Schildhouse Climbs Monday Night Racing Power Rankings with Daytona Win
Opening night of the Rowdy Energy Monday Night Racing Pro Series is in the books and David Schildhouse reigned victorious. His first career MNR victory locks him into this year’s playoffs.
The top-fifteen took a big swing after this week’s Rowdy Energy 225. Here is your Week One Power Rankings:
- Adam Cabot/ +1
While Cabot wasn’t in victory lane Monday night, he led 29 laps and brought it home in fourth. His ability to put his car in a winning position each week is what sets Cabot apart from his competition. I think he is an early favorite to win next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Garrett Smithley/ -1
Smithley finished fifth in the Rowdy Energy 225 at Daytona for the MNR opener. After getting caught in a wreck early, Smithley was able to position himself up front and put himself in a good spot moving forward. He is always able to sneak his way to the front and battle for wins.
- Rajah Caruth/ +1
Rajah Caruth’s finishing position of 17th doesn’t describe the night that he had in his No. 44 Chevrolet Camaro. He was involved in a wreck midway through the event that sent him into the turn three catchfence. But after starting 38th, Caruth was able to make his way up to the front and battle with the leaders before getting shoved back.
- David Schildhouse/ +3
Monday night, David Schildhouse got to experience what it feels like to be a MNR Pro Series winner. Schildhouse was collected in the first incident of the day but was able to keep his nose clean en route to his first career win. Now that he has the pressure of getting his first victory off his back, Schildhouse will be dangerous moving forward.
- Anthony Alfredo/ –
For Anthony Alfredo, he did all he needed to do in a superspeedway race; finish the race. He was able to finish 13th at the same track he has struggled at in the past in MNR. Alfredo has excelled at the 1.5-mile tracks and with Las Vegas on the schedule next, the NASCAR Cup Series regular could be the next winner.
- Gary Sexton/ +4
Sexton solidified his spot in the Power Rankings with an eighth place finish at Daytona. When the MNR Pro Series raced at Las Vegas last season, Sexton finished 21st. With the same car and track combination next week, it will be a real test to see how much he has improved from last year.
- Gabe Wood/ +1
Gabe Wood began to heat up in the latter half of season three, but he didn’t get off to the start he wanted. Wood was able to work his way through the pack when necessary. Ultimately, he was taken out in an incident but was able to recover for an eleventh place result.
- DJ Cummings/ -2
It’s always refreshing to lead laps in the season opener and that is just what DJ Cummings was able to do. He was able to lead four circuits as he brought home a top-ten finish. Cummings is one of the most consistent drivers in MNR even with the diversity of the schedule. I think this could be a breakout season for driver No. 10.
- Robby Lyons/ -6
Last year’s champion, Robby Lyons, had a lackluster night to say the least. He finished 16th in the season opener but has a lot of opportunities in the coming weeks to have good finishes.
- Will Rodgers/ +1
The season one champion, Will Rodgers, finished 14th in the season opener. Rodgers’ consistency will be crucial this season. Six of the eight regular season races take place on asphalt-ovals, places where Rodgers makes most of his real-life NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. Rodgers is a great road course racer and I expect to see him run well at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course in a couple weeks.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr./ +3
On the last lap of Monday night’s Rowdy Energy 225, Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked like he had a legit shot to pick up the win in his first career Monday Night Racing start. Although he was collected in an incident with ten laps to go, he rebounded to finish sixth, thanks to an immense push by Steven Ellis on the final lap.
- Collin Fern/ N/A
Brandonbilt Motorsports’ Collin Fern took a page out of bossman Brandon Brown’s book to excel on superspeedways. He captured a seventh place finish in the stout 40-car field. I didn’t know what to expect from Fern coming into the season, but if he can race every week like he did Monday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the Playoffs.
- Preston Pardus/ N/A
Third-place finisher, Preston Pardus, surprised many in how well he performed Monday night. He finished last season 30th in points after running a partial schedule, but this year he will be running the full season. With Mazda MX-5s on the schedule for the Monday Night Racing Pro Series, “P-Money” knows what he needs to do to put himself in the playoffs later this year.
- James Bickford/ N/A
Bickford was able to steal a top-ten finish in MNR’s last visit to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with an eighth place result. Bickford looked strong last night, but after getting involved in various incidents, he was dealt a fifteenth-place finish. Although he didn’t get the finish he wanted, Bickford was able to drive through the field and battle for the lead at times.
- Kyle Busch/ -2
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, was not in his prime form Monday night. He ran mid-pack most of the event but fell back to finish 25th. Rowdy has a fantastic opportunity to run well next week as the Monday Night Racing Pro Series will “travel” to Busch’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada in the current NASCAR Cup Series car.
Max Kennon, TJ Majors, Ryan Vargas