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2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings

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2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings

regan
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The NASCAR Nationwide Series allows young drivers to compete and drive amongst other prospects and veterans. With seven rookies this season, part of the NASCAR youth movement, there will be a lot of talent to watch. There are 19 drivers currently with a team running full time in the Nationwide Series. On average, there is a lot of competition between the Top 10 and 11, remaining the same this upcoming season as previous years past.

The Rookie Of The Year competitors (ranked):

  • No. 3-Ty Dillon
  • No. 9-Chase Elliott
  • No. 31-Dylan Kwasniewski
  • No. 99-James Buescher
  • No. 16-Ryan Reed
  • No. 43-Dakoda Armstrong
  • No. 67-Tommy Joe Martins
  • While Elliott looks to be second in the ROTY race rankings, Dillon is much more experienced and driving a phenomenal ride (not that Elliott isn’t) leading to Dillon’s top rank. He should have a spectacular season, finishing at least fifth in points, although at this time I do not see him competing for the national title this season.

    Elliott’s lack of full-time experience will allow him to hopefully finish top 10, if not top five, in points. Having picked up a J.R. Motorsports ride, Elliott has the equipment (and skill) to compete and have a strong season, hopefully following his NCWTS stat line.

    Kwasniewski, a K&N Series two-time champ, is making his national season debut in 2013 driving for Turner-Scott Motorsports. Winning is in his blood, and the media spotlight is around him daily, already as an 18-year-old. With a solid setup in the No. 31 TSM Chevrolet, Kwasniewski will be able to make a smooth transition into one of the top racing series. However, it will take some time for the young prospect to become a true title competitor.

    Rounding out the top rookies is James Buescher, the 2012 NCWTS champion. Buescher’s presence in the truck series is well known as he has finished third in points twice in addition to his championship, in the last three seasons. After coming off his worst season (which was still spectacular), Buescher will look to make his presence in the Nationwide Series as dominant as in the trucks. Buescher who will be taking over Alex Bowman’s No. 99 ride from a season ago, should be able to finish in the top 10 in points, but the biggest question is whether he can be more competitive in this ride than Bowman was. His skill set is high, and his competitive nature has been shown, so it will just take time until Buescher can become a competitive stock car driver.

    Find out the complete NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings on the remaining slideshow pages.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 1st & 2nd

    Elliott
    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    1. Regan Smith No. 7:

    After being the mid-season leader last season, a couple poor finishes slowly slid him down to third in points. After finishing the 2013 season third in points, with both Sam Hornish Jr. and Austin Dillon not in the series, Smith now looks as the top ranked driver. With only five Top 5 finishes in the last ten races, Smith will look to improve that stat line and continue his strong start like last season, posting an 11-race top-10 finish streak as he competes for the championship title. High: first. Low: third.

    2. Elliott Sadler No. 11:

    After back-to-back second-place finishes in standings, Sadler and the No. 11 squad took a step back finishing fourth in 2013. Sadler is looking to show that he still is a competitive driver and will need to produce more top fives and finish with a couple of wins if he wants to compete for the Nationwide title. It is important for Sadler to become a little more consistent with his finishes and should look to improve his stats for the final 10 races in the season. High: first. Low: fourth.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 3rd & 4th

    ty
    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    3. Ty Dillon No. 3:

    With almost a NCWTS title in 2013, Dillon has also been successful with his part-time Nationwide Series racing; recording four top 10s and one top five in 12 races, taking a slight step back in 2013 in comparison to his three top 10s in three races in 2012. Taking over his brother’s championship ride from a season prior, Dillon will be able to take advantage of his ride and skill, being the strongest competitor for ROTY, and should become a 2015 title contender while gaining experience this season. High: third. Low: sixth.

