Tha Sports Junkies 101

Starting a NASCAR Super Team



In the world of NASCAR fans see some of the best drivers in the world take the track every single week. Now while there certainly is a talent gap between the best of the best and the rest it’s not as big as you may think. There are so many different variables that go into what happens at the track every week. The fact of the matter is that some organizations just have more manpower and resources to put better cars on the track than a team like Front Row Motorsports simply don’t have the budget to go out and compete with teams like Joe Gibbs Racing week after week.

Now if NASCAR made a change to where every car on the track is equal and has the same base setup, what and who fans see up front on any given Sunday could be different. There very well could be the next great driver who is driving for an underfunded team because he didn’t get his chance with a big money team due to a variety of reasons. Look at Alex Bowman for example. This is a driver who had never had the privilege of being in a top-tier ride while coming through the ranks. However, with a little loyalty to an organization, he now finds himself as the driver of the #88 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Judging solely from his performance in the #88 during relief duty for Dale Jr. in 2016 he looks to be a competent replacement and possibly a future star of the sport. The thing is no one would’ve ever known just how good he can be if it wasn’t for Dale Jr. getting hurt.

Forming a Super Team

Now with that being said due to things like money and sponsorship, not every team can afford to take a flyer on a driver like that. NASCAR is, in fact, a business whether the fans want to acknowledge that or not. So just for the fun of it, let’s say that every driver in the sport was to hit free agency next year, who would be the drivers to pursue to form NASCAR’s super team. Not just of today, but of the future as well. There has to be a balance with this as you wouldn’t want to field a team of drivers who are all nearing the ends of their careers. Which would in this era of NASCAR be relatively hard to do anyway with the recent explosion of youth entering the sport. Now even with the recent explosion of youth and with how good they have looked in recent years, every team needs a veteran, a champion, to lead the team and spread knowledge to groom the teams younger drivers.

Kyle Busch

That’s right if I were to start a team right now the veteran I would target for my team would be 2015 MENCS Champion Kyle Busch. It would not be Seven-Time Champion Jimmie Johnson and here’s why. As mentioned before the purpose of this would be to create a super team not just of the present but of the future. So when I’m looking at the champions of the sport, Kyle Busch is the youngest of the bunch at just 32 years old. Kyle Busch is ten years younger than Jimmie Johnson, a former champion, and has been racing full-time at the highest level since 2005. Looking at those three things just makes it seem almost obvious who to pick. Jimmie is undeniably great but he’s 42 years of age and there is no guarantee how much longer he races. So that is problematic when forming a team to be a powerhouse in the distant future.

In terms of raw, natural talent, Kyle Busch is only behind a few drivers in the history of the sport. While fans may have resentment from his earlier years where he came off as smug and arrogant, he’s grown up. There’s no denying that Kyle Busch let the fame and success get to his head early in his career. 2018 will be his 14th full-time season in the MENCS at just the age of 32. That alone is a remarkable accomplishment. Most drivers seem to hit the prime of their career in their 30’s. Busch at just 32 already has 43 career wins and there are no signs of him slowing down.

Kyle Larson

Now if forming a team was based on just talent, for many Kyle Larson would be the first driver picked. Rightfully so as since he came onto the MENCS scene full-time in 2014 he has done nothing but impress. It took a few years for him to break through and get his first career win. However, it finally came at Michigan in 2016 which was his third full-time season. However, last year Larson had a breakout year and formed into the driver everyone thought and hoped he would be.

In 2017 Larson tallied 4 wins, 15 top-fives, and 20 top-tens. All season it seemed as if he was one of the two cars that could consistently run with Truex Jr. With the way in which he ran last season, there was not a driver in the field that wanted to see Kyle Larson advance to the Round of Four to compete for the Championship in the season’s final race. Luckily for the others, Larson ran into some issues in last years chase and didn’t get that privilege. At just 25 years of age, Larson is sure to be a force in NASCAR for many years to come.  

Ryan Blaney

Now it’s time to get into the sport’s youth, the future superstars of the sport. One of which is Ryan Blaney. Blaney who turned 24 on the last day of 2017, will be entering his third full-time season. Blaney surely has a bright future ahead of him in NASCAR with how he performed last season. Last season Blaney managed to bring the Wood Brothers famous 21 car back to victory lane. It was the teams first time since the 2011 Daytona 500. His victory came at Pocono but it felt bigger than the team’s previous win. We’ve seen low-budget teams compete and even win at Daytona as it’s a restrictor plate track. Everyone knows that with a little luck anything can happen at Daytona or Talladega.

Pocono, however, is not one of those tracks, so when Ryan Blaney drove by Kyle Busch and held off Kevin Harvick in the final laps it felt big. It put Wood Brothers Racing on the map again. In 2017 not only did Blaney tally his first career win, he also made NASCAR’s Round of 8. It proved that Blaney is a driver that can perform with the sports best and compete for a Championship.

Driving talent is not the only thing Blaney brings to the table though. Blaney is a unique personality who is very active on social media with fans. The best way to make fans is by interacting with the people who make what you do every weekend possible. Nobody out of NASCAR’s youth does this better than Blaney. Blaney also hosts a podcast for NASCAR called The Glass Case of Emotion. Driving talent and a unique personality that makes he easily marketable could land Blaney a spot on almost any team.

Chase Elliott

How could anyone start a super team of the future and not include Chase Elliott? Chase Elliott has everything to be the future face of NASCAR. Elliott is the son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott. So that means he is a descendant of NASCAR royalty. With that being the case being the son of a legend comes with high expectations. However, it also comes with a fan base.

This isn’t the only thing he has though. Elliott is just 22 years old and is entering his third full-time season. While he has yet to break through and win a race he has certainly come close. Not just this but he has performed exceptionally well and when he breaks through the floodgates could open for him. Elliott just like Blaney made it to the Round of 8 in NASCAR’s Playoffs. Chase was also just laps from a win at Martinsville that would’ve put him in the Round of 4. Then Denny Hamlin had something to say about that and forgot where the brake pedal was entering turn 3. For Elliott, it’s not if he’s going to be a superstar, it’s when.