With a number of the top Monster Energy Cup Series drivers in the forties and in the twilight of their careers, it is important NASCAR find and fertilize a new crop of future stars to take their place.

Fortunately, there's a group of young kids that have just about all it takes to fill the gap when the veterans slip off into retirement. They're articulate, social media savvy, and talented.  They have the whole package, but it really doesn't mean anything if they can't win and run up front on a regular basis.

Kevin Harvick understands this as well as anyone.  He was once the up and comer that would have been the down and outer if he didn't get to victory lane as quickly as he did as the emergency replacement for the late Dale Earnhardt.  After getting beat by Ryan Blaney at Pocono as the 23-year-old captured his first Cup win Harvick explained, "These young guys winning is important for our sport. We want to win but these young guys have to get into victory lane to get these fans who don't like me, Kyle and the rest of the guys. For that fan base that's available and new, the younger crowd has to win and Ryan was able to do that. Not only was it good for him, it was good for the whole sport."

Blaney is going to be one of the next "big things". He engages the fans and is more than happy to run around off the track promoting NASCAR whenever and wherever he can.  It might be subject to change in the very near future, but currently driving for the iconic Wood Brothers Team, it's a good thing Blaney is able to bridge the gap between fans both new and old.  

Chase Elliott does the same thing as the son of one of NASCAR's all-time most popular drivers. Elliott is also the real deal and it's shocking to think how going into the season he was the favorite to become the first new Monster Energy Cup winner only to be beat to the punch by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Austin Dillon, and his buddy Blaney. Those three were feel good stories for sure, but Elliott will move the needle a lot more than they did when he eventually grabs that elusive checkered flag.

Also among the group of young stars on the rise are Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace, bringing with them more interest from the Latin American and African American communities. Again, they're well-spoken and have an abundance of talent, but it's only by winning can they set something big in motion for NASCAR.

The best example of what will happen to any of these guys who can begin to become a serious threat to win on a regular basis is Kyle Larson.  Sure he had fans before, but he's blown the lid off by winning and running up front. His popularity is growing faster than anyone else right now. Larson is even my 80-year-old mom's new favorite, but he had to win to light the fuse.

While not exactly on life support, NASCAR needs to find as much fresh blood to pump through its veins to rejuvenate the sport's health. In a group of gifted youngsters they have just that as long as everyone remembers the prescription includes winning.


The first Cup win for RYAN BLANEY was the 99th for the Wood Brothers Team and they have now won at least one race in each of the last six decades. Blaney is now the 18th different driver they've taken to victory lane.

By leading 100 laps at Pocono, KYLE BUSCH became just the 11th driver in Monster Energy Cup Series history to lead over 13,000 laps.

We are now 14 races into the season, and only three times has the driver who led the most laps won the race.