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The Most Memorable Short Track Moments of 2021

The 2021 short track season produced countless memories and happenings


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The 2021 short track season was eventful to be sure.

Following a disjoined 2020, this was the summer that everything mostly started to feel normal again. Sure, there remains a tire shortage that will continue to challenge teams and promoters alike, but the schedules are starting to look familiar as were the drivers winning the marquee events.

Matt Hirschman continues to be the face of Open Tour Type Modified competition. Justin Bonsignore captured his third NASCAR Modified Tour championship in four seasons. Wilson Motorsports, Campbell Motorsports and Team M continue to carry the banner for Super Late Models across their respective regions, while Bobby McCarty and Josh Berry continued to represent Late Model Stock Cars with aplomb.

Speaking of Berry, the 31-year-old proved that the best short trackers could compete with anyone in NASCAR by winning two Xfinity Series races in a makeshift season that also included starts in both the Cup Series and Truck Series.

We lost tracks that were very dear to us while others reopened after a hiatus.

There is a tremendous enthusiasm for grassroots racing right now. Due to platforms like Racing America, every major event can be viewed anywhere across the planet and pavement racers have more reach than ever before.

If 2021 was the understanding of that potential, 2022 can be the first step towards realizing it. With that said, here are the most impactful stories from this past year.

50. ACT, PASS Keeps Thompson Oval Open

There is a very strong likelihood that there would be no oval racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park without Cris Michaud and Tom Mayberry. The promoters of the American Canadian Tour and Pro All Stars Series respectively teamed together to promote the 82nd season of competition at the historic 5/8-mile oval and will do so again in 2022. The Connecticut venue is an extremely important facet of the New England short track scene, and everyone should be grateful that it remains open to the discipline.

49. Matt Hirschman Wins Sixth Tri-Track Championship

Matt Hirschman is now a six-time Tri-Track Open Modified Series champion. The redundancy shouldn’t take away from the greatness especially during a season in which he bested NASCAR Tour champion Justin Bonsignore, Ronnie Silk, Ronnie Williams and Chase Dowling across at Monadnock Speedway, Star Speedway and Seekonk Speedway over six races. Tri-Track has incredibly stout lineup and his wins came in the two biggest races within the mini-series in the SBM Classic at Star and the Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk.

48. Jukasa Motor Speedway Shut Down

Just as quickly as short track fans in Canada regained its crown jewel, it was again taken away in 2021. Jukasa Motor Speedway never reopened after losing the 2020 season due to the pandemic and permanently closed in 2021 following the passing of co-owner Ken Hill in January. Located south of Hamilton, Ontario, the former Cayuga Motor Speedway opened in 1966 as a dirt track but was paved the following year. At 5/8-mile, it was the largest paved oval track north of the border. Under the ownership of Hill and Jerry Montour of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, the track promoted NASCAR Pinty’s, United Pro Late Model series events and the prestigious Canadian Short Track Nationals. It’s unclear what the Six Nations Tribe intends to do with the property moving forward.

47. Peyton Sellers' NASCAR National Championship

There are 16 years separating each time Peyton Sellers claimed the NASCAR Weekly Series National Championship. Back in 2005, Sellers still had ambitions of advancing to the Cup Series, but at 38, Sellers is more concerned with the stewardship of the short track industry. He continues to set the example of what it means to be a sponsorship partner, graceful winner and general ambassador for the industry. The 2021 championship was claimed with 12 wins at South Boston Speedway and nine at Dominion Raceway.

46. Speedfest Moved to Showtime and Eventually Canceled

Speedfest was originally scheduled to take place at Watermelon Capital Speedway in January but was moved to Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park, Florida after Crisp County, Georgia officials prohibited the event from taking place due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Ultimately, the rescheduled race did not take place due a lower than anticipated car count. However …

45. Steve Dorer wins Florida Fest

While Speedfest ultimately didn't take place on January 23, Showtime Speedway independently contested a Super Late Model race and Steve Dorer won the Florida Fest that took place instead. Dorer nudged Anthony Sergi out of the way with 40 to go and held off Stephen Nasse on a restart with less than 10 laps to take the $15,000 prize. The event started 21 cars with the likes of Jeremy Pate, Kyle Plott, George Gorham Jr. and Jake Garcia also contending for the win.

