Some special numbers

The latest issue of Late Model Digest, released May 8, contains our judgments of the top current pavement Late Model performers using each of the 110 one- and two-digit car numbers.

Remember that LMD editions are now digital and free. Last Friday’s issue is available here:

There were some very close races, so to speak, for the top honors of some of the numbers. Some were reflected in the cover images, such as the #02 of Late Model Stock Car standouts C.E. Falk III and Justin Milliken, and the #26 of Super Late Model powerhouses Bubba Pollard and Travis Braden plus LMSC star Peyton Sellers.

One number with surprisingly few Late Model regulars using it was #18. I figured plenty more would try to copy Kyle Busch, the most polarizing driver in NASCAR today, but there weren’t that many regulars. Keep in mind that Georgia superstar Casey Roderick was not considered because he’s switching to #25 with his own team this year, and that outlaw Late Model standout Steve Needles and his car owner Brian Short went to #14 at the start of 2019 in memory of Needles’ former car owner Terry Gentry.

And there were some numbers which not many drivers use at all, like the #62 and #69. Personal story: once I was in the infield at New Paris IN for qualifying of the Summer Sizzler. At that time the cars qualified in the order of their car numbers, with a draw determining the starting point. There were several duplicate numbers in the field (a lot of #10s). I remember chatting with another photographer, saying that if I ever owned a car (don’t count on it), I’d pick a number that no one uses, like #85. And sure enough, there was an #85 in the field; I don’t remember who it was or whether or not he made the feature.

We did a number contest piece like this one other time, in the off-season before the 2007 campaign got rolling. That was 11 years before the digital switch for LMD, so it was still printed on paper. For that article each driver’s accomplishments were almost exclusively judged on the previous season, instead of several recent seasons like we did in last week’s edition. Back then we also considered ARCA, Pro Cup and what was then called the NASCAR Camping World Series (now merged with ARCA); now it’s only about pavement Late Models.

Since we can’t reproduce that article here (it’s buried in a storage unit), we could find the list of selected drivers from 2007 (with refreshers for some of those names which may be unfamiliar):

