The Year New Stars Were Born

Conover

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I'm convinced this year in NASCAR has been a huge launch point for the next generation. Ironically, the most popular driver, in his retirement season, has performed poorly...opening the gate for the young guns to rise up stronger. Recent wild races have demonstrated that fans are making their transition now. Oh they still love Junior, but they are falling in love with their new picks. The mess at Martinsville was an amazing reaction...the loud booing of Hamlin and the raucous cheering for Chase. Lots of Blaney fans too. Larson has gained some traction this season. Truex breakout year helped him as well.

Whatever happens over the next several years, there is no need to wonder where the next stars of NASCAR are. They are HERE!
 

jws926

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Whatever happens over the next several years, there is no need to wonder where the next stars of NASCAR are. They are HERE!
And I cant wait to watch them become the next superstars of NASCAR, its going to be fun.
 

Acs

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Not to be debbie downer here but I'll quote NBC's Nate Ryan and say, if these young kids don't start winning and winning a lot soon, this sport is gonna be the Kyle Busch and Brad K show for a loooooooooong time. Those two are only 32 and 33 and only just now hitting the prime of their careers for the next 8+ years. Think about what Harvick said about Junior nation, do we really want to repeat that for another decade?

Edit: To clarify, I do think Larson is legit. He will win a championship or two one day. I am not nearly as sold on Blaney nor Chase as of yet. Jones may be a quiet superstar like JJ... maybe. But Byron is the one I'd watch out for more than anyone else.
 
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StandOnIt

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don't forget showman Bowman, these guy are all pretty much unproven, they need to take some hard knocks which they will if they are trying to win. So you never know who is going to race thru those and continue to take chances and race hard afterwards. Larson has proven he will.
 

DUN24

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There is tons of talent. I've got about 6 favorite drivers now and don't know wtf to do. Lol
 

ReturnTrip

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Now we just need a Gen 7 that isn't a slot car and NASCAR might have something to build on.
 

joe h

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I've been telling people for about a year now that if they couldn't find at least one young driver to get behind out of this crop, then they just weren't trying very hard. There's pretty much something for everyone out there.
God help us if this sport gets taken over by whiny Twitter brats.
 

AdoubleU24

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I know I always go to bat for the kid and come off as a homer - it's mostly because nobody backs up their statements with anything other than hot air - but I'm gonna do it again...

How can anyone reasonably look at Chase Elliott and what he's done before turning 22 and not be "sold"? I mean really, let's talk about it.

In 69 cup races as a full time driver, Chase has 35 top 10's, 20 top 5's that include 6 runner up finishes, and 883 laps led. That's a top 10 in just over half of his starts, and a top 5 right at a 29% clip. Comparing him to everyone's favorite phenom, Kyle Larson in the same amount of starts had 27 top 10's, 10 top 5's that included 3 runner up finishes, and 168 laps led. In fact, Chase Elliott's rookie campaign eclipsed Larson's 3rd full time season in every category except wins (1), and laps led (21 fewer). People don't want to make them, but the Larson comparisons are more than real. The equipment argument holds no water any more. Ganassi is not a back marker team, they run Hendrick equipment. HMS performance has also been down in recent years, the 24 team wasn't even competitive in 2015 until the playoffs rolled around.

Prior to Martinsville, Chase had a 6.1 average finish in the playoffs (2nd best). Truex was sitting at a 5.8 avg with 3 wins. After you tally Kyle's now 3rd win, and Chase's wreck, Chase still betters him in average finish by 4 positions. The fact that Chase is even in a position to race for a final 4 spot in this format without having a win and only winning a couple of stages during the year is incredible by itself. And yet still, he was just a lap and a half at Martinsville from being the 1st driver in the finals. Think about that. That would have been a 10th in points his rookie year, and a guaranteed 4th place in year 2. If you're still not impressed, you're simply trying too hard to go against the grain and popular opinion, or you just don't care for facts and taking an analytical look at them. If Alex Bowman or Byron does, or even if Erik Jones had come in and put up these kind of numbers, this board would be doing somersaults. Chase Elliott is for real - and 2018 will be the coming out party.
 

Taco

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I wish Chase would say I've made enough money see ya later, go become a pilot or some other enjoyable profession. Then the A holes could find someone else to criticize.
 

Speedbowl14

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I'm sick of rookie fever...

I love Larson. He can drive. He's won races and dominated. He is LIGHTYEARS ahead of Blaney, Suarez, Bryon, Byron, and Chase.

When drivers are popular only because of their name/number and don't have the stats of a "most popular driver" to show for it it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Chase will win races...but he hasn't done anything but finish 2nd a bunch of times and be victim to Denny Hamiln's stupidity and the sport LOVES him. At Martinsville Chase showed the fans that he's just another guy for the sponsors who won't defend himself or do anything to look bad. He had every right to show some emotion at Martinsivlle and we got another polished interview and an "exchange" of words.

Until one of them puts up stats or gets a "tell-it-like-it-is" personality they're not worth my time, imo. That's my stance on rookies. I've been tired of them being forced down my throat.
 
