Hawkins

30        Kyle Bronson

31        Kyle Beard

32        Zack Dohm

33        Nick Hoffman

34        Michael Norris

35        Mike Marlar

36        Ben Watkins

37        Mckay Wenger

38        Travis Stemler

39        Garrett Alberson

40        Jeff Rine

41        Josh Rice

42        Billy Moyer

43        Wyatt Scott

44        Tony Jackson Jr.

45        Gary Stuhler

46        Josh Richards

47        Tyler Bruening

48        Shannon Babb

49        Mike Spatola

50        Morgan Bagley

51        Chris Ferguson

52        Joseph Joiner

53        Jason Covert

54        Rusty Schlenk

55        Devin Gilpin

56        Earl Pearson Jr.

57        Rod Conley

58        Trever Feathers

59        Ricky Weiss

60        Jimmy Mars

61        Rick Eckert

62        Dylan Yoder

63        Sam Seawright

64        Colton Flinner

65        Spencer Hughes

66        Tyler Bare

67        Dennis Erb Jr.

68        Logan Martin

69        Jason Feger

70        Darrell Lanigan

71        Cade Dillard

72        Greg Oakes

73        Jason Papich

74        Chad Thrash

75        Zack Mitchell

76        Michael Brown

77        Shane Clanton

78        Mark Whitener

79        Ross Robinson

80        Scott Bloomquist

81        Stormy Scott

82        Dalton Cook

83        Gordy Gundaker

84        Billy Moyer Jr.

85        Ryan Gustin

86        Chris Simpson

87        Johnny Scott

88        Cody Bauer

89        Jeff Smith

90        Trent Ivey

91        Jensen Ford

92        Hunter Rasdon

93        Kevin Weaver

94        Daulton Wilson

95        Michael Chilton

96        Payton Freeman

97        Mitch McGrath

98        Chad Finley

99        Mason Zeigler

100      Steve Casebolt

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

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