DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced the nine members making up the NASCAR Next Class of 2017-2018 on Tuesday evening, highlighted by a special unveiling on FOX Sport 1’s NASCAR Race Hub.
This year’s class includes returning members Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Ty Majeski, as well as newcomers Chase Cabre, Hailie Deegan, Riley Herbst, Cayden Lapcevich, Chase Purdy and Zane Smith.
Represented among those nine drivers are 40 wins and 124 top-10s in 148 starts during their 2016 and 2017 NASCAR seasons, to date; three series championships; the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year Award and a runner-up finish in the 2015 Snowball Derby.
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.
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 detailed information on the 2017-18 NASCAR Next class members, visit the next page…