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Skoalbandit33

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What Nascar could really use is a driver(s) that transcend the series and reach a new and younger demographic as that will grow the series. @ladyspartan16 spoke of how this can be done through social media a few weeks ago and it was quite interesting.
 

AndyMarquisLive

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Not to be debbie downer here but I'll quote NBC's Nate Ryan and say, if these young kids don't start winning and winning a lot soon, this sport is gonna be the Kyle Busch and Brad K show for a loooooooooong time. Those two are only 32 and 33 and only just now hitting the prime of their careers for the next 8+ years. Think about what Harvick said about Junior nation, do we really want to repeat that for another decade?

Edit: To clarify, I do think Larson is legit. He will win a championship or two one day. I am not nearly as sold on Blaney nor Chase as of yet. Jones may be a quiet superstar like JJ... maybe. But Byron is the one I'd watch out for more than anyone else.
It takes 3-5 years for these young drivers to really come to their own.

Kyle Busch is going to dominate for a long time regardless. He's far and away best driver in terms of raw talent in Cup right now aside from William Byron, Erik Jones and Christopher Bell, but again, 3-5 years and Bell's not in Cup yet. Elliott's good too -- once he gets a win, he'll get several more.
 

StandOnIt

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Kyle Busch will be one of many. He or anybody else isn't going to be heads above the rest of them like the reign of Johnson. This playoff system guarantees that won't happen.
 

AdoubleU24

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I'm sick of rookie fever...

I love Larson. He can drive. He's won races and dominated. He is LIGHTYEARS ahead of Blaney, Suarez, Bryon, Byron, and Chase.

When drivers are popular only because of their name/number and don't have the stats of a "most popular driver" to show for it it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Chase will win races...but he hasn't done anything but finish 2nd a bunch of times and be victim to Denny Hamiln's stupidity and the sport LOVES him. At Martinsville Chase showed the fans that he's just another guy for the sponsors who won't defend himself or do anything to look bad. He had every right to show some emotion at Martinsivlle and we got another polished interview and an "exchange" of words.

Until one of them puts up stats or gets a "tell-it-like-it-is" personality they're not worth my time, imo. That's my stance on rookies. I've been tired of them being forced down my throat.
Larson didn't win a race until mid-way thru his 3rd full season and had far inferior stats to Chase comparing their first 2 years (Chase still has 3 races to go), which I pointed out - but you love him for his stats and are sick of the other for his lack of? All Larson did before winning a race in year 3 was finish 2nd a bunch of times, remember? This is exactly the type of argument I was talking about in my post. It's completely contradictory and has nothing factual to back it.

What I'm sick of is people acting like Larson was always the guy we saw this season. He wasn't. He actually had a pretty slow and steady trajectory thru 3 seasons - it's right there in the numbers!

As far as his fan base goes, obviously it's a majority of old Gordon fans. People decided to stick with the 24 and a lot of people are old enough to remember his dad so they took a liking to Chase. Then you have Chase's appeal to the younger crowd. I mean you don't know how successful someone is going to be until they are. Rooting for someone from the start and never wavering is FAR more commendable than waiting until they stockpile wins and hopping on the bandwagon. I'll never not root for Chase Elliott going forward regardless of how many races he wins. I rooted for him in ARCA and up thru Xfinity and then he took over my favorite driver's ride, so why wouldn't I? And I'll follow him right to the 9 car next year.

I don't think JR's appeal is strictly name. He's a real and honest person and really easy to connect with and relate to. That's what people like.
 

StandOnIt

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I'm not a fall on the sword loyal fan of any of them, but I do like the drivers that run hard and seem down to earth. Problem is with the exception of a very few most Nascar drivers I really like. The latest crop of rookies/youngsters I'm excited about, excited about next year with the two who are driving for Hendrick. They like the others will change the sport.
 

StandOnIt

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I'm sick of rookie fever...

I love Larson. He can drive. He's won races and dominated. He is LIGHTYEARS ahead of Blaney, Suarez, Bryon, Byron, and Chase.

When drivers are popular only because of their name/number and don't have the stats of a "most popular driver" to show for it it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Chase will win races...but he hasn't done anything but finish 2nd a bunch of times and be victim to Denny Hamiln's stupidity and the sport LOVES him. At Martinsville Chase showed the fans that he's just another guy for the sponsors who won't defend himself or do anything to look bad. He had every right to show some emotion at Martinsivlle and we got another polished interview and an "exchange" of words.

Until one of them puts up stats or gets a "tell-it-like-it-is" personality they're not worth my time, imo. That's my stance on rookies. I've been tired of them being forced down my throat.
I watched Larson flounder and make mistake after mistake when he came in. 2nd year people were questioning him even being in cup the next year(can he drive?). Of course most of the Larson fans will say they never wavered in their fandom. As long as Larson continues to produce, he will have a decent fan base. Comparing "stats" to "the most popular driver" isn't that accurate. 7 time cup champion Sr was awarded the most popular driver posthumously his only time. Bill Elliott has the record for most popular and he won the cup only one year.
 

