Youth Movement Continues To Expand In NASCAR

By Christy Valdez
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the years NASCAR drivers have done everything possible to make it to where they are today, now a days the competition starts early.

Within the last few seasons many drivers have made their debuts within all of NASCAR’s series, several of them are young drivers and within their teenage years. As the level of competition in all of NASCAR’s series is at the most competitive level that they ever have been, many of its new competitors are among the largest youth movement that the sport has ever seen.

Over the past few seasons many of the newest and youngest faces in NASCAR have made their debut within the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. Many drivers that have come up through the ranks of the world of racing and have also set up a new standard along the way.

In 2011, in his second NASCAR season Austin Dillon at just 21 years old won his first championship becoming the youngest in Truck Series history. The following year James Buescher continued the youth movement by becoming the second youngest champion. During the 2011 Daytona 500 Trevor Bayne was able to give the sport a Cinderella story by becoming the Daytona 500 champion and the youngest one to do so.

Within the youth movement Johanna Long became one of the youngest competitors during her time in the Truck Series. In 2012 Long became the youngest female to have raced in the Daytona Nationwide Series opener as well as in the series itself.

Several drivers have made their way within the sport at a young age and have accomplished several features. Drivers such as Parker Kligerman, Joey Coulter, Ryan Truex, Cale Gale, and Ty Dillon accomplished plenty in such little time within their careers. Dillon was close to winning a championship in his first season and ended the year with rookie honors in trucks.

In just the 2012 season alone featured plenty debuts that contributed to the new youth movement. Some of the NASCAR Next 9 made their debuts and just like the rest of young drivers, they have accomplished several in such little time. Ryan Blaney made his debut with several team in 2012 but in the Trucks Series he became the youngest winner in the series. Kyle Larson captured three top-10s in his only four truck races. Darrell Wallace Jr. captured three top-10s and a pole award in his four Nationwide starts.

NASCAR has hope for its future, as many of its new top competitors are getting things started early and have gotten off to a great start.  Most of the drivers are still at a young age and still have the chance to continue achieve more. If racing has gotten to its most competitive level in years, with the latest youth movement it gives hope for the competitive level to continue to be as high as its ever been to go on within the seasons yet to come.

Christy Valdez is a member of the NASCAR Media. Follow her on Twitter @Knowursports or on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy 

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