Like any sport, NASCAR has a mix of seasoned veterans and young up-and-comers. And although long-time competitors such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. garner most of the attention, NASCAR’s young racers are forces with which to be reckoned.
Fresh faces are good for sports. Young fans need younger athletes to whom they can relate; but youth only goes so far. At the end of the day, fans want to watch successful and consistently competitive racers.
Fortunately for NASCAR, the sport has a slew of young stars, who look like they could be winning for a long time. Here are the top NASCAR drivers who still haven’t reached their 25th birthdays.
Elliott is about to be a superstar, if he isn’t one already. In 2016, his first full season, Elliott qualified for the Chase and took home Rookie of the Year honors. His talent routinely was obvious, as he finished 2016 with 17 top-10 finishes, including 10 in the top five.
The sky is the limit for the 21-year-old Hendrick Motorsport driver, who shouldn’t have to wait much longer to taste victory for the first time on the Cup level.
Larson was born to race. A full-time competitor in all three NASCAR national series, Larson looks like he’ll be around for a long time. The 24-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing driver earned his first career Cup-level victory last season at Michigan International Speedway and also qualified for the Chase.
After qualifying for the Chase and winning his first career Cup race in 2016 for Front Row Motorsports, Buescher will race for JTG Daugherty Racing in 2017. The 24-year-old driver won the 2015 Xfinity Series championship and is a strong breakout candidate this season.
Blaney, a 23-year-old Wood Brothers Racing driver, still is looking for his first Cup-race victory but he showed a lot of promise in 2016. Blaney recorded nine top-10 finishes, including three top-5 finishes and looks primed to take another step forward in 2017. He’s no stranger to victory, though, as he has four wins in both NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.
The youngest of this group at just 20 years old, Jones is a tantalizing rookie. Part of a newly formed second team at Furniture Row Racing, Jones will look to show off his much-hyped speed in 2017. He’s no stranger to winning in NASCAR’s two other national series but he has just three Cup level races under his belt.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images
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