44. Carson Kvapil Emerges as Top Prospect

This is the year Carson Kvapil emerged on a national scale as a prospect to watch into the coming years. He claimed the CARS Tour Super Late Model championship with four wins, including one against a stacked field at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in the North South Showdown. He closed out the season with a handful of starts in the JR Motorsports Late Model Stock, and will inherit that ride full-time next season with Josh Berry moving to the Xfinity Series.

43. Callihan Wins for the Little Guys at Dominion

In April, Davey Callihan won the second half of a Late Model Stock doubleheader at Dominion Raceway to break a winless streak that dated back to Old Dominion in 2012. Since then, Callihan gave dirt bikes a try and had won 10 races in a Limited Late Model. But his victory that afternoon came against the stalwarts of the region in Peyton Sellers, Doug Barnes, Trent Barnes and Grayson Cullather. It was a win for the little guys.

42. Dennis Spencer Upsets PASS North at Oxford

Oxford Plains Speedway is something of a wild card on the Pro All Stars Series schedule, a track where a weekly racer has a great shot to earn an upset victory, and that’s exactly what Dennis Spencer Jr. delivered on October 17. Spencer captured his first PASS North victory by holding off 2019 Oxford track champion Curtis Gerry, his first touring win since 2006 when he won a PASS Outlaw Late Model race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

41. Boris Jurkovic Returns from Violent Crash at Berlin

Boris Jurkovic needed the jaws of life to extract him from his car following a crash with David Fretz on May 22 at Berlin Raceway. The 51-year-old spent four days in the hospital and required surgeries to repair two broken patella, the attached tendons and particles. Remarkably, Jurkovic would be racing and contending for wins by the end of the year after moving to Florida.

40. Beech Ridge Sold to Developers

Beech Ridge Motor Speedway owner Andy Cusack informed teams and track staff on Sept. 12 that he entered into an agreement to sell the facility his family had owned since 1981. It potentially leaves Maine without another race track and one that had been the home to many memories and great races over several generations.

39. Burt Myers SMART Tour Championship

Burt Myers has been around long enough to have participated in the previous version of the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams series and even won a championship back in 2002. Thus, it was special for Myers to be the first champion of the revived SMART Tour in 2021 after a 16-year hiatus. It was especially rewarding after the disappointing way he lost the Bowman Gray Stadium championship earlier in the summer. It took four consecutive Top-5s to close out the 2021 championship and that was a point of pride for the veteran ground pounder.

38. Nick Sweet Ties Legend with Milk Bowl Win

It wasn't so much that Nick Sweet captured a record tying fourth Milk Bowl at Thunder Road on Oct. 17 but how he accomplished it. He had only entered the race the Monday before, having just recovered from a bout of COVID-19. To top it off, Sweet completed the final segment of the race with oil leaking out the bottom of his expired engine. Robbie Crouch is the only other driver to have won the race four times.

37. Justin T. Carroll and Justin Johnson Fight at Tri-County

It was really the only example of a good ole' fashioned short track pit fight of 2021. Justin Johnson and Justin T. Carroll, plus their respective teams engaged in a little extracurricular activity following a Late Model Stock feature at Tri County Motor Speedway on May 15. There were two different points of contention -- contact between Heafner in a Carroll owned car and Johnson under caution and hard driving for the win between them immediately afterwards. There was prior bad blood between the two parties but it animosity simmered in the weeks afterwards as they rarely race against each other.

36. Keith Rocco 'Beats Tour Guys' in the Thompson 300

Keith Rocco made a statement in winning the first Thompson 300 held since 2005. Yes, the $20,000 check was a significant prize, but it was who he beat that represented the biggest point of prize for the SK Modified regular. "They all say ‘well, you’re not a [Whelen Modified] Tour driver… I don’t want to sound cocky, but we just beat all the Tour drivers." The Open Tour Type Modified race drew 25 drivers, most of them race in the Tour, but was bested by one of the top SK drivers of this era.

35. Gennaro Palumbo Wins Franklin Charger Title After Tragedy

Longtime Frankin County Speedway racer Calvin Brooks lost his life after suffering a heart attack behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock race in April. His grandson, 14-year-old Gennaro Palumbo carried the family banner in the Charger division throughout the summer and claimed the championship by the end of the season. The championship was won in the car driven by Brooks with support from Jimmy Mullins.

