Okay folks, it's time for another edition of our Northeast Modified Rankings! Remember, we throw it all together here, big blocks, 358's, from all areas of the north east and Canada on Hoosiers or American Racers. Sail Panels or not, it does not matter as long as it's a modified! So check it out and enjoy how we rank the best of the best in north east modified action
Want to see last edition? Look no further Volume 1- TDN NE Modified Rankings
For the second volume, we'll use anything from May 5th up until this past weekend as fair game as far as results go.
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. Matt Sheppard: Last Month 4th
There might not be a more undisputed case for the number one spot in the history of these rankings! Sheppard's won a total of 12 races in the past two months, including 3 SDS tour victories (2 at Canandaigua 1 at Grandview), and 9 weekly wins plus a Race of Champions win at Utica-Rome too. What's even more impressive, Super Matt's only finished worse than 10th one time start since May 5th. Can he maintain the pace? Is he peaking too soon? Time will tell, but if he doesn't, he'll be holding our TDN Cup come November.
2. Billy Decker: Last Month 3rd
Mr. Decker hasn't been light's out in the weekly shows, but has been solid at his home tracks which include some of the toughest places, (Brewerton, Fulton, Utica-Rome). He's got wins at all three in this review period, plus a SDS tour win at Utica-Rome too. Catching Sheppard would be hard without some misfortune on Super Matt's part.
3. Larry Wight: Last Month Unranked
Had he won at Canandaigua last week in SDS action, he's got second place and there's no doubt about it. He was as close as you can get to a win too. Let's face it, if you've been paying attention, his early season comes as no surprise. He's always had the aggressiveness, but he's starting tone that with some finesse. Wight's runs the same home tracks as Decker being with the Gypsum Express outfit, but he's actually got a better record in weekly action at all three of them, including four wins at Fulton in 8 tries. What we're saying, is that he's arrived to a certain degree. And if you're not familiar with him now, you soon will be, he's an amazing talent!
4. Danny Johnson: Last Month 1st
Dr Johnson is making weekly house calls at Ransomville (358's) and Fulton this season and that's a great thing as he'll have a true home track and can challenge for the SDS title. And in the weekly action, he's got three wins so far, and he's still spreading himself around..um driving at different places on Sundays. He's been a top 5 fixture in SDS action so far and STSS (Short Track Super Series) events too. He's here because he runs everywhere, runs often, and is always a threat to win as evidenced by his 10 victories so far in 2015. He's still aging like a fine wine, and is a testament to Metamucil and geritol effectiveness!
5. Stewart Friesen: Last Month 2nd
His winning percentage at Fonda is insane, (7 wins in 9 tries) and he collected a 2nd win at Utica-Rome. He's got 12 wins on the year and may hit 25 when it's all said and done. Why is he fifth? Because he's been incredibly average in SDS action so far. He looks great some nights, and others not so much. Some of that is bad luck, and after last year, he was due for some. All is not lost here as he's still had a season most would kill for, but when will he consistently start winning some money races? Fans were looking forward to what Friesen could do full time on the SDS tour, and so far, he's been a disappointment.
6. Rick Laubach: Last Month 6th
The Quaker Shaker has two STSS victories and 8 wins overall and looks unbeatable in southeastern PA. We wish he'd get a big block full time and mix it up in SDS action, but the weekly purses where he runs are sweet and there's no reason for him two aside from our selfish motivations at TDN.
7. Brett Hearn: Last Month 7th
The corporate jet has been tearing it up at his usual season homes (Albany Saratoga and Lebanon Valley), with his fair share of wins. But one top 5 in seven SDS races just won't get it done here in our rankings. That actually hurts to write that about Hearn, and maybe he can pull out of it with a win at the rescheduled Big Show later on in August. This isn't the aging slide towards the end, but just an unexplainable bad year for him in the specials.
8.Duane Howard: Last Month Unranked
Okay, so maybe he's not got any gaudy SDS stats, but he takes care of business at Big Diamond and Grandview, in fact he might take two championships there this year if the Quaker Shaker can slip on a banana peel. He's got six wins on the season, and something tells us he's got a big money win or two on the horizon.
9. Mike Mahaney: Last Month Unranked
He's got 9 wins in action at I-88, Thunder Mountain and Utica-Rome this year and has had a great two months. Not much activity in specials just yet, but his U/R progress is extremely encouraging as Shepherd, Friesen, Decker, Wight, Ward and friends are found there on Sundays, and Mahaney's bested them twice there!
10. Gary Tomkins: Last Month 10th
The venerable Mr. Tomkins has put all 8 Canandaigua starts in the top 5! And he's won two of them. The SDS series hasn't exactly been kind to him, but he'll find a way to play a factor in a couple of them down the stretch, battling for the win. Still, his weekly performance stacks up there with the best of them.
Chad Brachmann: Stuns the crowd at Oshweken with an SDS tour win and has been fine at Ransomville and Merrittville in weekly action.
Jimmy Phelps: He's been consistent at the toughest home tracks in the biz, and in SDS Series action as well with 4 top 5's in seven appearances
Billy Dunn: He was off our radar for a while, but with his SDS performance and Merrittville record, he's back on!
Gage Morin: A coming out party perhaps? Morin's been the mayor of Brockville and looked impressive doing so.
Erick Rudolph: He'll be back in the top 10, not to worry. He's in a transitional period since losing the Page trucking ride. Great drivers land on their feet. He will!
Danny Creeden: He's four for four at Five Mile Point, and stunned those who hadn't heard of him with an STSS win. Keep a sharp eye on him.
Rex King Jr: He's on top in the west and scored a $5,000 pay day at Tyler County Speedway in BRP Mod Tour action