You can check out the first two volumes below:
2015 North East Modified Rankings Volume 1
2015 North East Modified Rankings Volume 2
For this edition, we'll be using the time from July 9 through August 26 as the official review period.
Here's a few guidelines to consider:
- How many races did the driver partake in
- How big are the purses
- What is the level of competition at home tracks or in special events
- Bad luck factor, wrecks, mechanical problems
1. Mat Sheppard: Last Ranking: 1st
Sheppard is an open and shut case here taking eight home track wins currently running at Brewerton, Canandaigua and Utica-Rome. He's got an SDS tour win at Weedsport, and has placed every SDS start in the period on the podium. He's out in front of the SDS point standings by over 100 points, even after giving some back by virtue of being light at the scales in a tour event in July. He's the best of the best on the track for a second rankings list in a row.
2. Brett Hearn: Last Ranking: 7th
Here comes the jet! A new motor and a new outlook has helped bolster his program. A case could be made for him to be the leader here this month, but there's a degree of difficulty disparity in home tracks, and Sheppard has simply put the car on the track more often. To be fair, he would have taken the top spot had he simply not run out of gas at Mr. DIRT Track USA (Lebanon Valley) this past Tuesday night as he was well on his way to his third SDS tour in in the period. Strangely enough, Hearn has done best on the tour in Canada, taking wins at Autodrome Drummond and Cornwall. We weren't sure if he was going to come back around to the top of the heap this year, but has been lights out since early to mid July.
3. Stewart Friesen: Last Ranking: 5th
Like Hearn, Friesen enjoyed a great last several weeks. We can't count the World of Outlaw sprint victory at Oshweken, but we can count a Mr DIRT Track USA win, a STSS win at Woodhull, and another SDS win at Five Mile Point where he was a former track champion. Throw in a RoC victory in the Friends of Mike race at Bridgeport and some home cooking at Fonda and you could make a case for him being in one of the top two spots. He'd be there if it weren't for a little inconsistency in some other big races.
4. Jimmy Phelps: Last Ranking: Honorable Mention
Mr. Phelps is better than ever! He finally snapped an SDS tour winless streak with his victory at Albany-Saratoga (The Big Show), and has two weekly wins at Fulton plus another one at Brewerton. More than that, his consistency has remained constant and at the home tracks he runs, that speaks volumes. Great to see you in the top five for the first time in the history of the TDN Modified Rankings Mr. Phelps!
5 Billy Decker: Last Ranking: 2nd
Decker took an SDS tour win at the start of the period at Mowhawk and also scored a weekly win at Fulton. He's been fairly good outside of that, but his SDS performance otherwise has been non Decker like recently to the point where it looks as if he'll need more than one win in the 150 point races and get some luck to get back into title contention.
6. Kenny Tremont Jr. : Last Ranking: Unranked
No, Mr Tremont is not running the SDS tour, and to make this list you don't have to be. You just have to be good, and Tremont has been more than that. Check this out. He's raced 20 times in this review period, tallying seven wins and 18 top tens in action at Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley. It's higher to get higher than sixth here without lots of special event starts, but he's had a great past several weeks and deserves to be here.
7. Larry Wight: Last Ranking: 3rd
After a hot start to the year Wight has cooled off some garnering three home track wins in the review period and no special event victories. His SDS tour performance has been fading a bit but he still remains a threat to win on any given night. Could he rekindle his season at RoC -Utica Rome perhaps?
8. Danny Johnson: Last Ranking: 4th
Like Wight, the doctor has been not quite himself in the second half, but still it's not a bad second half to have. He's got four wins in weekly competition at Ransomville and Fulton and has been competitive. But outside of a podium finish at the Friends of Mike race, the special event results have been dismal. There's some mechanical gremlins in the mix and a few bad decisions. Wouldn't a Syracuse victory be a great thing for the Dr this year?
9. Mat Williamson: Last Ranking: Unranked
Would you please welcome one Mat Williamson to the TDN Modified Rankings List! The Canadian Sensation recently scored his first SDS tour victory at Merrittville and took five wins at Lernerville in weekly competition.
He recently finished up his second Lernerville track championship and is in the running at Merrittville for another one there. Throw in a special event win at Oshweken and it's clear that he belongs here! And he's not done making noise yet in 2015 by any stretch.
10. Billy Dunn: Last Ranking: Honorable Mention
The former Syracuse winner collected four wins in the review period including two special event wins at Cornwall and some SDS tour top 10s. He's been keeping his home at Merrittville , Mowhawk and Cornwall in 2015 and has done great at all of them. Does he have any magic in the 150 point season?
Erick Rudolph: He's on the true outlaw tour now and having a blast driving primarily in the Chrysler #21 ride. Rudolph took two BRP Modified Tour event wins out west and is still a threat to win anywhere.
Rick Laubach: Still kicking tail at Big Diamond and Bridgeport on a weekly basis, but lack of special event podiums keeps him out of the top 10.
Duane Howard: Doing as expected at Grandview and Big Diamond, but we've got to be honest, had it not been for a special event win at New Egypt, he might not have made it here.
Jeff Strunk: Mr. Strunk comes through here with a pair of wins in the review period at Grandview and a couple of special event podiums. Had he raced a bit more, he'd be in consideration for a top 10 appearance.
Gage Morin: For the second straight month, Morin earns mention here for the career year he's currently having with highs in wins, top fives and top 10's. In the review period, he took wins at Mowhawk and Brockville and a top 10 finish at SDS Cornwall. He's one to watch folks.