The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season finally is here, and, for drivers, a new season brings with it renewed hope.
There are 12 drivers scheduled to race full-time this year who don’t have a Cup race win to their names. Victory doesn’t play favorites, though, as there are rookies and veterans alike who are looking to get the monkeys off their backs.
Elliott is the reigning rookie of the year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and with good reason. On the strength of 17 top-10 finishes and 10 top-five finishes, he qualified for the Chase and finished 10th in points in his first full season in NASCAR’s premier series.
The Hendrick Motorsports racer won his second consecutive Daytona 500 pole Sunday, narrowly edging Dale Earnhardt Jr. What better place to pick up your first win?
Carl Edwards’ retirement from NASCAR opened a door on the Cup level for Joe Gibbs Racing, a door Suarez was more than happy to step through. The Mexican racer is hot off his first Xfinity Series championship, which he won in a season that saw him finish in the top 10 in 27 of 33 races. He has a ton of talent, and has as good of a chance as anyone to take home Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Dillon has eight career wins in the Xfinity Series and seven career wins in the Camping World Truck Series, but no victories on NASCAR’s Cup level. Last season was his best yet, though, as he recorded 13 top-10 finishes.
Part of a newly formed second team at Furniture Row Racing, Jones’ cars have shown a ton of speed on the track, making him one of the most-hyped rookies heading into the season. He has six career Xfinity Series wins, and recorded a whopping 15 top-five finishes in 2016.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The Roush Fenway Racing driver won a rookie of the year award on the Cup level in 2013, and has eight career wins in the Xfinity Series. But Stenhouse has yet to win a Cup race, though his career-best four top-5 finishes last season suggest he’s primed for a breakout.
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