The future is now. One look at the current Monster Energy Cup Series leaderboard and one can see that the NASCAR young guns are taking over.
Who should sit atop the standings? None other young former sprint car ace Kyle Larson. Will he be the next first time winner for 2017 at Auto Club Speedway? Fontana is right in his back yard, and the 42 has at least so far shown the speed to run with the big dogs on the intermediates.
Not only do we see Larson as a factor on a week in and week out basis, Chase Elliott has been a contender virtually every week since taking over for the legendary Jeff Gordon in the 24. The fruit hasn’t fallen far from the tree in the case of Bill Elliott’s boy. William Clyde Elliott Jr. looks every bit the part of being all that AND a bag of chips.
In a presentation of the old being combined with the new, NASCAR young gun Ryan Blaney is racing Wood Brothers back to relevance. Not only do we see that old classic 21 Ford out on the track now on a full-time basis, it’s a driver who seems well-poised for years of competitive racing. It’s almost half a decade since Trevor Bayne piloted the Wood Brothers to the their first win in what seemed to be a millennium, but one gets the feeling that will change very soon for the NASCAR pioneers and the son of one of the greatest to compete in the World of Outlaws (Dave Blaney).
Though not as prolific, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez representing for Toyota in the top 20 on behalf of the NASCAR young guns. Four races does not a season make, but if you’re team owners Joe Gibbs and Barney Visser, you have to be thinking you’ve made good choices in bringing these youngsters to Cup competition. Oh sure, they have and will have more growing pains along the way, but we’ve seen Cup careers get off to much worse starts.
For all that’s wrong with NASCAR, what’s not wrong is the presence of new potential standard bearers. We haven’t even mentioned, the Dillon brothers, Chris Buescher and Gray Gaulding. There’s still plenty of season left and ample opportunity to join the party. You have to like that it’s a diverse group with drivers from the west coast, the south and even south of the border. It’s something new to look forward. One would expect this won’t be the last time we speak of them.