Watch out, Veterans, the kids are gaining on you!
I didn't have time to write a blog last week because of my job but what sticks out in my mind about the last two weekends has been how exciting the youngsters have made them. Kyle Larson has been one of my favorites since he first came on the scene. He was the star of the first Eldora Mudsummer Classic, the way he drove practically touching the wall and slung that car around on the dirt, the way he pulled off the most thrilling slide jobs.
Everyone kept saying he would win soon but he fell into a kind of sophomore slump that extended into his junior year. I don't think it was his slump though so much as it was Ganassi's slump. Now he's driving cars his crew chief, Chad Johnson, built and their new-found performance and confidence is beginning to pay off.
I was rooting for him last week at Dover. He put on one hell of a show there but years of experience gave Matt Kenseth just edge enough to out-maneuver him.
Then this weekend, he and Chase Elliott fought door to door to try to get themselves into the All-Star Race. Again, I was cheering Kyle, not because I like Kyle better than Chase, but like Kyle himself, I was sure Chase would get in via the Fan Vote so Kyle needed the win more than Chase did.
I figured it would be a better race with both of them in it and it surely was. They were the ones who added all the pizazz to what was a kind of a confusing mess of a race. Chase made some absolutely stunning passes. Kyle fought Joey down to the wire but again, experience (and I do consider Joey an old hand by now) won out.
Seemingly, just a tick behind Kyle and Chase Elliott is Ryan Blaney, another young driver who seems able to balance the risk of youth with wisdom beyond his years.
I don't think that experience thing is going to work for much longer. These young'uns are coming and they're coming fast. We've lost Jeff and this is Tony's last year. We have a whole group of drivers who are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning - Jimmie, Junior, Matt, Biffle, Kevin - all are in their early 40's. All are still at the top of their game but inevitably age will come into play sooner rather than later.
We miss our favorites, of course, but thankfully, it seems that NASCAR is in good hands with the Sprint Cup kids as well as those coming up through the Truck and Xfinity ranks.
And the All-Star race. I heard lots of people complaining about it. My Grandma used to that anything was was totally screwed up was just a big "mixa-moxa" and I'd have to call this race a big mixa-moxa for sure.
On the other hand, in previous years, I've heard people bitch that it had gotten stale. It is for fun and money, not points, so who cares if NASCAR tries some things, even if some of them work and some don't? Jimmie, for instance, had put himself in perfect position.....if, that is, there hadn't been so few cars on the lead lap that there were only two without fresh tires and they got eaten alive. And who could have predicted just 11 lead lap cars. It is still an interesting concept and might prove interesting in another year.
So, let's just go with the flow and not get worked up about the small stuff.
i agree, and as long as we have those talented kids, nascar will continue being a sport worth watching,,,at least for me,,,the performance of those kids is just so great, and fun to watch,,,,,watch out veterans.....
its too bad these kids aren't that great.we haven't had a rookie win a race in what,10 years?and it mostly has to do with the top cup drivers taking all the good rides,money and trophies.
I feel bad for the rookies when their series are abused by cup champions and all the money,trophies,and good rides are taken by cup drivers leaving young up and comers with nothing.
cant get good sponsors or rides when cup drivers steal all the wins away.nothing in their resume for the cup series.
just another way to look at the not so bright future of nascar.
Ah, Tombo, is it just your nature to be a cynic? ha! I think the Xfinity series is taken advantage of by cup teams too, not necessarily Cup drivers. It is the package of Cup team and Cup driver that is so deadly. Chase Elliott certainly has a good ride. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. has a good ride if Roush ever gets its old form back and it seems they are moving in the right direction. Kyle Larson has a good ride although I admit Ganassi is no JGR. And speaking of JGR, when Matt retires, I expect the 20 will go to Erik Jones.
yes they are in good rides but driver quality isn't there like with harvick,busch bros,johnson,ect had in their first years of cup..
how can u say the ,kids,, r not that great? two of them certainly r capable of winning a race, and may do so before the season is over, chase elliott and ryan blaney,,,r currently 7th and 15th in the standings, in the cup series,,,,,now if u r talking about the xf series,,,that is a different situation,,,i tend to agree with u on that,,,somehow, there should be some restrictions on the cup drivers racing in that,,but vicki's blog is not about the xf series,,,she is talking about the cup- series,,and it is a great blog, as usual. for a rookie to be that high in the standings is a rarity, and to run top 5 and top 10 consistently, even without a win, means they r pretty damned good, imo..
Yes, and I consider Kyle Larson one of the "kids". Ganassi has been lagging but it looks like they may have their act together now. He's shown his talent in other races and Matt just beat him by a hair at Richmond.
i was talking about the cup series and no they aren't as great as most other top cup drivers their rookie years,like I said these young drivers coming to cup haven't done much let alone won a race like the most of the top cup stars now did their rookie years.
I will admit this is the best rookies weve had in like 10 years,but as far as the veterans having to watch out because these young guys are coming,i don't think they have to worry.nascar hasn't produced winning successful drivers in a while,just a popularity contest and the future of the sport cant depend on whos popular or not.
I really want chase or blaney to win.the future of nascar doesn't look promising with out winners.
Well, I think part of the problem is that the "old" Cup guys were allowed to practice on the tracks they raced on but NASCAR stopped that. I think that put the young ones behind.
yes,you are right about that.i never thought about that.there is a lot missing from nascar from when nascar was still nascar I even forget about.