For nearly its entire existence,the NASCAR Cup Series has always had older, veteran drivers and new young phenoms, all competing to define the skill of their generation. Some of these young drivers can develop not just into winning and championship caliber drivers, but legends. Drivers like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon, to name a few, all cut their teeth over years of Cup experience, solidifying themselves as titans of the sport. In the modern day, many young drivers are bred and developed for this very purpose: greatness. Currently, there are few drivers who are more obviously destined for success than others.
Rajah Caruth is a late model phenom, with multiple wins in the Weekly Series for Rev Racing. Last year Caruth made his first five starts in the ARCA Menards Series in the #2 Rev Racing Chevrolet, finishing in the top ten in all but one of those starts. Being in the Drive for Diversity Program, Rajah has proven he is capable of running up front with the right equipment. It is still extremely early into the 19 year-old’s career, but that hasn’t stopped Tommy Joe Martins to sign him to drive the #44 Chevrolet part time in the Xfinity series in 2022. With proper development, this young man can be a star in the higher ranks in 5 or so years.
At only 18 years old, some may say it’s too early to say what will become of Daniel Dye. In his very short racing career, Dye has only one win in a NASCAR sanctioned race, on a part time deal with GMS Racing in the ARCA Menards Series in 2021. Anyone who followed the series can tell you that in a season dominated by Ty Gibbs and Corey Heim winning 16 of the 20 races that year, any new winner that year was a breath of fresh air. After sustaining a concussion after a wreck at Winchester, some expected Dye’s performance to dip. Even after this, he scored two more top fives that season, and will return to the ARCA Series full time this year in the #21 GMS Racing Chevrolet SS.
The 2021 ARCA Menards Series runner-up, Corey Heim was the only person to consistently challenge Ty Gibbs at the front. With six ARCA wins in his first full time season, Heim is looking to make fifteen NASCAR Truck Series starts in 2022, while remaining part time in ARCA. If he impresses this season, I believe we can see him full time in ‘23, contending for wins.
As a JR Motorsports development driver, and now full time driver of the #1 car in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Sam Mayer has always shown natural speed behind the wheel. Always being successful in regional series’, it wasn’t until 2020 when many fans like myself began taking notice of him. In thirteen ARCA Menards Series starts that year, he won five of them. Also that year, on a six-race deal in the NASCAR Truck Series, he scored a win at Bristol for GMS Racing at only 17 years old. In 2021, he raced a part time schedule for the JRM #8 car in the Xfinity series, scoring six top tens and one top five. With a full time deal in the #1, a playoff appearance is almost guaranteed for the young driver. At such a young age, he has a lot of time to prove his worth.
No one can deny that Ty Gibbs is an immensely talented race car driver at only 19. Winning in his NASCAR Xfinity debut in the JGR #54, Gibbs has torn through the lower ranks. Winning in nearly every series he’s driven in, the grandson of Joe Gibbs has a very secure future in competitive cars. With four Xfinity Series wins in a limited schedule, it’s no doubt that he’ll run the series full time this season, and no doubt he’ll be a contender for the championship from Daytona to Phoenix. Week in and week out he constantly matched Xfinity regulars and experienced veterans, and I believe in a few years time he can compete for a NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
Photo Credit///John Raoux, foxnews.com