NASCAR

Fresh generation of drivers emerging on NASCAR circuit

Posted 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Updated 11:09 a.m. Sunday

Joey Logano drives through Turn 1 during practice for a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway, Saturday, March. 18, 2017, in Avondale, Ariz. Logano was the pole winner for Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

— The NASCAR kids keep coming on strong.

Five of the highest-starting eight drivers in NASCAR's lineup for its Monster Energy Series race on Sunday are 26 or younger.

Ryan Blaney, starting next to pole-sitter and teammate Joey Logano on the front row, is 23. Kyle Larson starts in the second row, and he's all of 24.

Blaney finished second in this year's Daytona 500; Larson won at Michigan last year and finished second in the last two Cup races.

The age keeps dropping down the grid, and the fourth row consists of Chase Elliott, who is finally old enough to drink, and Erik Jones, who doesn't turn 21 until the end of May. Elliott was third last week in Las Vegas and won a preseason qualifying race at Daytona.

"Obviously there's a lot of talent out there," said Martin Truex Jr., winner last week in Las Vegas. "We've seen what the young guys are doing. They're nipping at our heels and making me feel old."

Also in the field is rookie Ty Dillon (24) and Trevor Bayne, who six years ago became the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 one day after his 20th birthday. He's 26 now and practically a Cup veteran.

Of course, pole-sitter Logano is no old-timer at 26, but he's well established as one of the circuit's stars. He has 17 NASCAR wins, including last year's November race in Phoenix.

He's also in a little bit of a firestorm — he came to Phoenix embroiled in controversy after hard-racing with Kyle Busch last week led to a scuffle on pit road.

But Logano isn't considered part of this group of fresh new NASCAR stars, among them Larson, who keeps flirting with another win.

"It would be nice to get a win and we have challenged now for most of, the last probably five, races," he said. "It's really cool to run up front. I've never had this speed this early in the year. I'm soaking it all in and enjoying it."

Truex said today's young drivers are helped by the cooperation between teams in the same ownership group or part of an alliance. Truex and his Furniture Row Racing group benefit as the sister team to Joe Gibbs Racing. The deep resources and sharing practices differ greatly from when he started his career driving for Dale Earnhardt.

"When I started, we had two cars at DEI and it was two different teams and two different buildings and not sharing everything," he said. "So things have changed a lot, and I think it's helped those guys a ton get off the ground, but obviously we've seen a ton of talent come into the series, and it's been exciting to watch."

Blaney drives a Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, but the team is essentially a B Team for Roger Penske, who has Logano and Brad Keselowski starring for Team Penske.

"They have been really good to us as far as sharing information," Blaney said. "We sit in on all their meetings and I feel like a part of the team. At the same time, we are still the Wood Brothers, a single-car team on the dragstrip in Mooresville. We have a great relationship with Team Penske and they are a big part of why we run so well."

Blaney feels he's closing in on that first win. He started third in Las Vegas last Sunday.

"Our cars have been competitive enough to win all three races (this year)," he said. "It just was circumstances. It is just about putting a full race together. It is really tough to win one of these Cup races."

HARVICK'S TROUBLES

No one has dominated in Phoenix more than Kevin Harvick. He's won there eight times, including the last three spring races.

He will have to battle from behind at the start again to win another one Sunday.

In his first year with Ford after a career driving Chevrolets, Harvick will start way back in 23rd. But he's been in this situation before. Last year, he started 18th on the grid, but wound up leading a race-high 139 laps en route to the win.

"We just haven't really qualified that well here lately at this particular race track," Haravick said. "Our race stuff has been pretty good though and we will just look to do that again."

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Golf: WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Miami

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL Soccer: Miami @ North Carolina FC

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASCAR: Auto Club 400

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: NCFC @ San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL: NCFC @ Miami

    Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NCAA Tournament Elite 8

    Tomorrow at 6:00 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • NASL: North Carolina FC v. Miami

