It's been about a month since the NFL season ended, and after reading a bazillion different articles ranking teams or players, I figured I'd try to make my own rankings based on my opinion of who has a shot to win this year. The drivers listed below are either expected or potential competitors in this year's World Finals, and not all of them will be in the field of 32. The list only includes drivers who have competed on the track in at least one form and it is based on a combination of both racing and freestyle skills (sort of a composite score of both).
1. Todd LeDuc | Monster Energy
2. Adam Anderson | Grave Digger
3. Ryan Anderson | Son Uva Digger
These guys aren't just top contenders, they're favorites to walk out of Sam Boyd with both trophies in their hands. To put things into perspective, the last year that one of these guys didn't win a world championship, Tom was still running the classic spikeless Max D body.
The Very Good:
4. Linsey Weenk | Lucas Oil Crusader
5. Coty Saucier | Monster Energy
6. Tom Meents | Max-D
7. Morgan Kane | Grave Digger
8. Neil Elliott | Max-D
9. Marc McDonald | El Toro Loco
Whether or not they've actually won it, these guys have a presence every year and are a considerable threat to take the win. Some of them are more recently developed, while some have been at this level for a long time.
Just Missed the Top:
10. Lee O'Donnell | VP Racing Fuels Mad Scientist
While Lee has been performing very well on recent tours, his Vegas presence hasn't been as high in the past couple of years. So while he's still above the rest of the field, it's not entirely certain if he'll be a top contender or not.
11. Charlie Pauken | Grave Digger / Monster Mutt
12. BJ Johnson | Gas Monkey Garage
13. Colton Eichelberger | Max-D
14. Cole Venard | Grave Digger
15. Jimmy Creten | Bounty Hunter
16. Pablo Huffaker | Grave Digger / Ride not known at this time
17. Chad Fortune | Soldier Fortune
18. Colt Stephens | FS1 Cleatus
19. Mike Vaters II | Overkill Evolution
On average, these guys have finished middle to upper middle of the pack with a few exceptions. Most of them (Vaters II is an exception, he's at #19 because this is a combination of racing AND freestyle) aren't the first picks to win, but they're not too far from it.
20. Bari Musawwir | Zombie
21. Brianna Mahon | Scooby-Doo / Madusa
22. Candice Jolly | Monster Mutt Dalmatian
23. Jon Zimmer | Dragon
24. Becky McDonough | El Toro Loco
25. Tyler Menninga | Grave Digger
While “surprise” isn't the best term to use when describing the potential these drivers have of winning, lack of recent Vegas production or lack of Vegas experience puts them below others. Despite this, they still have a chance at grabbing the win in March, and sometimes a chance is all you need...
The One-Sided Contenders:
26. Scott Buetow | Team Hot Wheels Firestorm
27. Cam McQueen | Northern Nightmare
28. Jim Koehler | Avenger
29. Steve Sims | Stone Crusher
30. Devin Jones | Barbarian
I'll iterate one more time, this list is based on a combination of presence in both racing and freestyle, and these guys are freestylers. While a freestyle run is only two minutes, that's still probably way longer time than any of these guys will spend on the track on Friday, not counting intros or if one of them flips over.
Too Many Question Marks:
31. Dennis Anderson | Grave Digger
32. Jared Eichelberger | Max-D
33. Bailey Shea | Scooby-Doo
34. Cynthia Gauthier | Monster Mutt Dalmatian
35. Buddy Thompkins | Razin Kane
36. Travis Groth | NEA
37. Kayla Blood | El Toro Loco
38. Tyler Groth | Zombie
39. Eric Swanson | Obsessed
40. Rosalee Ramer | Wild Flower
41. Ryan Disharoon | Saigon Shaker
42. Steven Thompson | Hurricane Force
Obviously the big story here is none other than the Icon himself. It's not certain if Dennis will even drive again at all nonetheless if he'll be back in time for Vegas. Either way, I'm sure we'll see him there in one way or another with it being Digger’s 35th anniversary. The rest of the drivers listed here haven't seen much action on the field other than the Double Down competition. While it's possible that one of them will win. Their presence as a freestyler next to their racing ability on the Vegas track is not known at this time. However, in my opinion this is where Morgan Kane was just four years ago, and considering where he is on this list now, we could see some of these guys and girls move upwards in the coming years.
So there you have it, that's (in my opinion) a list of the drivers based on their capability to win the World Finals this year. Let me know what you think of it!