Let's break out the latest line-up card. Mark Martin, who is 54, has found a relief role to fill in for Tony Stewart for the rest of the year. Whether or not this leads to an opportunity next year remains to be seen.

Kurt Busch is 35. He is a former Cup champion whose talent has been on display this year; but his temper has not. So, could he be headed to a fourth car at Stewart-Haas? If he does, he'll be the teammate of Kevin Harvick who will be 38 in December.

Brian Vickers will turn 30 in two months. He has earned a second chance at Cup and has locked down a full-time ride in the 55.

Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Montoya at nearly 38 and Ryan Newman at 36 are currently the odd men out next year.

Do you see a pattern? A lack of youth; not that 30s are that old!

But, there is a definite lack of "the next generation". We think that Austin Dillon will be in Cup full-time next year and he's 23. Is Kyle Larson, at 21, ready to step into the Montoya ride? That's something Chip Ganassi will have to decide.

But, beyond these guys, there just aren't a lot of quality open seats for guys to take the next step into. The fact is, it really isn't that much different that it's been in the past. It's just that the opportunities are a lot more limited. I mean, this is the first time in years we've had any drama worth watching in the Rookie of the Year race.

It's just a shame that some of the 20-somethings currently running in the Nationwide series will age out before a good opportunity comes their way.