Zerkfitting

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I was thinking one of the reasons for the good crop of rookies recently goes back a few years when the Cup guys were taking over the Xfinity series and taking rides away from their future competition. NASCAR discouraged the practice and more drivers got a chance. We are seeing the results now.
 

StandOnIt

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I was thinking one of the reasons for the good crop of rookies recently goes back a few years when the Cup guys were taking over the Xfinity series and taking rides away from their future competition. NASCAR discouraged the practice and more drivers got a chance. We are seeing the results now.
part of it is the older drivers are ageing out also. Hendrick figured out a long time ago that driver development programs were a waste of time for the most part. The turn over in cup doesn't warrant much of it. Ford doesn't have a place for their only one Briscoe who is looking for a ride anywhere next year. Most of the mega teams were covering most of the races in Xfinity with cup drivers. Jr motorsports is kicking their butts this year using full time Xfinity drivers. 1,2,and third place in Xfinity. Probably none of those guys are going to move to cup anytime soon. he is getting it done with X cuppers and Byron.
 

Snowman

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part of it is the older drivers are ageing out also. Hendrick figured out a long time ago that driver development programs were a waste of time for the most part. The turn over in cup doesn't warrant much of it. Ford doesn't have a place for their only one Briscoe who is looking for a ride anywhere next year. Most of the mega teams were covering most of the races in Xfinity with cup drivers. Jr motorsports is kicking their butts this year using full time Xfinity drivers. 1,2,and third place in Xfinity. Probably none of those guys are going to move to cup anytime soon. he is getting it done with X cuppers and Byron.
It should be an interesting battle next year as well, I'm looking forward to seeing Bell with JGR vs. JRM. Tifft didn't quite bring the thunder this year.
 

MRM

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The problem with many of these younger drivers coming up is they lack a strong personality. None of them run their mouths, get into it with other drivers, are outspoken, things like that. I find Chase Elliott to have a boring personality when he's in front of the camera. We saw a little what was in him when he got into it with Denny. But when he gets back to pit road and is interviewed, the fire seemed to be gone. At least he hid it well. People want to see some of that fire.

I like Kyle Larson as a driver, but he's kind of dull. Same with a number of these guys. We're replacing Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr., and Tony Stewart with kids seem like they're just out there doing a job.
 

Towmater

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I like Kyle Larson as a driver, but he's kind of dull. Same with a number of these guys. We're replacing Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr., and Tony Stewart with kids seem like they're just out there doing a job.
I don't think he's dull on the track. Have you noticed that the "senior" drivers leave him alone on the track? They do that because he doesn't take any of their crap about respecting them and has the skills to be respected by those same "senior" drivers. IMO, he's the real deal. I can only hope that his star will rise as quickly as Austin Dillon's falls. AD is just a PR created driver. He's a caricature of what a PR person would create a driver to look like. Here is the check list they used:

1) Beard like Jimmy Johnson
2) Cowboy hat like Richard Petty
3) Drives the 3 car to make the old farts think of Dale Sr.

Check, check, and check. Now go out and sell him to the fans.
 

Towmater

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The experience is similar to walking through the woods and having a no see um bother you.
 

Heffernan

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The problem with many of these younger drivers coming up is they lack a strong personality. None of them run their mouths, get into it with other drivers, are outspoken, things like that.
I feel like a lot of these new guys coming up are too 'buddy-buddy' with each other. Ricky and Danica are always hanging out with Larson. Blaney, Chase, and Budda are all BFFs. One of the reasons I'm a Jones fan is because when asked about the friendly relationships some drivers have with each other, Erik has lived by the motto "You bring your friends to the track."
 

Zerkfitting

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I feel like a lot of these new guys coming up are too 'buddy-buddy' with each other. Ricky and Danica are always hanging out with Larson. Blaney, Chase, and Budda are all BFFs. One of the reasons I'm a Jones fan is because when asked about the friendly relationships some drivers have with each other, Erik has lived by the motto "You bring your friends to the track."
I don't have a problem with that. It is like any work environment where you spend enough time together friendships develop and you go out for a beer after work.
 
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Skoalbandit33

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I don't see drivers being cordial to one another as detrimental as I can't cite an instance where it has been an issue on track. Just because you shoot the breeze with someone or play video games with them doesn't mean you won't race them hard.
 

sdj

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I have been in sales for years and one of my friends over time was a direct competitor. We could have a beer and talk BS about anything but we never talked business, ever.
Now when we were head to head in a sales situation, we would have cut the others coho-nays off every chance we got.

As far as any age race car driver, I feel when the helmet goes on and the bad ass hotrod starts, to the man, they all want to gut the next guy. Like life, you F with me I am gonna F you back 10 fold.
 

FLRacingFan

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I don't care much for most of them personally but it's good to finally see some solid rookie classes, talent being replenished. There was a period with a lot of lean years with very little turnover. Next year the field should be more talented than it's been in a while.
 
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