Power Rankings are back as we take a look at the opening week of our 2014 Fall Season. We had 5 different races this week, including the Legends double header, that resulted in 5 different winners. Out total car count for the week was 133 cars for an average of 27 cars per race, and 66 total different drivers made a start. Some drivers asserted themselves as front runners in the races, and others had tough luck and struggled out of the gate. Let’s count down the Week 1 Rankings from #10 to #1.
10. Anthony Celentano
Anthony made his return to the Street Stocks this week after not running in the division in over a full season, and he ended up with a decent 8th place finish. He then improved on that by picking up a top 5 finish in the Pro Late Model race. With a couple solid finishes to start the season, we’ll see if Anthony can keep up the pace.
9. Cody Kelley
Cody only ran one race this week, but he made it count by putting up a 2nd place finish in the Super Late Model race, and he put up quite the effort to grab the win but couldn’t quite get the run he needed to get by. He seemed to be the only one who contend with the race winner in the late stages, so we’ll see if he can be that fast throughout the rest of the season.
8. Parker Traves
Parker became our newest winner in SARA this week after he took the lead on a late restart in the Street Stock race at Charlotte. He and a teammate had put themselves near the front of the field all race long and when the time came he made his move to the top spot just before the final caution of the race. We’ll look for Parker to contend for more wins this season if his speed continues.
7. Kenny Lindsley
Kenny probably didn’t get the finishes he deserved this week, but he brought fast cars to all three races he was in. He led for half of the Street Stock race before getting caught up in the last caution of the race, and he also led 31 laps in the Pro Late Model race but ended up with top 10 finish in 8th. His best finish of the week came in the Super Late Models, after recovering from being two laps down at one points and ending up in the top 5 in 4th. We learned last season that Kenny is fast, and so far he’s shown more of the same.
6. Mike Rhyno
Starting off the season with a 2nd place finish in the Legends race at Daytona was good, but Mike then backed it up at New Smyrna by getting another 2nd place finish, and after the two races he sits tied for the lead in the points standings. While he didn’t get the win, obviously Mike knows how to get it done in the Legends, both on ovals and road courses, and it shouldn’t be too much longer before Mike picks up a victory.
5. Bill Martin
Bill is another driver that showed a lot of speed in the first couple of races this week, but he wasn’t getting the finishes he deserved. He qualified 2nd in both Legends races, and led 32 laps at New Smyrna, but ended up with finishes of 12th and 20th. Then he started 9th in the Street Stock race, but only ended up with just a 17th place finish. Finally he caught a break by starting on the pole in the Pro Late Model race, went on to lead 53 laps and picked up the victory to turn the week around. As long as Bill keeps qualifying up front and leading laps, we should be seeing his name in victory lane more often.
4. Justin Brooks
Justin started out his week by qualifying on the front row of the Pro Late Model race, and leading 10 laps before finishing 2nd, but after some late contact in the race he was penalized back to 16th. That didn’t stop him the next night though as he picked up the Super Late Model pole at Phoenix and led 72 laps en route to victory in that race. Normally when Justin dominates races, he doesn’t face too much pressure, but he was able to hold off the late charge from Kelley for his league leading 21st win. As the wins leader, we don’t expect Justin to slow down when it comes to adding more numbers into that wins column this season.
3. Josh Kotten
It’s no surprise to us that Josh was fast in the Legends races this week, but he really stepped his game up with the first two races of the season. He started off by working his way up into a 4th place finish in Daytona on the road course, and then when we switched over to the oval, Josh went on to qualify on the pole and capped it off by picking up his 2nd career SARA win. He sits just 3 points back in the points, if he can continue to pick up wins and run up front, he should continue to be in contention all season long for the points.
2. Travis Warling
Another Legends road course, another dominating win for Travis. He’s been known to dominate some of our road courses in the past, and he did just that in the Daytona race. And when we switched over to New Smynra, he showed speed again by running near the front and ending up with a 3rd place finish. Travis has yet to run a full Legends season with us, but as he currently sits tied for the points lead, we’ll see if he continues to run and if he can keep it up. And if he does run a full season, he could be a serious contender for the title.
1. James Linkiewicz
Well James didn’t pick up any wins, and he didn’t lead any laps, but that doesn’t show how good he was this week. In the four races that he raced, he didn’t qualify any worse than 6th, and he didn’t finish any worse that 5th. The only race he didn’t run was the Legends road course event, but in the other four races he posted finishes of 4th, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. That’s definitely not a bad way to start off the season. If James can keep up that pace, and keep up the consistency, he could find his way near the top of at least one of the points races.