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Battle at Boyd's: #FantasyDirt Thoughts on the Inaugural Stateline Showdown

Battle at Boyd's: #FantasyDirt Thoughts on the Inaugural Stateline Showdown

The World 100 put us on notice, we should all be keeping an eye on the Super Late Model talent emerging from SEC country. Roll Tide, y'all (the degree on my wall allows me to say that even though I'm born and raised up north).  The Stateline Showdown looks like the perfect opportunity these drivers to show out and show off.

In a bit of a down year for WoO regulars, the field looks wide open for some surprises this weekend. In addition to the young, stout field of young southern drivers, we have The Newport Nightmare (skipping out on defending his back-to-back Jackson 100 titles), Smokey, Mac Daddy, and Black Sunshine in attendance. This is going to be a blast to watch!

Format: You're guess is a good as mine
I can't find much on what Saturday's show will look like, but my hunch is that it will be a stand alone show, just with a juiced up purse. I can get down with that.

Who I'm Watching:
Max Blair ($21,200): That's a hefty salary, right? Even still, Max is the 8th-highest salaried driver. Not bad for a driver with two WoO wins on 3/8th mile tracks, trailing only JD, who isn't present, in that department. Blair also sits 3rd in the WoO points race. If the Won11 can put down a solid qualifying time, he might could find himself in Victory Lane again.

Ryan Gustin ($20,700): The Reaper has 4 top tens in his last 6 WoO starts, yet his salary slots him 11th-highest. Throw in a Chasing the Dream Feature win and a top 10 at the Knoxville Nationals and we have a pretty hot driver. All that and Ol' Gal loving his paint scheme (its the purple, mostly), makes me think that Gustin will find himself in my lineup tonight.

Payton Freeman ($20,100): Freeman is definitely one of the future stars of Late Model racing. He locked down a Southern All Stars Championship Last year, as a rookie no less (goes without saying he was also the ROY). He tried his hand at the Hell Tour this year and acquitted himself quite well, too. In his last start with the Outlaws, he finished 11th at Smokey Mountain. Hell, last night the kid won at Tri County. This year at Boyd's, Freeman has a 2nd (behind Ricky Weiss and ahead of Jimmy Owens) on March 19th, a Victory on April 30, and a 2nd in the Schaeffer's Oil Spring Nationals stop in May. Pretty good for the 14th-highest salary.

Will Roland ($19,900): Another young driver starting to make a name for himself. This year at Boyd's, Roland has a 6th, 10th, and 11th. With a salary putting him 16th overall, its worth keeping an eye on how Will qualifies. My one caution would be that Roland struggled with getting the car across the finish line at Eldora.

Joseph Joiner ($19,500): The Flying Floridian put together 3 top tens last weekend at Magnolia. In addition to that strong showing, the Hunt the Front team got some testing in at Boyd's on their way to the PDC in July. Following the PDC, Joiner managed locked down a couple of Top-10s with XR at Gondik Law (another 3/8ths mile track). Pretty decent resume for the 19th-highest salary.

Cameron Weaver ($18,900): Weaver has two 5th place finishes in Valvoline Iron-Man competition at Boyd's this year. That alone makes him worth a look with a salary sub $19K.

Sam Seawright ($18,700): Seawright has a victory, a 2nd, and 4th in Valvoline Iron-Man competition at Boyd's this year. Sam also has a 19th in WoO competition at Smokey Mountain earlier this month. Solid resume for a driver coming in 27th in salary.

Jadon Frame ($17,600): Full disclosure, this is the first I've heard of Jadon. That being said, I'm intrigued. Fram has an 8th and a 4th in Valvoline Iron-Man competition at Boyd's in 2022. That success combined with the second-lowest salary, makes Frame someone to scoop up if his qualifying time puts him on the front row of a heat. If he isn't on the front row, I'm likely stearing clear.

Notes: The Stateline Showdown has a stout and deep field of cars. In these instances, I put a bit more emphasis on Qualifying position. Starting up front just makes life easier for the drivers. Most of these dudes are talented and piloting top-of-the-line equipment, whether or not you or I know them well. Expecting any one of them to drive to the front is a bit of a fools errand, especially so when you're talking about drivers with salaries above $20,500. Take what qualifying gives you, and if one of the drivers highlighted here qualifies well you can lock them in with a bit of confidence. Conversely, if any of the drivers highlighted here ends up buried by a poor qualifying time, write them off for the night and look elsewhere to fill out your lineup.