Race Weekend Central

Top 15 Up-And-Coming Drivers From The Nationwide and Truck Series

The Sprint Cup Series might have been off this past weekend, but Power Rankings still runs strong. A lot has been said about drivers making their marks in the Nationwide and Truck Series this season so far, and there is an interesting mix of backgrounds. Some carry the names of their successful parents, some are looking to find their way back to the Sprint Cup Series from which they came and others are just looking to make a name for themselves in second-tier equipment.

There is most certainly a mixed bag of experience and talent. Throw in the occasional Sprint Cup Series driver looking for a win and you have the perfect recipe for great racing. Say what you want about the sport and the direction it is heading. The up-and-coming talent should make anyone excited about the future of NASCAR.

The dirt track at Eldora and Indianapolis are up next this weekend. But first, see if your favorite driver from the Nationwide and Truck Series made the cut.

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

Total Votes


Chase Elliott is one of the Nationwide Series young guns who could be unafraid to put the bumper to a Cup driver at Bristol this weekend.Chase ElliottChase Elliott certainly seems to have picked up some speed genes from his famous dad. But the way he’s leaping learning curves, he may have gotten some special brain genes from mom as well. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

First Place Votes: 8




2014 Talladega I NNS Ryan Blaney CIA

Ryan Blaney

Surprised he hasn’t been more effective in the Truck Series. But he has impressed in a Nationwide car. Needs to be full-time in the Nationwide Series for the next two seasons and then Cup will be calling. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

First Place Votes: 2



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsTy Dillon

Whether Kevin Harvick likes it or not, the next Dillon is on the way. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsDarrell Wallace, Jr.

On pace to step up a notch in 2015 to Nationwide. Why? No African-American driver has won more within NASCAR’s top three series in its 66-year history. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com



Chris Buescher walks down pit lane at Daytona International Speedway in July 2014. (Credit: CIA)

Chris Buescher

Absolutely incredible Buescher is eighth in points after missing the season opener at Daytona. Has finishes of fifth and eighth in his last two starts. Buescher and the No. 60 team are making major gains each week and don’t be surprised if they are contending for wins soon. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PortraitsErik Jones

Hard to believe he’s only 18. Has already won in the Truck Series twice and really impressed in his Nationwide debut at Chicagoland. I’m smelling “driver development” deal sooner rather than later. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN




2014 NASCAR Cup Trevor Bayne headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLTrevor Bayne

Has the attention and the following behind him, but we’re still waiting for the day it all comes together into results. And with a move to the Sprint Cup Series next year, we might be waiting a little longer. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsRegan Smith

Regan Smith is having a strong season and may have a big chance to take JR Motorsports all the way to the top at Homestead. He might join Dale Earnhardt, Jr. there at the top as well. Dwight Drum, TraceTake.com



2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PortraitsJeb Burton

It’s been a tough road in 2014 for Jeb Burton. Hopefully he can find something more permanent soon because this kid is really good in the right equipment. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsMatt Crafton

In perfect position to be the first back-to-back Truck Series champion. But are Cup teams considering him too old to jump up the ladder into a top-tier program? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsBrian Scott

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has improved more over these last two seasons than Scott. Consistently has run up front or near the front the entire 2014 season and finds himself fifth in Nationwide points. Would be stunned if he didn’t score his first Nationwide win this season. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




2014 Dover I CWTS John Hunter Nemechek truck CIAJohn Hunter Nemechek

He hasn’t been around long but he’s quickly shown that he’s got everything needed to be successful in this sport for years to come. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsDylan Kwasniewski

Only 18 but he’s had a rookie year in the Nationwide series that could be best described as rough. He’s lost some stock because of that, but he’ll improve with time and patience. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com



2014 Charlotte I NNS Ryan Reed CIARyan Reed

Could be the saving grace for Roush Fenway Racing in the coming years. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsJames Buescher

Wouldn’t it be interesting (or maybe confusing) that in a couple of years the Sprint Cup Series could have the Busch Brothers and Buescher cousins? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com


Others Receiving Votes: Ben Kennedy (35), Joey Coulter (31), Ryan Sieg (30), Landon Cassill (28), Elliott Sadler (24), Sam Hornish Jr. (22), German Quiroga (20), Tyler Reddick (20), Ross Chastain (11), John Wes Townley (11), Johnny Sauter (10), Timothy Peters (8), Corey LaJoie (8), Mason Mingus (7), Cole Custer (6), Austin Theriault (6), Dakoda Aromstrong (5), Gray Gaulding (4), Ron Hornaday Jr. (1)

Participants: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jim Noble, ESPN, SiriusXM NASCAR/PRN; Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

About the author

Mike starts his second year with the Frontstretch in 2014 working on a combination of promotional and marketing assignments. Managing the NASCAR Power Rankings (Wednesdays), he works with broadcast and writing experts from throughout the world of racing to produce the biggest national weekly poll on Sprint Cup competition. Also our resident Marketing Assistant, Mike handles day-to-day client responsibilities while settling into his new digs outside of Charlotte.

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Confidence building is nearly as important as improving skills in the development of a winning driver. What drivers learn in the NW and CWTS today is that on their best day they could finish 6th. Teaching young drivers to lose consistently is the formula for the production of mid pack drivers that never seem to be able close the deal because they lack the belief that they actually could win. But I suppose driver development is not nearly so important as allowing character deprived Cup regulars a venue for extra practice and ego masterbation.


Can you guys mention Darrell Wallace’s name just ONCE without having to talk about race? I get it, it’s historical, blah, blah, blah but enough is enough. Why see color first? I don’t see or think about what color someone is, he’s a good driver on the way up that’s enough. This incredible obsession you “journalists” have with someone’s race, and categorizing people because of it is mind numbing.


Quite a jump down after 6th 90-69

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