The NASCAR Guard is About to Change

Erik Jones is one of a healthy crop of young NASCAR stars who are waiting in the wings for their shot at Cup racing.

Erik Jones is one of a healthy crop of young NASCAR stars who are waiting in the wings for their shot at Cup racing.

The names we’re most familiar with in NASCAR aren’t going anywhere just yet. However they’re about to be joined by familiar last names and unfamiliar first names. The new crop of drivers for NASCAR are just around the corner and many of them are sons of the current Cup crop.

Matt Kenseth’s son, Ross Kenseth, just made his Xfinity debut in Chicagoland and was more than impressive with a front row start and 6th place finish. Erik Jones, by now no stranger to those in the paddock, won the race.

Ryan Blaney was right there to take second, Austin Dillon 3rd while Brendan Gaughan interrupted the kids parade finishing 4th and Chris Buescher finishing 5th. Daniel Suarez, Brian Scott, Ty Dillon and Darrell Wallace, Jr. rounded out the top ten.

Who won? Erik Jones. A real live star in the making, as is at least 8 of the aforementioned drivers. It’s an inevitability that the guard is changing and with it the competition in the Cup series will grow even more hard to call. These boys can drive and everyone has noticed.

The health of any racing series is based on who the up and coming talent is and with NASCAR there’s no shortage of capable hard racing youth. They are the stars of tomorrow who will have the chance, en masse, to compete with their Father’s, their heroes and tighten down on the top twenty at any given race.

Darrell Wallace, Jr. may set NASCAR on the map as a success in it's Drive for Diversity program.

Darrell Wallace, Jr. may set NASCAR on the map as a success in it’s Drive for Diversity program.

Many of the current Cup drivers will still be at full bore competition when these youngsters arrive such as the Busch brothers, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and the list goes on. The Xfinity Series is proving it’s worth as the proving ground for hard upper level racing, a skill these young drivers will need.

Once they were big fish in a little pond and now, even in the junior Xfinity Series, they are big fish in a bigger pond. The lake of predators in the Cup Series awaits.

Most of these drivers grew up knowing little else other than racing cars or karts. Their Father’s and heroes may very well have been line mechanics at their Dad’s car dealerships or sweeping garages in pursuit of a seemingly unobtainable dream.

But dreams are what auto racing is made of, only bigger than most. ‘Go heavy or go home’ is a weight lifting expression but it might as well have been plastered on these kids cribs. They know only one thing, that is to win no matter how hard they have to suffer personally or on-track.

Auto racing is the ultimate in performance based careers. You either run at the front and win or you go home. Going home isn’t on these guys list of things to do. They would rather run barefoot over a bed of hot coals than admit defeat, but when they do lose they learn.

Losing is a horrible feeling, but it’s one that every driver needs to know.

You’ll never know what it’s like to win if you don’t know what it’s like to lose.

 

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