Derek Griffith – part-time competitor in the ARCA Menards Series — has taken the top seed in the 2021 edition of the Speed 51 Short Track Draft. Griffith outranks talented young racers Corey Heim and Stephen Nasse to take the draft’s top-spot and his second consecutive podium appearance.
After winning the GSPSS Championship in 2015, Griffith shifted his focus to the PASS Super Late Model Series, scoring his first victory in the series that season and has since won at least one in each season since.
However, Griffith’s name didn’t totally gain national attention until the start of the last season, when the Hudson, New Hampshire-native competed in the ARCA Menards Series East seaosn-opener at New Smyrna Speedway…. and totally dominated the race.
Leading 144 of 175 laps, Griffith ultimately finished in the runner-up position to Sam Mayer, but this triggered some name recognition, especially when it was revealed the team was looking for the funding in order to continue to run the full-season.
Eventually, Original Gourmet Lollipops signed on to sponsor the 24-year-old for the full ARCA Menards Series East schedule, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought racing across the country to a screeching hault. After the pandemic, some schedule re-positioning left Griffith to running eight ARCA Menards Series races and one ARCA East race with Chad Bryant Racing.
For 2021, Griffith’s scheduled ARCA Menards Series races with Venturini Motorsports, have actually already happened, resulting in a 30th-place finish at Daytona – after a big crash involving teammate Gracie Trotter — and a top-five result at Kansas. However, Griffith, with the support of new sponsor SpotON, is looking to add races to his schedule.
As the first seed in the Speed 51 Short Track Draft, there is no doubt that Griffith has some leverage to make something happen, when it comes to returning to the ARCA Menards Series for more races this year.