2022 DragChamp Jr. Racer of the Year
Graeme Rufenacht wins the DragChamp Jr. Racer of the Year title presented by Laris Motorsports Insurance
02/01/23 – Welcome to the 2022 DragChamp Jr. Racer of the Year Top 10 List presented by Laris Motorsports Insurance. This week we rank the best Jr. racers in the country and crown the 2022 Overall Jr. Racer of the Year!
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DragChamp Jr. Racer Top 10 List
1 – Graeme Rufenacht
Graeme Rufenacht, the 2022 16-17 Jr. Racer of the Year, wins the 2022 Overall Jr. Racer of the Year title! #Gman won 18 times in 27 finals in his Jr. dragster but racked up numerous more wins in a combination of High School, Sportsman, Index, and Bottom Bulb. The highlight of Graeme’s season was winning the WCF in Denver then making the 16-17 final at the ECF. Very few racers make one Conference Final in their career, much less two in the span of several weeks. Rufenacht, along with his dad Sam, traveled the country racing at 17 tracks in 9 states racking up wins against the best racers in the country.
2 – Tyler Wied
Tyler Wied, the 2021 and 2022 DragChamp 10-12 Jr. Racer of the Year, earns the #2 spot in the Overall Jr. Racer of the Year standings! Tyler posted 19 wins in 24 finals during the 2022 racing season. He won three season championships in the Midwest Jr. Super Series and captured the 12 yr. old ECF trophy. On multiple occasions Tyler made multiple finals in the same weekend including 2 wins and a runner-up at the Stars and Stripes Challenge in INDY and a weekend sweep at the Cordova MWJSS event. He also showed out at big money races earning a runner-up in a $5K at Capital City and getting to the 5 car split at the Capital City Halloween $10K.
3 – Carson Wied
Carson Wied joins his brother Tyler on the Overall Jr. Racer of the Year Top 10 List. The 2022 6-9 Jr. Racer of the Year won 22 times in 27 finals during the 2022 racing season! Highlights of his season included two Midwest Jr. Super Series championships, undefeated in MJSS 11.90 Index races, last 6-9 standing in every MJSS Pro Sportsman race, and 9 times during the season he was the last 6-9 racer standing. Also at the two $10K races Carson attended, he ran himself in both of the 6-9 finals.
5 – Will Willard
Will Willard lands in the #5 spot in our 2022 Overall Jr. Racer Top 10 List after winning 22 times in 29 final round appearances. Willard, a regular on the DragChamp Top 10 List throughout the season, enjoyed his most successful season in Jr.’s to date. His 22 victories also helped secured the Elk Creek track championship.
5 – Corey Wattenbarger
Corey Wattenbarger dominated Jr. racing in Oklahoma collecting 22 winners trophies in 28 final rounds. He picked up wins at the WCF, the NHRA Division 4 Jr. Finals, won championships at Mid America and Ardmore, and was the D4 High School runner-up. Corey also made two finals in his Super Pro dragster along with several semifinal finishes.
6 – Kane Kern
Kane Kern continues to impress year after year. His second place finish in the 2022 10-12 Racer of the Year standings marks his third straight top 2 finish in our 10-12 Racer of the Year list and second straight 2nd place finish. The young man from southern Louisiana posted 12 wins in 27 finals this season and won 6 championships! Kane was the WCF champ, won $4K at the Great American Bracket Race, won the Thanksgiving Jr. Nationals team race, made 2 finals at the IHRA D4 Jr. Team Finals, and was the IHRA World Finals Race of Champions runner-up. And those are just a few of his impressive stats this season.
7 – Camron Nelson
Camron Nelson won the 2022 DragChamp 13-15 Jr. Racer of the Year title for the 2nd consecutive season! Nelson followed his impressive 2021 season with another dominating performance to retain his title. He won 13 times in 19 finals on the season including a runner-up at the WCF, a track championship at Edinburg Raceway, and an IHRA Race of Champions win in his Jr. dragster and runner-up in Jr. Street.
8 – Cole Knieriem
Cole Knieriem won 8 times in 9 finals during his partial 2022 racing season but it was his unbelievable performance at the Jr. Christmas on the Coast that stole the headlines. At Gulfport, Cole dominated the best 200 Jr. racers in the country while posting a runner-up in the $20,000 race and going the distance in the $10,000 Invitational the following day! An impressive feat considering how talented the field was in Gulfport.
9 – Kylie Mocny
Kylie Mocny continues to shine on the DragChamp Top 10 List. She finished second on the 6-9 Jr. Racer of the Year standings after winning 17 times in 25 finals. She finished the season with 5 Wally’s, the Bradenton track championship, and a runner-up at the Eastern Conference Finals. Look for great things from Kylie in the years to come.
10 – Peyton Shook
Peyton Shook earned a Top 10 spot after winning 15 times in 24 finals. Shook won championships at Bradenton and Immokalee and was a participant in the $10,000 Jr. DragChamp Invitational.
10 – Kade Renoll
Kade Renoll closes out the 2022 Overall Jr. Racer of the Year Top 10 after winning 10 times in 18 final round appearances during the 2022 racing season. Renoll traveled the country collecting wins from coast to coast. Highlights included winning six Wally’s, Shootout winner at the ECF, Division 7 Jr. ET Finals winner, and back-to-back Hangover Nationals winner.
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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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