34. Gabe Brown Claims Granite State Pro Stock Crown

Gabe Brown won three times in Granite State Pro Stocks competition over the summer and had the championship closed out one race before the season ended. As if to place the exclamation mark on the season, the 19-year-old won the finale at Claremont Motorsports Park. The youngster matured a lot in 2021, shedding an aggressive label in exchange for one marking him as a champion.

33. Derek Griffith Goes Back-to-Back in World Series

Derek Griffith won a second consecutive World Series of Asphalt Super Late Model championship in 2021 with three victories in seven races. With that, he became the first driver to claim consecutive championships since Pete Orr accomplished the feat from 1992-94. Pete Hamilton (1974-75), Junior Hanley (1980-81) and Dick Trickle (1984-86) are the only other drivers to win consecutive Super Late Model championships in the World Series, an event dating back to 1968.


32. Coastal Plains Reopens as Goodyear All-American

After an over two-year hiatus, the former Coastal Plains Raceway returned to life as Goodyear All-American Raceway under the stewardship of Anthony Goodyear. The track first reopened in March and was acquired by the Goodyears in June. The abbreviated schedule concluded with the Battle of the Stars in November, a marquee Late Model Stock race won by Josh Berry, with an even fuller slate scheduled for 2022. In an era where so many tracks have permanently shuttered, it’s refreshing to spotlight one that has reopened.

31. Johnny Clark Earns 10th PASS North Championship

It took 10 years, but Johnny Clark finally clinched his seventh PASS North championship in 2021. The accomplishment was earned with three wins in 17 starts. The 10 years between championships was the largest gap in the history of the Pro All Stars Series. Over the past six seasons, Clark had only won three times, but one of them was, of course, the 2020 Oxford 250, so they were hardly lost seasons. And at 42-years-old, an eighth championship isn’t entirely out of the question either.

30. Jon McKennedy's ISMA Supermod Success

Jon McKennedy is undefeated in ISMA Supermodified competition since 2019 and the success has translated to Tour Type Modified competition too. Lepine Motorsports has rewarded McKennedy with a NASCAR Modified Tour entry in 2022. Tim and Cheryl Lepine are major supporters of the 34-year-old. His wins in 2021 included the Star Classic 125, the series stops at Claremont, Monadnock and Seekonk.

29. Ben Rowe Walks Off ACT Title in Final Corner

The 2021 ACT season consisted of 12 races but the championship was decided by mere inches. Ben Rowe entered the finale two points behind DJ Shaw. The pair battled for the win at Seekonk with Rowe completing the decisive pass in the final corner, winning the drag race across the finish line and taking the championship by five points. This was easily the most dramatic championship finish of 2021.

28. LP Dumoulin Claims Third Pinty's Series Crown

LP Dumoulin has become one of the most successfully diverse racers in North America over his past decade in the Pinty's Series. He's capable of winning on any given week from short oval, one-miler, road course or city streets. He has now joined Andrew Ranger and Scott Steckly as the only drivers to have won at least three Canadian NASCAR championships. He has never finished worse than sixth in the standings over the past 10 years. He will attempt to tie Steckly with four championships and maybe even win a race on dirt too.

27. Matt Hirschman Nets Another World Series

It’s become a fait accompli of sorts each February as Matt Hirschman claimed his third Tour Type Modified World Series of Asphalt of championship in four years at New Smyrna Speedway. He closed out the championship with another victory in the Richie Evans Memorial 100 over Ryan Preece. His fifth victory in the Richie Evans Memorial 100 tied the late Ted Christopher for the most victories in the annual event. All told, Florida Speedweeks has become the personal playground of the No. 60 team between stops at New Smyrna and nearby Bronson.


26. Tour Type Modified Demo Derby at the County Fair

Before winning the week-long championship, Matt Hirschman described the week of racing at New Smyrna Speedway as ‘a demo derby at the county fair.’ It was a messy start to the week with several major multi-car incidents over the first three nights. During that stretch — a total of 161 green-flag laps — there were eight red flags. The shortest race to complete, a 35-lapper on the second night, still took 50 minutes to run. The entire first 161 laps took four hours to complete. The carnage sent several teams home early and the racing finally settled down for the final two nights. It was a memorable start to Speedweeks, however.

