You can check out the first three volumes below:
2015 North East Modified Rankings Volume 1
2015 North East Modified Rankings Volume 2
2015 North East Modified Rankings Volume 3
For this edition, we'll be using the time from August 27th to October 4th as the official review period. The weekly action is over for this ranking period, so we'll be focusing on the money races from now until our final edition in November!
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. Stewart Friesen - Last Ranking- 3rd
We're at that point of the season where the money races play a bigger part of these rankings, and it's a tough call this month. We could really have 1 and 1A here, but we'll give the nod to Friesen who had it not been for mechanical gremlins at Fulton in the Outlaw 200 could have four big money wins in the review period. Friesen completed an Super DIRTcar Series hat trick which straddled the period with SDS wins at Ransomville and Rolling Wheels plus a 2nd at Fonda. Throw in a Short Track Super Series Win at Thunder Mountain and as of right now, he's got the slightest of edges over our second ranked driver. Friesen looks primed to take another trophy home at the Moody Mile.
2. Billy Decker - Last Ranking- 5th
Decker ended the review period as hot as Friesen began it, and is coming into prime form at the right time! Decker snagged the SDS tour win at Fonda in late September and then took home the money in the Outlaw 200 at Fulton. What's more, his consistency has returned which makes rumors of being on shaky ground at team Gypsum all the more puzzling. If Friesen is to be toppled in his quest to go back to back at Syracuse, Decker will definitely be one of the guys doing the toppling.
3. Matt Sheppard - Last Ranking- 1st
His dominant weekly season is now over, and it's onto the year end specials for Super Matt where to be quite honest, he's looked non Sheppard-like. He did however snag a nice $10,000 pay check at the Race of Champions sanctioned New York-er 200 at Utica-Rome, which is really only a 100 lap race but we digress. He's been finishing outside the top 5 for a little while now when the best of the best are put together. We can't tell if it's time to be concerned, or if it's a calm before an October storm, but we'd bet on the latter.
4. Larry Wight- Last Ranking- 7th
Young Mr. Wight rises in this edition on the heels of an SDS tour win at Autodrome Granby and and podium finishes at Fonda and Ransomville and another podium at the Outlaw 200. Like his Gypsum teammate he's getting hot at the right time and probably makes the best dark horse selection for the Super DIRT Week finale! This season for him has proved one thing, that the greatness we saw in 2014, stuck around throughout the entire year for the most part with no huge dips in results except for a hard luck second middle stretch. He rebounded!
5. Jimmy Phelps - Last Ranking- 4th
He's got a weekly win at Brewerton and a top 10 or top 5 virtually everywhere else he's put the car on the track. Look for a satellite show win from him during SDW, and a win at the mile is not completely out of the question should he wind up with some luck.
6. Duane Howard- Last Ranking- Honorable Mention
Had he run a little more in some of the other big money shows, he probably makes the top five for sure. Nevertheless, Howard won the All Star Shootout at New Egypt and ran fourth at the Freedom 76er at Grandview and everything else has been in the top five.
7. Brett Hearn - Last Ranking- 2nd
Wow! Mr. Hearn has run across hard times ever since he ran out of gas, on the track anyway, (some say he never runs out of gas and stand downwind of him). Since the review period has started, Hearn's finished outside the top 10 more times than in it, but did manage a weekly win at Albany-Saratoga. Still though, there is great reason to expect a win or podium finish in the 200, it's the last one and he's going to give it everything he has.
8. Danny Johnson- Last Ranking- 8th
He's actually started 90 races this year, most of any other modified driver which is quite an accomplishment for a man his age. He's had a rough second half and a fair review period for the Dr's standards, garnering weekly win at Ransomville and some podiums here and there. There'd probably be more if the 358 DIRTcar series weren't so protracted this year (what happens to it in 2016?). But anyway, we're hoping for a turnaround for him at SDW.
9. Tim Fuller - Last Ranking- Unranked
He's been a quiet soul for most of the year. A new car, new ride and time away from full time modified racing will do that for you. But as the season's gone along, he's gotten better and now he's getting consistent in the money shows. Fuller's put almost everything in the top 10 lately, including a 4th place finish at the Outlaw 200. Perhaps it was a little too much to expect him to jump right back into action and be a title contender. But if the season started today, he'd be among the 5 or so drivers with a chance at a title.
10. Ryan Godown- Last Ranking- Unranked
And we welcome Mr. Godown back to the top 10 this time out with a New Egypt win and a Coalcracker 72 win at Big Diamond with pretty much every PA/NJ star in the house.
Craig VonDohren: Hat's off to the PA/NJ veteran who snagged $25,000 in the Freedom 76er with the victory. He's quietly gone about his business and had a very good season at Grandview this year.
Mat Williamson: Mighty Mat's been keeping it close by lately with a handful of races since his red hot August....it's a calm before a storm, and odds are if you haven't heard much about him already, he'll be a household name by November..stay tuned.
Erick Rudolph: Continuing his true outlaw season, Mr Rudolph took home three wins in various weekly and unsanctioned specials. He's been active too, spending time with the SDS, RoC and STSS too, and he's basically a threat to win on a given night in all three.
Kevin Hartnett & Jordan Watson: Co honorable mentions go to Mr. Hartnett and Mr. Watson who each took home tour wins on their home tracks with Hartnett winning the RoC "Clash at the Can" while Watson found himself in victory lane at Georgetown in STSS action.
And that'll do it for this edition. We've got one more to go as a season in review awaits you all in November when we unveil our North East Modified Driver of the Year!