Though the races may be dull and TV ratings may be dropping, NASCAR does have a reason to be excited for the future.
There’s a new crop of “young guns” breaking into the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series ranks.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has already won a Nationwide Series championship and may add a second one this season before he moves up into the Cup Series next year. He made his third career Cup start at Dover this past weekend and finished 12th.
Austin Dillon won the Camping World Truck Series championship last season, one year after he won Rookie of the Year in that series. This year he’s in NNS and he’s the front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors as well as a contender for the championship.
Austin’s younger brother, Ty is close to doing the same thing in the Truck Series this year. He leads the rookie of the year standings as well as the point’s standings. This comes one season after dominating the ARCA Series.
Then there’s a group of drivers that NASCAR has already labeled as the “Next Nine.” Sergio Pena, Daniel Suarez, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Blaney, Corey LaJoie, Cameron Hayley, Chase Elliott, Dylan Kwasniewski, and Kyle Larson make up that group.
Most of those drivers race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, but a couple have already made waves in the Nationwide and Truck Series’.
Ryan Blaney got everyone’s attention when he finished seventh in his first career NNS start at Richmond back in May. He did it again when he won at Iowa in only his third career Truck Series start.
Darrell Wallace Jr. has done the same. He’s only made four NNS starts this season, but he hasn’t finished lower than 12th, and won his first career pole for his fourth career NNS race.
Though things seem bleak for NASCAR right now, these young drivers may be just what NASCAR needed.