25. CARS Tour Trades Super Lates for Pro Lates

The Carolinas and Virginias are Late Model Stock country. As a result, there isn’t a lot of sealed motor straight-rail competition in that region. To maintain a quality car count, CARS Tour has begun co-sanctioning races with the Southern Super Series and CRA Super Series, but ultimately opted to implement a Pro Late Model division instead for 2022. The decision makes a lot of sense as crate motor engines frequently entered and occasionally won CARS Super Late races on the shortest tracks anyway. All told, this provides Pro Late Model teams with a chance to race for the biggest purses in the category next season.

24. Derek Griffith Sweeps Easter Bunny 150s

The 2020 Easter Bunny 150 did not take place due to the COVID-19 shutdown. As a result, the Pro All Stars Series contested both the 2020 and 2021 runnings on the same weekend this past year. Derek Griffith swept both races against a 33-car field that also featured Carson Hocevar, DJ Shaw, Mike Hopkins, Joey Pole and the national PASS contenders. Both races at Hickory Motor Speedway paid $5,000-to-win and counted towards the PASS National Championship.

23. The Redbud 400 and the Short Track Code

On one hand, there has been a long debate about how to race on Midwestern bullrings, regarding the decision to use the bumper or pass without significant contact. On the other hand, Anderson Speedway is a high banked, high speed quarter mile and this was the Redbud 400. That was the topic of conversation after Kyle Crump shoved Austin Nason out of the way on a late restart to win the race. Just a few laps before, a dominant Dalton Armstrong had been sent to the rear for contact with defending winner Carson Hocevar. Armstrong charged back through the field but needed to use the bumper several times to get by Stephen Nasse. In retaliation, Nasse sent Armstrong around in the next corner. The race was a 400-lap example of the various codes of short track racing.

22. Eric Goodale Wins Modified Tour Return to Martinsville

There was a time when Martinsville Speedway was considered the Daytona 500 for Tour Type Modifieds. It took a decade for the NASCAR Tour to return to the Virginia half-mile and Eric Goodale's victory was a career defining achievement. The 35-year-old said winning a grandfather clock is matched only by his inaugural Tour victory that came at home at Riverhead in 2014. The Long Island native especially took pride in the win because it followed his worst season, in which he made several changes to his team, which produced this win and a career best sixth-place championship result.

21. Bobby Labonte Wins SMART Tour Race at Dillon

Bobby Labonte has taken to Tour Type Modified racing over the past several years. First came a handful of starts at Bowman Gray Stadium and then a one-off in the SMART Tour. That led to the 2000 champion entering a majority of SMART races in 2021 around his Superstar Racing Experience schedule. Winning a race at Dillon in August was especially rewarding because it came in a car that is still new to him and tracks he had never raced at before. Thus, Labonte hopes to have even more success in 2022 with repeat stops on the SMART schedule.

20. North Carolina Budgets for Short Track Renovations

North Carolina has earmarked several millions of dollars to go towards motorsports in the state. That includes $18 million for North Wilkesboro and $9 million to Rockingham Speedway for infrastructure repair. The budget also allots $1 million for state short tracks through the Department of Commerce. Tracks must meet the criteria and will need to submit a proposal for how the money would be spent. Motorsports contributes over $5 billion to the state economy each year, thus the state using a portion of the federal American Rescue Plan on the de facto state sport.

19. Bobby McCarty Dominates CARS Tour Campaign

The path to the CARS Tour championship runs through Bobby McCarty. And this year, no one was able to get through the Nelson Motorsports No. 22. McCarty won three times in 13 starts with a 5.38 average finish. Most impressive is that McCarty only once finished outside of the top-10. His wins came at Hickory, Motor Mile and South Boston. That's three championships over his four full-time seasons.

18. Late Model Stock Chassis-Gate

Beginning in August, NASCAR sanctioned tracks issued weight penalties to Late Model Stock car builders using two pieces of steel for tubing or were found to have improperly angled steering boxes. It was a constant point of conversation in the Late Model Stock community and into the off-season. No disqualifications were ultimately issued but how to level the playing field is a constant cat and mouse game.

17. Cassius Clark Finally Wins the Oxford 250

It took 14 years, but Cassius Clark finally captured the big one. Clark had averaged a sixth place finish in the eight years that preceded 2021, but just hadn't been able to close out. More impressive, Clark had only run one other race since last year’s Oxford 250 – the Pro All Stars Series’ prelude to the 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway two weeks before, a race he won. In short, Clark made a point to put everything he had into the Oxford 250 and it paid off in his 14th attempt in the 48th running of the Late Model classic.

