Future Stars of the Sport Ready to Make Their Mark
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 16, 2017) – Forty wins and 124 top-10s in 148 NASCAR starts during their 2016 and 2017 seasons, to date. … Three series champions, two of whom are the youngest in their respective NASCAR touring series. … The 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year and the 2015 Snowball Derby runner-up.
These are just a few of the accomplishments already earned by the nine drivers in this year’s NASCAR Next class, and they’re just getting started.
Now in its seventh year, the industry initiative spotlights the best and brightest young stars in racing. Alumni of the program include current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suárez, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.
“The NASCAR Next program identifies emerging talent in our sport,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Drivers in this year’s class have already achieved success on the track or shown potential, and this program will help them further develop their skills. We look forward to watching these young stars connect with our fans and continue their climb up the NASCAR ladder.”
The NASCAR Next selection process includes input from industry executives, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Council and media members. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, aspire to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and show potential – on and off the track – to reach that goal.
The following drivers have been chosen for the 2017-18 NASCAR Next class:
Harrison Burton (@HBurtonRacing) – In his second year competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the 16-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, has earned wins at Bristol Motor Speedway and Virginia’s South Boston Speedway. The son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and current NBCSN analyst Jeff Burton also took home the pole award at Bristol for the second consecutive year.
Since its inception in 2011, 36 of the 46 drivers who have been selected for the program have progressed to compete in one of NASCAR’s three national series, while more than a quarter have gone on to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Twelve NASCAR Next drivers have won a NASCAR national series race.
The last three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookies of the Year are NASCAR Next alumni, as are four of the top-five contenders for the award this year: Daniel Suárez, Erik Jones, Corey LaJoie and Gray Gaulding. The last four Sunoco Rookies of the Year in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are also alumni of the NASCAR Next program.
For more information, visit next.NASCAR.com and make sure to follow the drivers on Twitter and on the track. Join the social conversation by using #NASCARNext.