Right now, the level of potential among the youth in the Xfinity and Camping World Trucks Series has never been higher. With all this youth and their talent, there becomes a problem when it’s time to move them up to the Sprint Cup Series. NASCAR rules state that a team may only field 4 cars full time in Sprint Cup, however an additional team can race up to 7 races for a rookie driver as Hendrick has done this year with Chase Elliott running five races in the #25 Napa Chevrolet. In Baseball, there is a prospect rank so why not NASCAR . Well its time to wave the green flag on The 110 Nation NASCAR prospect rankings.
1) Erik Jones – Erik is possibly the most complete talent I have ever seen. He has shown that he has the skills to win at the Sprint Cup level. It was announced earlier this week that he will get that chance next year as he will run a partial Sprint Cup schedule for JGR as well as a full Xfinity schedule for JGR. JGR has a full stable of drivers currently however. As of right now, his likely move up to the Sprint Cup in 2017 may happen at an affiliate of JGR possibly with the addition of a second team as a teammate to Martin Truex Jr at Furniture Row Racing.
Jones caught the attention of JGR driver Kyle Busch when he held off Busch for the win in the 2012 Snowball Derby, the first of his back to back wins in that race. That same year Jones became the youngest driver in the history or the ARCA racing series at only 15 years of age and got a third place finish in a race at Winchester Speedway . The following year he finished second in his third career Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa.
2) Chase Elliott – Elliott was the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion. Chase has been successful in both lower tier series and shows outstanding potential as the face of NASCAR for a long time. Chase, whose father Bill was the winner of the first Winston Million in 1985 is set to take over for Jeff Gordon in the #24 car in Sprint Cup next season and has already run a few races in the #25 this season.
At only 19 years old, Chase has won the Snowball Derby which is considered to be a who’s-who of drivers from around the nation in the premier Super Late Model race in the nation. Chase also took a trifecta of awards in the Xfinity Series last year by winning Rookie Of The Year, Most Popular Driver and the Xfinity Series Championship. Chase also became the youngest winner in the history of the Camping World Truck Series when he won at Mosport in 2013 after spinning out Ty Dillon on the final lap. Chase is also the youngest winner in ARCA Series history . I value Chase as the #2 overall prospect in NASCAR.
3) Ryan Blaney – Blaney is currently in his fourth season in the Team Penske development program. Blaney has already shown a few of the tools needed to be a great driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and has even gotten 2 starts in the famous Wood Brothers #21. Blaney has ran a handful of races over the past two years as well as a part time schedule in Xfinity in 2015 in the Penske #22. Blaney has been able to get three wins over 37 races and almost won this year at Indianapolis.
Blaney also has two full seasons in the Camping World Truck Series with Brad Keselowski racing and finished in the top-10 in points in both seasons with two wins over these two seasons to go along with the win he got in 2012 at Iowa. There have been talks of having Blaney in the Wood Brothers #21 full time in Sprint Cup Series action in 2016 as Wood Brothers work closely with Team Penske.