16. Derek Thorn Dominates the West and More

It's really incredible the body of work Derek Thorn, crew chief Mike Keen and Byron Campbell Motorsports are putting together on both sides of the coast. Thorn captured his sixth SRL SPEARS Southwest Tour championship this season by winning nine of 10 races in a series that also includes Jacob Gomes, Buddy Shepherd, Preston Peltier and Jeremy Doss. These are not freebie wins. They won eight of nine last year too. Then they come to the East Coast where they won the Snowball Derby pole, Snowflake 100 pole and contend late for the Tom Dawson Trophy. They haven't closed out on the big one yet, but they continue to win everything else they enter these days. It's incredible.

15. The Big Snowflake 100 Crash

Derek Thorn withstood the pressure from Jake Garcia and led all 100 laps of the Snowflake 100, but the drama was directly behind them. Noah Gragson took Ryan Luza and Johanna Long-Robbins three-wide on a Lap 55 restart, triggering a multi-car incident that also eliminated Derek Griffith, Austin McDonald and William Sawalich. Gragson had won the Last Chance Race earlier in the afternoon and had charged from outside the top-30 to just outside the top-5 by the closing stages of the race. There was an altercation in the pit area by a crew member from the Long-Robbins team and Gragson and fans both voiced support for and against Gragson for the daring move.


14. Justin Bonsignore Wins NWMT Championship

Justin Bonsignore is putting together a legendary streak of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour seasons. Since becoming a full-timer in 2010, Bonsignore was always good for at least a win a season, but 2014 is where the Ken Massa Motorsports No. 51 took off with three wins and a third-place points run. Since then, Bonsignore has averaged five wins a year with three championships in four seasons with no points finish worse than third since 2016.

13. Landon Pembelton Upsets in Martinsville 300 Return

It was already a big enough story that the Valleystar Credit Union 300 returned after a one-year hiatus stemming from the pandemic, but it was an even better story that second-generation racing 16-year-old Landon Pembleton became the youngest winner in race history. The son of short tracker Brian Pembelton scored just his second ever Late Model Stock win in the biggest race of the year against the best overall entry list of the season. It was a career defining moment that came a lot sooner than anyone could have anticipated. How Pembelton follows up in 2022 will be of great interest to the short track community.

12. The Winchester 400 Finish

It was the final lap of the Super Late Model classic and the win would be decided by contact between leader Jack Smith and Sammy Smith. The two came together on the backstretch and it sent Jack Smith around. CRA race control then sent Sammy Smith to the rear of the field for contact, which didn't matter much because only six cars were running anyway, and Smith came all the way back to take the win during the decisive green-white-checkered finish.

11. Fairgrounds Speedway Nears NASCAR, Renovation Deal

There is still much work to be done, but it’s more likely than not that Speedway Motorsports will receive the lease to promote Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway over the next several years. Once the agreement becomes official, a renovation project will begin to modernize the oldest continually operating short track in the country in advance of a NASCAR Cup Series event. Local racing is expected to continue as part of the new agreement as well. For a venue that has spent the past three decades at risk of closure, the developments of the past two years is a spectacular turn of events for a track that every stock car racer has positive feelings for.

10. Kyle Busch Closes Super Late Program ... For Now

The two-time Cup Series champion shuttered his Super Late Model program last off-season but promised to someday return. For now, the two-time Cup Series champion is extra invested in son Brexton’s burgeoning karting ambitions in addition to the growth of the Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck Series operation. Kyle Busch Motorsports has won four times in the Snowball Derby, four in the Winchester 400 and wins in the All-American 400, Oxford 250, Winter Showdown, Rattler 250 and Slinger Nationals. It has launched several careers, including Erik Jones, Christopher Bell, Noah Gragson, Raphael Lessard and Chandler Smith.

9. Luke Fenhaus Wins Slinger, Earns SRX Spot

Luke Fenhaus returned the bump-and-run Derek Kraus delivered to him 10 laps before and it resulted in the biggest win of his young career in the Slinger Nationals. As if it wasn’t big enough to collect the $10,000 check and add his name to the list of winners, the victory also carried with it an opportunity to compete with Superstar Racing Experience the next weekend at Slinger Speedway. Fenhaus dominated much of the race except for the tap he received from Kraus, but he never lost his cool, and retook the spot en route to the biggest spotlight he had ever received.