    4. Trevor Bayne No. 6:

    There is much scrutiny as to whether Bayne has reached his limit, winning the Daytona 500 in Sprint Cup and placing sixth in Nationwide. This is the year where Bayne has the opportunity to silence all the doubters, as he will be in the battle for the championship title. His performance last season has been his best yet, but as stated, this may be Bayne’s limit as a driver. He will be competing full time in the Nationwide Series and also driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in 12 races in the Sprint Series. In order to revive his rank as a Sprint Cup driver and prospect, he will need to record good finishes in his limited Sprint races meanwhile also improve his stats from a year ago by being an option for the his first Nationwide Series championship. High: first. Low: sixth.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 5th & 6th

    brian
    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    5. Chase Elliott No. 9:

    Elliott is a very young driver with limited racing opportunities in NASCAR series having two seasons of K&N Pro Series East experience before running a limited nine-race NCWTS schedule in 2013. After finishing with seven top 10s, one pole and one victory in nine races, his talent is undeniable. Elliott now has the opportunity of running a full-time schedule this year as a rookie in the NNS. He will be driving a JR Motorsports car that will make him teammates with Regan Smith and the No. 5 car driven by Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. giving Elliott a nice competitive advantage. His first full-time season will bring some inconsistencies but his talent and equipment should have this driver challenging for a top five finish in points by the end of the season. High: fourth. Low: ninth.

    6. Brian Scott No. 2:

    Entering his fifth Nationwide Series season, Scott has yet been able to finish in the top five in points. At this stage Scott, is much like Bayne in the sense that he is becoming an aging prospect who has yet to have the success that has been anticipated. While he may not be a premiere talent, Scott has been able to record better a better stat line every season he has raced in this series, but hasn’t been good enough to make it to victory lane in any of his four seasons. With only making an appearance or two in the Sprint Cup thus far, he looks to be on the outside of the top five looking in as he will be looking to impress in order to achieve a full-time Sprint Cup ride. High: third. Low: sixth.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 7th & 8th

    dylan
    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    7. Dylan Kwasniewski No. 31:

    Elevating his way through the K&N Series has allowed Kwasniewski to be a full-time driver in 2014. He is very competitive and used to winning. He will be driving a Turner-Scott Motorsports car, previously driven by Justin Allgaier, and should have a successful rookie season. It will take some time for him to get used to the different race cars and the competition level difference than what used to, meaning he will have some bumpy patches but his skill level and equipment should allow the young driver to have a top 10 finish in points. High: fifth. Low: ninth.

    8. Brendan Gaughan No. 62:

    Gaughan, a NASCAR veteran, has mostly competed full-time in the truck series, but has had a few successful Nationwide seasons back in 2009 and 2010 finishing ninth and 11th, respectively. After improving his stats in the NCWTS by placing seventh, Gaughan feels he has more to improve, hence his move to the Nationwide Series. Partnering with Richard Childress Racing, this team will provide a competitive edge. With Gaughan’s experience, and the ride he has, the No. 62 South Point Resort Chevrolet has an opportunity to improve his Nationwide Series stats taking the eighth spot in rankings, as he should be able to finish in the top 10 at the very least. High: sixth. Low: 10th.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 9th & 10th

    james
    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    9. James Buescher No. 99: A one-time NCWTS champion, in 2012, Buescher is an exciting prospect and Nationwide rookie candidate. After much success in trucks, posting two third-place finishes and a championship in the last three seasons, Buescher knows it is time to move on to the next level. Having some part-time Nationwide experience, in 2012, posting eight top 10 finishes and one victory in 20 races, he has shown his ability to race at the next level. His upside is quite high, but the full-time transition may take some time. A driver who has the potential to finish top five will get a more conservative rank of ninth as his equipment might not be as solid as other teams and his second season is more or less the season where he will work out any issues and will become a very competitive driver. High: fifth. Low: 10th.

    10. Chris Buescher No. 60: If the other Buescher brother, Chris, runs full-time in 2014, he should also be competitive. However, his upside is not that of his brothers, but his championship in the ARCA Series in 2012, and two top 10 finishes in his seven NNS races last season display the type of skills that he has. With Travis Pastrana moving on from the No. 60 Roush Fenway team, this has given Buescher the chance to move up to a more consistent ride for the Nationwide Series. At this time, the number of races has not been announced, so as stated, his ranking of 10th is based on running a full-time schedule. High: eighth. Low: 12th.

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    2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Power Rankings: 11th-19th

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

    The Remainder:

  • 11.Ryan Reed No. 16
  • 12. Landon Cassil No. 01
  • 13. Jeremy Clements No. 51
  • 14. Dakoda Armstrong No. 43
  • 15. Mike Wallace No. 28
  • 16. Jeffrey Earnhardt No. 4
  • 17. Joey Gase No. 52
  • 18. Willie Allen No. 76
  • 19. Tommy Joe Martins No. 67