Generation Now

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 14: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, stands by his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 14, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

So much has legitimately been made of NASCAR’s new generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. This was a breakout season for 22-year old Chase Elliott, who won at the Cup level for the first time then answered with two more victories and a strong run in the Playoffs. The Hendrick Motorsports driver tied last season’s career high 21 top-10s and scored a sixth-place finish in the final Cup points standings. He’s ranked in the top-10 in all three of his Cup seasons.

Erik Jones, 22, also hoisted his first ever Monster Energy Series trophy at Daytona in July and qualified for his first Playoff venture. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s top-fives (nine) and top-10s (18) are a career high. He finished 15th in the points standings.

Ryan Blaney, 24, answered his career first win last year at Pocono Raceway with a victory on the new Charlotte Road Course to punctuate his 2018 Playoff run. The Team Penske driver also had career best showings in top-five (eight) and top-10 (16) finishes and finished 10th in the final championship standings.

Kyle Larson, 25, didn’t win this season, but 12 top-fives and 19 top-10s helped the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to another top-10 finish in the standings (ninth place).

New Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, 25, more than tripled his career top-10 (11) production taking over the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 for the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. He qualified for the Playoffs for the first time and finished 16th.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.