0 Mark Bliss, Arcade NY (2006 champion at Holland NY and Erie PA)

00 Jeremie Whorff, West Bath ME (won Oxford 250)

1 David Prunty, Brownsville WI (champion at Slinger)

01 Philip Morris, Ruckersville VA (also selected this year; Jason Hierwarter photo)


2 A.J. Curreli, Oviedo FL (Limited Late Model Speedweeks champ)

02 Ricky Bilderback, Rockton IL (Big 8 champion and Michael’s uncle … runs in the family)

3 Joey McCarthy, Mendham NJ

03 Jim Pettit II, Prunedale CA

4 Frank Deiny Jr., Ashland VA (champion at Old Dominion)

04 Mike Osgar, Mansfield OH

5 J.R. Norris, Birmingham AL (final NASCAR Southeast Series champion)

05 Eric Schmidt, Roseville CA (also selected this year; Kevin Peters photo)


6 Jeff Belletto, Salida CA

06 Bobby Gill, Dalton GA

7 Landon Cassill, Cedar Rapids IA (yeah, that guy)

07 Jeff Scofield, Plant City FL

8 Cassius Clark, Farmington ME (six PASS wins in 2006)

08 Deac McCaskill, Raleigh NC (LMSC champion at Southern National … happens a lot)

9 Will Thomas, Sharpsville PA

09 Scott Grossenbacher, San Antonio FL

10 Jack Landis, Edgerton OH

11 Jeff Lane, Knightsville IN

12 Rip Michels, Mission Hills CA (final NASCAR Southwest Series champion)

13 Charlie Menard, Eau Claire WI

14 Kevin Richards, Spokane WA

15 Colt James, Buda TX

16 Peyton Sellers, Danville VA

17 Chris Gabehart, Louisville KY (now Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR Cup crew chief)

18 Ronnie Sanders, Fayetteville GA

19 Fredrick Moore, Gainesville GA

20 Shelby Howard, Greenwood IN (won three Pro Cup races in 2006)

21 Tim Schendel, Sparta WI

22 Matt Hawkins, Canton GA (damn)

23 Eddie Van Meter, Indianapolis IN

24 Mike Rowe, Turner ME

25 John Dillon, Boise ID

26 Bubba Pollard, Senoia GA (also selected this year)


27 Greg Edwards, Poquoson VA (was #21 this year)

28 Jack Smith, Medina OH

29 Andy Loden, Stanley NC

30 Dave Mader III, Irvington AL

31 Kyle Grissom, Concord NC

32 Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton VT

33 M.K. Kanke, Frazier Park CA (became NASCAR Southwest’s all-time wins leader)

34 David Clark, Clayton NC (SLM champion at Southern National)

35 Kris Stump, Tipp City OH

36 Dan Fredrickson, Elko MN (also selected this year; Doug Hornickel/


37 Terry Senneker, Wayland MI (back when he was just a driver and employee at Lee Anderson’s Perfect Circle Race Cars)

38 Bo Miller, Bowling Green KY

39 Shane Harding, Surrey BC

40 Matt Kobyluck, Oakdale CT

41 Donny Reuvers, Dundas MN (champion at Elko and the old Raceway Park)

42 Andy Hanson, Ramsey MN (champion at I-94 … dang, what happened to Minnesota tracks?)

43 Van Knill, Tucson AZ (champion at Irwindale CA)

44 Clay Rogers, Concord NC (runaway Pro Cup champion)

45 Brian Hoar, Williston VT

46 Troy Conrad, Puyallup WA (Northwest Late Model Challenge champion)

47 Chris Fontaine, Lakeland FL

48 Dave O’Blenis, Boundary Creek NB

49 Rob Clarke, London ON

50 Jamey Caudill, Four Oaks NC

51 Joey Logano, Middletown CT (yeah, that Joey Logano, who won twice in Pro Cup in 2006)

52 Dave Pembroke, Montpelier VT

53 Boris Jurkovic, Joliet IL (won All-American 400)

54 Johnny Clark, Hallowell ME

55 Alex Yontz, Walnut Cove NC (won LMSC at Martinsville VA)

56 Danny Burson, Albuquerque NM (USLMA champion)

57 Joe Winchell, Davie FL

58 Burgess White, Columbus OH

59 Gary Whipkey, Doylestown OH

60 Ron Beauchamp Jr., Windsor ON

61 Mike Olsen, North Haverhill NH (champion of Busch East, now K&N East … er, ARCA Menards East)

62 Eric Holmes, Escalon CA

63 Jim Crabtree Jr., Muncie IN

64 Garrett Evans, Wenatchee WA (also selected this year; Michele Martin/Horsepower Project)


65 Tim Ice, Columbus OH

66 Benny Gordon, DuBois PA (won Pro Cup Northern division)

67 Gordie Ryan, Wellington NS

68 Mike Giessen, Greenacres FL

69 Brandon Riehl, Boring OR

70 Jeff Choquette, West Palm Beach FL

71 John Grega, Fruitport MI

72 Scott Hantz, Angola IN

73 Gary Lewis, Snohomish WA (final NASCAR Northwest champion)

74 Jay Middleton, Lake City FL

75 Mike Doss, Upper Lake CA (his son Jeremy was selected this year)

76 Jason Weinkauf, Merrill WI

77 Steve Portenga, Sparks NV

78 Charlie Bradberry, Chelsea AL (damn)

79 Joe Aramendia, New Braunfels TX (champion at San Antonio)

80 Donald Theetge, Boischatel QC

81 Jesse Smith, Wildwood MO (ASA Late Model Series Northern division champion)

82 Tom Thomas, Grandville MI (also selected this year; Stan Kalwasinski photo)


83 Jim Sikes Jr., Fountain CO

84 J.R. Fitzpatrick, Cambridge ON (also selected this year; Dan Little Jr. Photography)


85 Trent Snyder, Ironton MN

86 Dennis Demers, Shelburne VT

87 Nathan Haseleu, Sun Prairie WI

88 Brent Kirchner, LaCrosse WI

89 Kelly Bires, Mauston WI (ASA Late Model Challenge Series champion)

90 Keeton Hanks, Auburn KY

91 Jason Hedrick, Graham WA

92 Jason Hogan, Cleveland GA

93 Jack Bailey, Stafford VA

94 Mark Smith, Meyersdale PA

95 Shane Brafford, Concord NC (champion at hometown track)

96 Steven Davis, Satsuma AL

97 John Flemming, Halifax NS

98 Brandon Ward, Winston-Salem NC (was #62 this year)

99 Bryon Chew, Mattituck NY




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