New for the 2014 Summer Season, we are glad to introduce our weekly Power Rankings. We’ll take a look at what drivers are on hot streaks across all four divisions and see which drivers power to the top of the rankings.
For our first edition, we present the Preseason Power Rankings. These drivers had impressive seasons during the 2014 Q1 Season and we expect them to do well in the Summer Season. We’ll count you down from #10 to #1, and then give you some Drivers to Watch this season.
10. Jacob and James Linkiewicz
Both of these brothers joined us during week 4 of the Pro Late Model season, and it didn’t take them long to find them running near the front week in and week out. Combined they had 14 top 10’s and 10 top 5’s. James even had a top 3 in the SLM series. If it wasn’t for Justin Brooks joining around the same time these guys did, they both would probably have a win or two.
9. Mike Belanger
Mike is no stranger to SARA competition, as he is 4th all-time in career starts. And he picked up his 3rd championship, winning the K&N ‘ship last season. But with that division now gone, Mike will look to run for a new championship in the summer season. He ran in 3 divisions last season, but only picked up one win. You’ll always see Mike near the front at the end of the race, so there’s no doubt that Mike will rise in these ranking throughout the season.
8. Anthony Celentano
Going into last season, Anthony’s career best SARA finish was 3rd place. But with the switch of the Late Model going onto the NTM, Anthony picked up the pace as he matched or beat his career best finish, 5 times last season. He even picked up his first career win as he dominated the Pro LM series’ return to Lanier, and had a runner up finish in the SLM race at Thompson. We look for him to continue improving this season.
7. Ronald Williams
Ron picked up 6 wins last season, 3 in the legends and 3 in the street stocks. He would battle with Matt Rolfe all season long for the Legends championship, as he ran at the front every single race. He’s become one of the best active drivers in these two divisions, and if he keeps it up he should be battling for championships again this season.
6. Camaron Manis
Cam joined us for the Super Late Model series last season, and while he didn’t pick up any wins, he ran at the front every single race. In a division where it was extremely competitive near the front, Manis picked up 4 poles, and had 4 finishes on the podium, 3 of those being runner up finishes. If it wasn’t for finding trouble in a couple of race, he probably would have picked up a win or two. It wouldn’t be surprising if he found victory lane a couple times this upcoming season.
5. Clay Snider
Clay is the current leader in career starts at 193, with start #200 just on the horizon. Clay ran in all 5 divisions last season, finishing no worse than 6th in the points in any of them. He finished 6th in SLM, 4th in Legends, 2nd in K&N, 2nd in PLM, and picked up the championship in the Sportsman Street Stocks. He probably would have even won the PLM championship if he didnt have a couple run ins with his teammate at the Langley Twin 75 events. Clay won a race in both the PLM and K&N series last season, and will look to increase that number this season.
4. Matt Rolfe
Matt sits at #3 on the career SARA starts list. He was no stranger to running at the front of the field across all 5 divisions last season, as he finished no worse than 4th in any standings. He had a total of 14 poles and 7 wins, even picking up his first career win in the PLM series after 5 seasons of trying. His 4 wins in the Legends series earned him the Legends Championship, and he also edged out Clay Snider for the Pro Late Model Championship. Next season shouldn’t be any different as we expect Rolfe to be near the front all season long once again.
3. Heath Smith
Again, in a division where the competition was extremely competitive, Heath was always a front runner in the Super Late Model Series. He picked up 2 poles, and 3 wins on the season including the finale, and he might of had a 4th win if it wasn’t for engine troubles at Oxford. He also led the 2nd most laps in the division. Heath should pick right back up where he left off and should continue to pick up wins in the series.
2. Justin Brooks
Justin joined SARA halfway through the season, and he dominated every race he joined. He ran 11 races between K&N and Pro Late Models, and won every single one of them. He only ran half of the PLM season, and he still finished 5th in points. Next season’s PLM qualifying format is being changed to a handicap system, which will most likely mean that Justin will be coming from the back of the pack each week, so it will be interesting to see how well he navigates traffic. But we’re sure he’ll do just fine and will continue to keep picking off wins. All the other competitors hope that won’t be the case though.
1. Tyler Breeding
Tyler started off the SLM season with a bang, picking up the win in the series’ first race. And that would be just the start of his impressive championship run. He picked up two more wins on the season, one at Oxford and the other at NHMS. He also lead the most laps in the series. Even when Tyler ran into some bad luck, he made the most of things, never finishing worse than 12th, and his lowest points counting race was a 7th. With our big SARA 250 event coming up, Tyler is looking to be one of the early favorite for the race. While right now Tyler is unsure if he can run a full season with the schedule change, if he ends up running a full season he will again be the man to beat for the SLM championship.
Drivers to Watch:
Ty Spearman – Ty picked up a win, and a 4th place finish in the standings in the SLM division. We look for him to continue to run up front.
Fred Moreau – Fred picked up 6 top 10’s in the SLM division, including 3 podium finishes, and we can definitely see him taking the next step and pick up a win next season.
James Poleske – James picked up a win in the SLM race at SoBo, but found trouble in some other races during the season. If he can avoid those troubles this season, he should be in contention for the ‘ship.
Jarrett Lawrence – Jarrett ran in 24 races last season, and only finished outside the top 10 once. He did pick up a win in the PLM series, and he should again be battling for wins this season.
Derek Robinson – Derek did pick up 4 wins last season, but 2 of those came in the K&N series road courses which didn’t have great car counts. If this former PLM champ runs a full season in any division, he should easily find his way near the top of the power rankings.
Scott Dunlap – Another long time SARA regular, Scott picked up his first career win in the SS race at the NHMS road course, while also posting some other career best finishes all season long.
Joshua Kotten – Joshua ran a full season in the Legends and picked up his first career win on one of the road courses. We’ll see if he can continue to run well and pick up more wins.