Graeme Rufenacht wins the DragChamp 2020 Jr. Racer 13-15 Year Old Racer of the Year title! Find all the details in the DragChamp Jr. Top 10 List.
01/06/21 – Welcome to the DragChamp 2020 Jr. Racer 13-15 year old Top 10 List. This week we rank the best 13-15 year old racers in the country and crown the 2020 13-15 year old Jr. Racer of the Year!
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DragChamp 2020 Jr. Racer 13-15 Year Old Top 10 List
1 – Graeme Rufenacht
Texan Graeme Rufenacht earns the DragChamp 13-15 year old Racer of the Year title after making 43 finals at 16 different tracks in 8 different states. During one streak of the summer, Graeme went 16 straight race weekends making it to at least one final round. Other highlights on the season include a runner-up at the WCF, $5K final in Kentucky, final at the Garrett Shankle Memorial $5K, ECF Fun Race winner with 186 entries. He also won his 100th career race this year along with winning 5 different season championships in 2020.
2 – Carson “Big Check” Emmet
Big Check Carson Emmett locks down second place after another big season. In 2020, Emmett won a track championship at Montgomery Raceway Park in the Glen Smith Series, made the final of the $10K and the 7.90 Index class at the Spooktacular Race, won $5K at the Holiday Junior Jam, and won $1,500 at the New Years Nationals. Emmett won $10,000 during a three month stretch and added 10 more big checks to bring his career total to 56!
3 – Shelby Thurman
Shelby started off the year off with three wins then went on to win a big money race at Holly Springs. Thurman was also on the winning Dream Team for the second time. She went on to win two Wally’s, one Iron man, and two more big money races at Holly Springs. She finished second in Beech Bend points and had a stretch of eight wins in a row at different tracks. Shelby ended the season with 20 wins in 32 finals.
4 – Curtis Peek
Curtis Peek earned the four spot after collecting 10 wins in 16 finals. Peek had a streak of five consecutive wins at Silver Dollar Motorsports Park along with several semifinal appearances. His biggest victories of the season included a $5K victory in the Mike Bos Shootout at the ECF and winning a Wally at the NHRA National Open.
5 – Gage Rachford
Gage Rachford rounds out the Top 5 after an impressive season. Best we can tell he won at least nine races this season including doubles at Kil-Kare and the IHRA Team Finals in Memphis. Rachford also won the 7.90 Index class at the WCF, won two Jr. Dragster Challenge Wally races, and added a Midwest Jr. Super Series 7.90 Index championship to finish off the season.
6 – Cole Knieriem
Cole Knieriem claims the sixth spot on the Top 10 List after winning nine times in twelve finals at Ohio Valley. This included a stretch of four wins in a row along with a Jr. Dragster Challenge Wally race win. Cole also won the Division 3 Race of Champions at Indy and doubled up at the Derby City race where he split and quit on Sunday and was runner-up on Saturday. He also doubled up at the Midwest $5K race in Brainerd winning the team race and the gamblers race on the same day.
7 – Wyatt Palmatier
I love it when they call me Big Poppa!!!! Wyatt Palmatier, better known as Big Poppa, did his thing in 2020 just as in previous years. The 9X Wally winner won at races across the country including Atmore, Ala., made the final at the WCF 7.90 Index race, made the semifinals at the ECF $5K, won a $2K Shootout at the ECF, and won the Back to School race. He closed the season with a runner-up at the Atmore Halloween race against some of the toughest juniors in the country.
8 (tie) – Brian Yerger Jr.
According to Cam Whisnant, Brian Yerger Jr. made around 20 finals on the season and won the majority of them along with numerous semifinal appearances. In addition, Yerger won two track championships this season and won the Jr. Race of Champions at the Bracket Finals.
8 (tie) – Rylee “Curlz” Wells
Rylee Wells won six times in nine finals this season along with posting numerous semifinal appearances at some of the biggest Jr. races of the season. Wells won the track championship at Gulfport and finished 3rd in points in the King of the Coast series. She made two finals at the IHRA Team Finals winning once and taking runner-up in the other. Rylee made it to the semifinals at the $10K Spooktacular race and recently earned a spot on the FTI Farm Team.
9 – Zack Smith
Zach Smith enjoyed a successful season that saw him win the biggest Jr. payout of the season at the Beaver Springs $10K race. Zach added several other wins and late round finishes on the season.
10 – O’Riley Benda
O’Riley Benda put together an impressive season on the West Coast. He won two Wally races at Bremerton, won the WCF Team Championship, won the Division 6 Race of Champions, and won the Division 7 Summit Shootout Wally. Benda added an Infinity Coach Jr. Lightening Championship and also won at four tracks in several states.
Summer Field made some noise in the Top 10 List on a couple of different occasions this summer. Field won two track championships (different tracks) in Jr. Street and won three times at the bracket finals. She won two Wally’s in Jr. Street and a Jr. dragster Gamblers race all on the same weekend at the Division 6 Bracket Finals.
Jaina Embley won the Island Dragway Jr. Street track championship after winning eight times in nine final round appearances. She added a runner-up finish in her Jr. dragster at the NHRA Division 1 Jr. Divisional race.
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And remember, look for our DragChamp Jr. 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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