8. Doug Coby Wins SRX Opener

It was the ultimate victory for everyone associated with short track racing on a warm Saturday night under the lights in New Enlgand. Racing in front of his home crowd at Stafford Motor Speedway in an event watched by over a million viewers on CBS, Doug Coby outdueled Tony Stewart, Marco Andretti, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the debut Superstar Racing Experience event. Coby used the spotlight to celebrate short track drivers all across the country and parlayed it into a NASCAR Truck Series opportunity later in the summer with GMS Racing.

7. Rockingham Tests Go Nowhere

CARS Tour shocked and excited the short track industry by adding Rockingham Raceway to the 2021 Late Model Stock schedule. The event was pending a series of tire tests over the winter, but that’s where the event was ultimately derailed. The track was way too fast and way too abrasive for Late Model Stock Cars. CARS Tour considered adding a restrictor plate, but that was rejected by the teams. The racing surface also started to come apart during the test. Ultimately, the race was delayed to allow Hoosier to make a custom tire compound for the event, but the national tire shortage made that an impossibility and the race has been scrapped for the foreseeable future.

6. Rich Bickle's Final Season

Rich Bickle very much retired on his own terms after the Snowball Derby. He won the Joe Shear Classic in April. He also won the Jim Sauter Classic at Dells in September. The living legend finished fourth in the Midwest Tour championship standings. He came just short of winning the Bill Bigley Memorial 128 at Punta Gorda in November. A week later, he closed out his career by finishing 31st in the Snowball Derby -- a race he won five times through his career.

5. Bowman Gray's Wild Season Finale

It was a championship race befitting of an episode of 'Madhouse.' Tim Brown, Burt Myers and Brandon Ward are Bowman Gray Stadium icons, and they combined to write the latest controversial chapter in Bowman Gray Stadium history on August 22. Brown and Myers were racing for an 11th track championship. With 43 laps to go, Ward interjected himself into the championship narrative with a retaliatory act against Myers under caution after being spun while racing for third. Ward preceded to chase Myers around the track under caution, drilling the 10-time champion from behind, and ultimately sending him around. All under caution. Ward was parked. The damage was done, and Myers was unable to hold Brown off for fifth. Brown became the first 11-time track champion under the most 'Stadium' circumstances ever.

4. Bowman Gray Reopens after COVID Shutdown

That racing even returned to Bowman Gray Stadium in 2021 was a story unto itself. The entire 2020 season was lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was sorely missed by the 10,000 fans that pack into the Madhouse every time the gates open. Say what you will about its brand of theater and competition, but it means a great deal to Winston-Salem and the racing community that supports it every year.

3. Chandler Smith Wins Snowball Derby

No one will remember how you won the Snowball Derby. They'll just remember that you did. There is still some debate over the bump-and-run that allowed Chandler Smith to overtake a dominant Derek Thorn on a restart with 11 laps to go. To that point, Thorn had led every lap from the pole and Smith made a decision to do whatever it took to not permit him to drive away. All history will ultimately remember is that Smith won the biggest race of the year for Wilson Motorsports.

2. Josh Berry's 2021 Season

Josh Berry has been the exemplary short track racer for the better part of a decade. On merit, he deserved more, and with every track championship, CARS Tour championship and the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship, it became a matter of who was going to step up to fund an opportunity at the highest levels. JR Motorsports secured it for the 31-year-old in 2021, and he capitalized with two Xfinity Series wins, two Cup Series starts and 10 appearances in the Truck Series. It earned him a full-time Xfinity Series ride in 2022. Berry also piled-up additional short track wins in 2021. It was the American short track dream realized for one of the most admired racers in the country.

1. Overcoming the Tire Shortage

It was the biggest story of the year -- tracks and sanctioning bodies feverishly working around the clock to secure tires from Hoosier and American Racer so races could take place as scheduled. All things considered, with only a handful of cancellations, the industry responded to the moment with remarkable poise. Racers were largely understanding of the dynamic. It wasn't perfect, but everyone worked together to make the most of a challenging situation in 2021, and that’s worth celebrating.