FloRacing Pavement Racing Driver Rankings
October Pavement Power Ranking
FloRacing ranks the top pavement race car drivers during the month of October.
1. Stephen Nasse (Previous Rank: Unranked)
The Pinellas Park, Florida native goes from off the list to the top spot thanks to two massive victories. Nasse scored the win in the Winchester 400 at the start of the month on the high banks of Indiana's Winchester Speedway. Nasse then backed that win up by taking home a guitar from the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway after winning the All American 400. Two Super Late Model crown jewels in one month? That gets you the top spot in the pavement power rankings for sure.
2. Jon McKennedy (Previous Rank: Unranked)
At the start of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, literally nobody was picking Jon McKennedy to win the championship. Fast forward to October and McKennedy is leading the points with a victory under his belt. Entering Martinsville Speedway's finale, McKennedy had a six-point lead over Ron Silk, an 11-point lead over three-time champion Justin Bonsignore, and a 13-point lead over Eric Goodale. And even still, not many people were picking McKennedy to hold on. McKennedy went out and led 59 laps, the second-most of anybody, and was in position to win the championship and the race before a late-race wreck. The Massachusetts native still survived to hold on and win his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
3. Carson Kvapil (Previous Rank: 7th)
The second-generation racer scored big wins this season, and massive wins this season. His victory at North Wilkesboro Speedway in front of 20,000 screaming fans is definitely one of those massive victories. Kvapil also took home the CARS Tour championship, and did so while seeing many of those tracks for the very first time. Kvapil established himself as one of the toughest drivers in Late Model Stock Car racing in just his first full season in that discipline.
4. Matt Hirschman (Previous Rank: Unranked)
We've run out of things to say about "Big Money" Matt Hirschman throughout this season. He has wowed all Modified fans all season long, but his performance at Evergreen Raceway's King of the Green race earlier this month will be remembered for a very long time. Hirschman qualified in the top four and took the "Gambler's Challenge" to start at the rear of the field. If he came back through the pack and got back to the top four, he'd collect a $2,000 bonus. Hirschman did just that, but he didn't just get back to fourth. He came from 24th to win the race and pocketed a nice $10,000 in race winnings.
5. Sammy Smith (Previous Rank: 1st)
The Iowa native didn't do anything in October that really was deserving of dropping four places, but he also didn't do anything more worthy of recognition compared to his competitors to keep him in the top spot. Smith has been spectacular this season scoring six ARCA Menards Series victories, including three in a row to end the 2022 season, and five ARCA Menards Series East wins. Smith has also started to run strong in his limited NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. He was in position to win Saturday's race at Martinsville before he got shoved out of the racing line and finished 18th.
6. Caleb Heady (Previous Rank: Unranked)
The Kentucky driver became a SMART Modified Tour champion in just his second season running a Tour-type Modified. Heady didn't do anything extraordinary in October, but it's his body of work that puts him on the list. Heady was so consistently strong throughout the 2022 season, that his competitors couldn't steal the championship from him even while he was forced to exit the season finale after just 10 laps due to a broken drive-shaft.
7. Eric Goodale (Previous Rank: Unranked)
The Riverhead, New York driver had never finished higher than fifth in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season before 2022. This year he finished in third, just nine points shy of a first championship. Goodale was just about out of the championship hunt before scoring a massive victory in the penultimate race at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. He was in a position to maybe steal the championship on the final restart at Martinsville Speedway, but a bad restart from the driver in front of him forced Goodale to lose a few spots and the necessary points to win it. Still, finishing third in points in a year when initially Goodale didn't plan to run the full season is quite impressive.
8. William Sawalich (Previous Rank: 9)
Sawalich has made a name for himself with victories across multiple different Late Model disciplines this season. The teenaged driver was so close to adding a marquee victory to his resume this past weekend at the All American 400. He was leading the race when he got crashed on a late-race restart. Sawalich has impressed in so many ways this season that a 15th-place finish in the All American 400 is now considered disappointing when just a few months ago that finish would have been considered a success.
9. Jake Bollman (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Most people probably haven't heard Jake Bollman's name before, and that's totally okay. That's what we're here for. Bollman scored his first career victory at the legendary Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway this past weekend during the Pro Late Model portion of All American 400 weekend. Bollman put himself in a position to possibly win if something in front of him went wrong, and that's exactly what happened. The leaders crashed late and handed the lead and win over to Bollman who now is the owner of a very nice guitar.
10. Gio Ruggiero (Previous Rank: Unranked)
The All American 400 is a big enough race that you'll still get recognized even if you don't take home the guitar. Ruggiero finished second to Stephen Nasse in Saturday's 300-lap race, his best finish in a Super Late Model to date.