64 SPRING 2017
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES 2017
THE FUTURE’S IN GOOD HANDS
If there was any concern about how
NASCAR might fare as it grapples with
the reality of a world without popular
veterans Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and
Carl Edwards, the early signs are that
there are plenty of younger drivers ready
to carry the mantle for a new generation.
Hendrick’s Chase Elliott (LEFT) was left
heartbroken after falling a few sips of fuel
short of winning the Daytona 500. But
when you factor in that he’s only 21 and
started the race from pole for the second
year straight, it’s hard not to think that a
Sparks are fine, but under NASCAR’s new
rules, damaged bodywork could result in
an early end to a driver’s race.
NASCAR’s next generation is stepping up to the plate.
career to match that of his father, 1988
series champion Bill, could be in the works.
Kyle Larson suffered a similar fate to
Elliott when his Ganassi car ran dry while
leading, although he was still happy with his
overall progress. “I’ve been studying quite a
bit, and it’s starting to pay off,” he noted.
One of the drivers to capitalize on
Elliott’s misfortune was Wood Brothers’
Ryan Blaney. The 23-year-old finished a
narrow second to Kurt Busch in the
Daytona 500 – a career-best for a guy
who ended last season 20th in the points. R u s s