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 95.7 The Ticket

  • NHL: Canes v. New Jersey Devils

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Maimi

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm

  • NASL: NCFC @ San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm

  • NASL: NCFC @ Miami

    Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 pm

Men's College Basketball
NCAA Tournament
36Halftime
52
207:23
1st Half
15
#3
6:39 PT7:39 MT8:39 CT9:39 ET1:39 GMT9:39 北京时间6:39 MST8:39 EST
Preview
#2
#8
6:59 PT7:59 MT8:59 CT9:59 ET1:59 GMT9:59 北京时间6:59 MST8:59 EST
Preview
#4
NBA Scoreboard
Denver6416.6
2nd Qtr
Indiana53
Detroit3950.5
2nd Qtr
Orlando55
Brooklyn362:47
2nd Qtr
Washington61
Cleveland532:51
2nd Qtr
Charlotte45
Phoenix122:27
1st Qtr
Boston25
Philadelphia 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
New Orleans 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Houston 
Atlanta 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Milwaukee 
Sacramento 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Golden State 
Minnesota 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
LA Lakers 
NHL Scoreboard
NY Islanders019:09
2nd
Pittsburgh0
Tampa Bay05:18
1st
Detroit0
San Jose 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Dallas 
Winnipeg 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Anaheim 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Rochester 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Syracuse 
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Buffalo 
Pawtucket 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Lehigh Valley 
Toledo 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Indianapolis 
Norfolk 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Charlotte 
Columbus 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Louisville 
Durham 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Gwinnett 
WGC Match Play (PGA)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
MatchHScore
Na v Haas0AS
Leishman v Mickelson0AS
Rahm v Howell III0AS
Kjeldsen v McGirt0AS
Tanihara v Casey0AS
Fisher v Watson0AS
Noren v Koepka0AS
Johnson v Johnson0AS
View Full Leaderboard
Puerto Rico Open (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1tB. DeChambeau-1118
1tD. Points-1118
1tB. Lunde-1115
4tT. Wilkinson-1018
4tJ. Henry-1018
4tT. Hoge-1018
4tC. Stroud-1018
4tR. Campos-1018
4tJ. Spaun-1018
10tM. Thompson-918
View Full Leaderboard
 
Kia Classic (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Kerr-911
2tA. Ernst-716
2tM. Martin-712
4tM. Hur-618
4tK. Icher-611
4tJ. Stoelting-610
7tJ. Ewart Shadoff-518
7tL. Thompson-518
7tM. Jutanugarn-518
7tI. Chun-518
View Full Leaderboard
 
WGC Match Play (EURO)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
MatchHScore
Na v Haas0AS
Leishman v Mickelson0AS
Rahm v Howell III0AS
Kjeldsen v McGirt0AS
Tanihara v Casey0AS
Fisher v Watson0AS
Noren v Koepka0AS
Johnson v Johnson0AS
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Friday, Mar. 24
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(13) J. Sock     
Y. Nishioka     
(20) G. Simon     
J. Struff     
(11) L. Pouille     
D. Young     
(7) M. Cilic4 6 3   
J. Chardy6 2 6   
(26) P. Kohlschrei7 3 77   
T. Fritz5 6 64   
(3) M. Raonic6 7    
V. Troicki3 5    
(19) A. Ramos-Vino65 6 3   
J. Vesely77 4 6   
(2) K. Nishikori6 6    
K. Anderson4 3    
(15) P. Carreno Bu6 5 2   
F. Delbonis1 7 6   
(30) J. Sousa68 6 3   
F. Fognini710 2 6   
(28) M. Zverev4 4    
J. Donaldson6 6    
(5) R. Nadal6 6    
D. Sela3 4    
(23) S. Johnson4 7 4   
N. Mahut6 5 6   
(21) P. Cuevas5 0    
B. Paire7 6    
(25) F. Verdasco 
E. Escobedo 
(9) G. Dimitrov 
G. Pella 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Friday, Mar. 24
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(20) C. Suarez Nav     
J. Goerges     
(21) C. Garcia     
S. Peng     
(1) A. Kerber     
Y. Duan     
(31) D. Kasatkina     
S. Rogers     
(3) S. Halep6 2 6   
N. Osaka4 6 3   
(24) T. Babos77 2 0   
P. Parmentier61 6 6   
(25) R. Vinci3 2    
T. Townsend6 6    
(7) S. Kuznetsova6 6    
M. Minella2 2    
(28) I. Begu6 4 3   
L. Arruabarre3 6 6   
(8) M. Keys6 6    
V. Golubic1 2    
(32) E. Makarova77 1    
A. Kontaveit61 5    
(10) J. Konta6 4    
A. Sasnovich2 4    
(22) K. Mladenovic64 1    
P. Tig77 3    
(14) S. Stosur6 5    
A. Barty4 4    
(16) K. Bertens 
R. Ozaki 
(11) V. Williams 
B. Haddad Mai