Prior to the 2012 Short Track Draft on Speed51.com, Bubba Pollard wondered what he needed to do to put his name at the top of the draft board. The simple fact was that he needed to do exactly what he ended up doing during the 2011 season.
At the age of 25, Pollard won a career high 19 races that year in the Southeast, all of which were 100 laps in distance or more. The only thing Pollard didn’t do that season was win the bigger races; however, he won the Rattler 250 in the spring of 2012 to earn himself the number-one pick in the 2012 Short Track Draft. Since then, Pollard has established himself as one of the most successful and well-known pavement short track racers.
Another driver who had his stock rising prior to the 2012 Short Track Draft was Ross Kenseth, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth. The younger Kenseth won six times in 2011, but more importantly he was in contention in just about every race, with 21 top 10’s in 31 starts. He won the Joe Shear Classic and the Wayne Carter Classic that year before being selected second in the 2012 draft.
Daniel Hemric, who known competes full-time on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit, was third in what was an extremely close battle for the top draft spot. Hemric had won a Tour-type Modified race at New Smyrna Speedway during Florida Speedweeks to add to his Super Late Model win there. His Legends Car success was over shadowed once he drove for Scott Neal on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour circuit. The dream team combination won eight times in 14 races on tracks he’d never seen. He was never lower than fourth in races he fished that season.
Biggest Bust: Dylan Kwasniewski – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series hype train gave us Dylan Kwasniewski on both the east coast and the west coast where he took titles in each region. He made his way to the Xfinity Series where we only got to see one full season from this driver at the age of 19. Sponsorship issues resulted in a limited schedule the next year before things desolved. Maybe he got moved up too fast or burned out, but another year might have gone a long way.
Biggest Steal: Erik Jones – Fresh off the ARCA/CRA Super Series title, many who saw him race knew what they were looking at. Some were still not sold. Jones won the Florida Governor’s Cup 200 in his second Super Late Model start. In 2012, he didn’t win a single race during the first 11 months of the season before winning the Snowball Derby in December. The rest is history.
Next Level: The 2012 Short Track Draft may go down in history as one of the most talented draft classes ever. A total of 10 drivers in that year’s draft class are now competing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series. Those drivers are: Daniel Hemric (3rd), Erik Jones (4th), Corey LaJoie (5th), Darrell Wallace, Jr. (7th), Ryan Blaney (8th), Kyle Larson (13th), Alex Bowman (19th), Chris Buescher (20th), Ryan Preece (24th) and Matt DiBenedetto (40th).
2012 Short Track Draft Results
|7||Darrell Wallace Jr.|
|12||Bobby Santos III|
|25||Joey Polewarczyk Jr.|
|30||John Hunter Nemechek|
|33||George Brunnhoelzl III|
|34||Ronnie Bassett Jr.|