This week we put a bow on the 2019 racing season as we crown our Driver of the Year. This week’s Top 10 List takes the best of the best from all of our year end lists to determine the DragChamp Driver of the Year.
01/29/20 – The only weekly sportsman racing Top 10 List is back for a special Driver of the Year edition. We conclude our 2019 Top 10 Specialty Lists this week with our final 2019 Top 10 List. The winner this week will be crowned our 2019 Driver of the Year!
To be considered for the Driver of the Year, racers must have made one of our 2019 Year End Top 10 Lists. These included the NHRA Class Racing List, .90/Super Class List, Top Sportsman/Top Dragster List, Top Bulb List, Bottom Bulb List, or the Jr. Dragster List.
We reviewed all of the racers on those lists and compared their 2019 accomplishments to determine the 2019 Top 10 List and the first ever DragChamp Driver of the Year award.
Want to check out previous Top 10 Lists, click here for the Jr. Dragster list, here for the Top Bulb list, here for the Bottom Bulb list, here for the Top Dragster/Top Sportsman list, here for the .90/Super Classes list, and here for the Class Racing list.
DragChamp 2019 Driver of the Year Top 10 List
1 – Matt Dadas
The Driver of the Year could have gone to several racers including any one of the second place finishers. But, we chose Matt Dadas based on his versatility throughout the season. Matt seemingly won in anything and everything. This included slot cars, practice tree races, in street cars, off the bottom, off the top, you name it and Matt won it.
In addition to all of his success, Matt found his way to the final rounds of the two largest paying drag races in history. Once as a car owner at the SFG 500 and the other as a driver at the Fall Fling 500K.
There’s not much more we can say other than congrats champ!
Three-way tie for second place
2 – Hunter Patton
Hunny Wayne secured the a tie for the two spot on the strength of a huge mid-summer run. He topped the Top 10 List for three straight weeks, a feat that had never been accomplished. Our 2019 Top Bulb Driver of the Year picked up big wins at the GABR in May, the Fall Fling 500K, and the Division 4 IHRA Summit Team Finals.
2 – Johnny Ezell
If not for the massive success of Dadas and Patton, JBR would have easily walked away with the Driver of the Year award. Ezell consistently won at the highest level of the sport. From the Spring Fling Vegas, to the SFG 500, and more.
A week after his SFG 500 runner-up, Ezell almost swept the weekend at the 4th of July Under the Lights race at the Texas Motorplex. He won the $50K shootout on Thursday, $10K on Friday, and went deep again on Day 3. JBR almost made noise throughout the season with his staging duel in Vegas to his broken race car at the Fall Fling.
He also had the quote of the year when he said, “you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
2 – Nick Hastings
Nasty Nick just keeps winning! The dude killed it in 2019 with a number of huge wins including his $50,000 win at the SFG 500. He defeated around 700 Top Bulb competitors to earn the big payday.
Three-way tie for third place
3 – Ray Miller
The young chassis builder ran roughshod over the Super Gas and Super Comp classes in 2019. He began the season on a tear and never looked back claiming the NHRA Super Comp world championship in the process.
He won four Lucas Oil Series races in Super Comp including a double-up at one race. He made two national event finals on the season picking up the Super Gas win in Vegas. In that final, Evan Kowalski laid down an .008-pack and got .004 change back as Miller was .004 total!
3 – Danny Nelson
Experienced bracket racer, chassis builder, and Top Dragster racer Danny Nelson was untouchable during his mid-summer streak. After a slow start to the season, Nelson got hot winning two nationals and two divisional races.
He added a semifinal appearance at the U.S. Nationals and also had success on the Mid-West Pro Mod Series. This success catapulted him to his first NHRA world championship.
3 – Allison Doll
Portatree’s Allison Doll had a historic season in her NHRA Stock Eliminator Firebird. Led by her five win LODRS season, Allison posted the highest divisional point total ever. In addition, she became the first female to ever win a Stock Eliminator World Championship and the first husband and wife champions with her husband Doug Doll.
4 – Gage Burch
Gage could have made the list on his SFG 500 victory alone but he also did so much more. The day prior to earning the largest payday in drag racing, Gage came within .001-second from winning the Thursday $50K race. Earlier in the season, he collected multiple race wins on seemingly a weekly basis at local tracks near his home in Florida.
Two-way tie for fifth
5 – Peeps Pennington
While Peeps doesn’t travel the big money circuit as religiously as he once did, the young man from Texas proved he can still get it done! Peeps picked up the Spring Fling Million in April before winning $30K at the Fall Fling months later. He finished the season with a near-miss at his second million dollar payday after a semifinal showing at the OG Million in Montgomery.
5 – Chris Bear
Talk about a dominate racer, Chris Bear collected big checks like they were going out of style. The talented racer stopped Gage Burch from a double at the SFG 500. Bear took out Burch in the Thursday $50K final. He also earned a semifinal finish in Friday’s $50K.
6 – Joe Santangelo
Around mid-season, it looked as though Joe was going to walk off with both the NHRA Stock and Super Stock championships. He won three national events including Richmond, Bristol, and Reading between the two classes.
After a red-hot start, Joe ultimately finished #2 in Stock and #3 in Super Stock.
7 – Jeff Strickland
Jeff Strickland flew under the radar most of the season but quietly racked up a remarkable record. This resulted in a second place finish to Danny Nelson in the Top Dragster championship chase.
Jeff had a big weekend at the Atlanta LODRS winning both Top Dragster and Stock. He almost repeated this feat on two other occasions later in the season. At the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago, Strickland earned a runner-up in TD and a semifinal finish in Stock.
A few weeks later, he once again made two finals with both coming at the Tulsa LODRS. There he won TD and was runner-up in Stock.
8 – Vernon Rowland
Oklahoma Super Class racer Vernon Rowland went to five, that’s right, five NHRA national event final rounds in 2019! Rowland collected Wally’s in Houston, Brainerd, and Las Vegas with runner-ups in St. Louis and Topeka.
Rowland was so dominate, we did this feature on him.
9 – Henry Roberson
Henry Roberson might not be the most known racer on the list, but the West Coast hitter can flat out drive a race car! Roberson drags his Mustang, $ticker$, across the western states and competes in any and every class he can. During the 2019 season, Roberson won around 10 Wally’s, two track championships, and a NHRA Heritage series championship.
All while pulling his Mustang on a tow-dolly and sleeping in the back of his pick-up. His commitment to winning is unmistakable. Look for this rising star to continue his meteoric rise for years to come.
10 – Lauren Dodd
What would the year-end list be without a Jr. racer. Lauren Dodd dominated the junior ranks in 2019 winning 26 times in 29 finals. She won a $5K, a $3K, won 3 of 5 races at the Back to School race, went 3-for-3 in the Southwest Junior Series, won 7 Wally’s and 3 Ironman trophies.
Congratulations to Matt Dadas on becoming our first ever Driver of the Year! A big shout out to all of the drivers that made the 2019 Top 10 List and also all the drivers that made the weekly lists throughout the season.
Let us what you think about the DragChamp Top 10 List? We want to hear from you. Check us out on Facebook, share it with your friends.
And remember, look for our DragChamp Top 10 List nominations Facebook post every Monday evening. You can nominate your favorites in the comments of the post for consideration on the list.
If you nominate a racer, please include their name, their accomplishment, which track(s), and a winners circle photo. Some racers have missed the list because we didn’t have enough information and couldn’t find anything online.
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