Sizing Up The Mudsummer Meltdown Field


Race night is finally here for the The 2017 Mudsummer Meltdown race night, presented by the Sim Auto Racing Association and Can-Am Racing Series! After weeks of preparation, a week of testing (or more for some), and a full night of qualifying, the field is set and the drivers are ready to battle it out to be the inaugural Meltdown champion in tonight’s 125-lap Dirt Pro Late Model race. A total of 15 SARA drivers and 11 CARS drivers have locked themselves into the main event, but with the caliber of competitors in the field, there could be a number of drivers with a shot to win.

It’s going to be tough to pick a winner, but we thought we’d help out by ranking the drivers into a few categories, including “The Favorites”, “The Contenders”, “In The Mix”, and the “Underdogs”.

The categories listed below are meant to be fun and at no point are we playing down any one’s talent. These are unofficial and are for entertainment purposes only.

The Favorites


The Favorites

Tyler Hudson

Tyler locked himself into the Meltdown back in July when he dominated the SARA Meltdown Qualifier event at Eldora and picked up the win. He qualified in the top 8 of Time Trials and moved up in the Dash to finish 3rd and will start near the front of the field as the favorite in the feature.

Aaron Daeffler

Aaron probably wasn’t in contention to be in this spot before last night, but he’s been posting fast times in testing for the past week, and was the only CARS member in the top 8 of Time Trials against some tough competition and now stacks up as the favorite CARS member in the event.

The Contenders


The Contenders

Ty Spearman

Ty has been a threat to contend in most SARA races this past season with 2 wins, and proved he still has a fast car with a top 8 Time Trial effort and finished 2nd in the Dash.

Joshua Gayman

Joshua won the first regular season CARS race at Eldora, and used a good draw to start on the pole of his Qualifier for the Meltdown, and went on to lead every lap of it for the win.

Christian Challiner

Christian surprised some people when he took full advantage of the Pole Dash invert, and pulled away to dominate it, putting himself on the pole for the Meltdown.

Josh Kotten

Josh didn’t miss out on the Top 8 in Time Trials by much, then started 2nd in his Qualifier and pressured Derek Robinson for the entire race but had to settle for runner-up.

Matt Rolfe

Matt won the SARA season finale at Eldora, and has been quick this week including in Time Trials where he also made the Top 8 and will roll off 5th for race.

Justin Thompson

Justin came on strong at the end of the CARS season by picking up 3 wins, and like Gayman, he used a good draw for his Qualifier and led every lap for the win.

Joe Schaffer Jr.

Joe won the SARA championship this past season, and then came into the Meltdown and laid down the fastest lap in qualifying proving he’ll have a fast car in the race.

Zack Passen

Zack picked up a win at Eldora during the CARS regular season, and charged from last in his Qualifier to take a transfer spot, and should be good in slick conditions.

In The Mix


In The Mix

Travis McKinney

Travis won a pair of SARA races this past season, and charged to finish 2nd in his Qualifier.

Bruce Perry

Bruce has been quick in both CARS and SARA races all season, and finished 2nd in his Qualifier.

Shane James

Although Shane is brand new to SARA, he’s already shown a lot of speed by being top 8 in Time Trials.

Greg Netherwood

Greg has also been fast in both CARS and SARA races, and finished just behind Perry in his Qualifier in 3rd.

Adam Benefiel

Adam also qualified in the top 8 in Time Trials, and has been in contention for SARA wins this past season.

Justin Wilson

Justin had a trio of CARS wins this past season, and won an epic battle in the LCQ to make the field.

Clay Snider

Clay has found more speed in comfortability in these cars lately, and had a solid 3rd in his Qualifier.

Brenden Queen

Brenden was likely the pre-event favorite for CARS, but had to use the LCQ to make the field, avoiding having to use his automatic starter provisional.

Derek Robinson

Derek didn’t run much during the regular SARA season, but drew lucky #1 and led every lap in his Qualifier win.

Mike King

Mike would rely on a provisional from his CARS Meltdown Qualifier win and will have to come from deep in the field.


Jared Turnbull

Charged from 13th to 3rd in the LCQ to make the field.

Gabe Wood

Finished 4th in the LCQ as the final driver to race his way in.

Darrell Hamlin

Moved up from 8th to 4th in the first Qualifier to make the field.

Michael Reding

Was able to maintain his 3rd place starting spot in Qualifier 1 to get in.

Kenneth Drake

Finished in the final transfer spot in the 2nd Qualifier to get in the show.

Scott Dunlap

Just missed out on getting in via the Qualifier and LCQ, awarded a provisional.