Seeding the Eldora Million: the End Result

Eldora Speedway. (T.J. Buffenbarger photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(July 14, 2023) — When I decided to seed the entire field for the Eldora Million I promised that I would circle back for accountability and see how well I did the task. While having some lunch and unwinding a bit on what I refer to as “casual Friday” (also known as the Knight Before the Kings Royal), I put together a list of results versus my seeding.

For the dual C-Mains I split the field so the first non-transfer in the C-Main went first and the first non-transfer in the second C-Main was slotted in behind them.

Here is how the seeding went.


Seed Driver Result
1 Rico Abreu 5
2 David Gravel 4
3 Brent Marks 11
4 Kyle Larson 20
5 Brad Sweet 3
6 Donny Schatz 8
7 Tyler Courtney 14
8 Carson Macedo 2
9 Logan Schuchart 1
10 Giovanni Scelzi 22


Obviously I undervalued Logan Schuchart’s victory in May at Eldora in seeding him in the 9th spot. As I’ve written throughout the week, after the first hot lap session if I had to seed this over he would have been at least a top three seed, if not the top seed, after that one lap of practice.

Brent Marks rollercoaster ride through the Eldora Million shows I have overvalued him as well. The speed I saw in June at Eldora was there for Marks, but a lackluster performance in his heat race on Wednesday put him behind the eight ball for the remainder of the week.

Kyle Larson and Giovanni Scelzi likely would have finished near their top seedings had they not crashed in the feature on Thursday. Otherwise I was relatively happy of how the top 10 seedings went for my first attempt at doing this.


11 Brian Brown 6
12 Spencer Bayston 21
13 Michael Kofoid 7
14 James McFadden 10
15 Sheldon Haudenschild 39
16 Zeb Wise 27
17 Kerry Madsen 79
18 Cory Eliason 13
19 Parker Price-Miller 71
20 Jacob Allen 15
21 Sam Hafertepe 82
22 Aaaron Reutzel 19
23 Shane Stewart 28
24 Daryn Pittman 18
25 Danny Dietrich 80
26 Hunter Schuerenberg 44
27 Justin Peck 9
28 Brock Zearfoss 25
29 Lance Dewease 36
30 Kasey Kahne 45

This is where I did my worst work in the seedings. For instance, I knew Brian Brown was fast, but I undervalued him thinking that all of his speed as the Knoxville Raceway may not fully translate to the Million even though Brown has run well at Eldora at times. Brown typically must pass a lot of cars week in and out at Knoxville, and I should have made that more of a factor in my seeding of him.

On the other end I over valued Swindell Speedlabs gelling with Hunter Schuerenberg. Sometimes these things take races to figure out, and I’ll be curious to how they perform the remainder of the weekend.

I was close on a few seeds such as James McFadden, Arron Reutzel, and Daryn Pittman, but largely this entire group for me was a bust due to multiple drivers having crashes or mechanical issues within the seeding.


31 Brady Bacon 74
32 Blake Hahn 35
33 Cole Macedo 38
34 Ian Madsen 76
35 Chris Windom 40
36 Sye Lynch 42
37 Chase Randall 33
38 Tim Shaffer 46
39 Jamie Veal 78
40 Cale Thomas 26
41 Cole Duncan 24
42 Bill Balog 32
43 Garet Williamson 31
44 JJ Hickle 55
45 Dylan Cisney 37
46 Justin Whittall 16
47 Kyle Reinhardt 17
48 Kraig Kinser 47
49 Greg Wilson 70
50 Lachlan McHugh 23

This is where I thought I would make the biggest mistakes, but this segment of the seeding was not as far of a miss as I thought it would be once Wednesday’s program was complete.

The biggest miss in this group was undervaluing Kyle Reinhardt, Lachlan McHugh, and Justin Whittall. I had some advice to not shortchange Reinhardt with some speed the team had recently found that I dismissed and should have adjusted accordingly. McHugh is very talented and Brandon Ikenberry has a fast race car, but I wasn’t sure it would translate at Eldora. Huge mistake on my part. Reinhardt put himself in position to take advantage of one of the craziest sequences of events I’ve ever witnessed in a heat race but showed relatively good speed all week.

Most of the overvalued seeds in this group ran into incidents during the event. I may have overvalued Greg Wilson’s knack for getting around Eldora instead of taking recent performance into account.


51 Lee Jacobs 43
52 Noah Gass 81
53 Robbie Price 34
54 Cody Maroske 51
55 Zachary Hampton 41
56 Travis Philo 73
57 Harli White 68
58 TJ Stutts 29
59 Jordan Ryan 72
60 Conner Morrell 77
61 Skylar Gee 63
62 Zane DeVault 66
63 Chris Andrews 83
64 Paige Polyak 75
65 Kory Crabtree 65
66 Cody Bova 60
67 C.J. Leary 12
68 Tyler Street 69
69 Carl Bowser 30
70 Landon Myers 49
71 Brandon Matus 56
72 Michael Bauer 53
73 Brent Matus 62
74 Ryan Myers 52
75 Mitchell Harble 54
76 Danny Smith 67
77 Bradley Ashford 64
78 McKenna Haase 50
79 Trent Pigdon 58
80 Michael Millard 57
81 Austin Bishop 48
82 Frank Rodgers 61
83 Denny Peebles 59

I knew someone in this group would make me look bad, and C.J. Leary blew his 67 seed out of the water by finishing 12th in the Eldora Million. When someone surprises me that much, I don’t even feel bad about missing it.

Austin Bishop is another driver that I felt had some impressive moments during the weekend and significantly outperformed his 81 seed I gave him.

Robbie Price is getting faster being out on the Outlaw tour, but when a driver like Price goes through the process of getting their teeth kicked in on certain nights while gaining experience that progress is not as evident until you come to an event such as the Eldora Million with a large group of racers. Price showed off his progress.

Denny Peebles deserves perhaps the larges apology from me for being placed in the 83rd seed and outpacing that prediction by a significant margin.

Otherwise, I was relatively happy with this group of seedings.

In closing

This was a fun but very laborious task. With this being a one-time event and how Eldora Speedway’s Jonathan Bateman formatted the entry list it was a prime candidate to try something like this.

Some have asked if I will do this for the Knoxville Nationals. It is under consideration, but I plan on waiting until after this weekend to decide.

I do want to thank all of the readers who made this one of the most read pre-race features I have ever done.