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How Have Rookies Performed So Far This Season?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

One of the most interesting battles of every NASCAR season is the Rookie of the Year battle. In a sport where rookies tend to struggle, this battle gives rookies a more attainable benchmark to set reasonable goals for the upcoming season. Here is how the current NASCAR Rookies are performing so far this season.

  • For this list, we will review all the drivers who joined for the season’s Rookie of the Year battle. Even if something derailed someone’s season, we want to note how every rookie performed.
  • Some drivers had higher expectations than others heading into the season. We will consider that when evaluating all of the rookies.
  • Fans love to watch the Rookie of the Year battle. This is how many fans are introduced to certain drivers, making for an interesting storyline.

Cup Series

Josh Berry

Josh Berry has performed admirably in his first full-time season despite Stewart-Haas Racing shutting down. He leads the Rookie of the Year standings 20 races into the season and has a ride for next year with The Wood Brothers. Berry has done about as well as he can given a difficult situation.

Carson Hocevar

Carson Hocevar’s rookie season has had some highs and lows. He leads all Spire Motorsports drivers in points and has two top-10 finishes, but he also incurred a penalty after intentionally spinning Harrison Burton under caution at Nashville. Overall, it’s been a positive season for Hocevar, but he needs to clean a few things up.

Zane Smith

Zane Smith is last in points among full-time Cup Series drivers and is looking for a new ride as Spire Motorsports brings in Michael McDowell for 2025. Will Trackhouse be able to bring Smith in full-time, or will they choose SVG? Either way, Smith’s future is uncertain.

Kaz Grala

Kaz Grala only races part-time in the Cup Series for Rick Ware Racing. He does not have a DNF for RWR, with his only DNF coming for Front Row Motorsports in the Daytona 500. With three top-20 finishes, he’s shown some promise, but he’s still only a part-time driver.

Xfinity Series

Jesse Love

Jesse Love joined Richard Childress Racing after a 10-win season in the ARCA Menards Series, and he has given RCR a glimmer of hope for the future amidst Cup Series struggles. He leads the rookies in points despite having only one win. He’s shown remarkable consistency and figures to be a Cup Series driver in a few years.

Shane Van Gisbergen

SVG has exceeded expectations on road courses so far, winning three races alongside a solid oval performance with eight top-15s and 11 top-20s in 14 oval races. Considering he’s heading to these tracks with little to no practice, that’s an impressive record. It’s not a matter of if Trackhouse brings him up to Cup, but when he does so.

Leland Honeyman Jr.

Leland Honeyman Jr. has been quiet in his rookie season with Young’s Motorsports. In Young’s first season in the Xfinity Series, Honeyman has hovered around 20th in points with six top-20 finishes in the first 18 races. For a rookie team and a rookie driver, that’s not a bad record.

Hailie Deegan

Hailie Deegan’s rookie Xfinity Series season has fallen off the rails. After only 17 starts, she lost her ride with AM Racing, and her future is uncertain. Time will tell if she can recapture the same magic she had in the regional touring series.

Dawson Cram

While Dawson Cram joined the Rookie Battle to start the season, he is no longer accumulating Xfinity Series points for an unknown reason. In 13 starts, he hasn’t had a DNF since Daytona, and he’s recorded four top-25 finishes for JD Motorsports. Given his equipment, he’s done an alright job so far.

Truck Series

Layne Riggs

Layne Riggs has all but locked up the Truck Series Rookie of the Year Award, but it’s been an up-and-down season for him. A lot has gone wrong for Riggs, from crashes to poor performance to penalties. However, with two top-fives in the last four races, he could be on the verge of turning his season around.

Thad Moffitt

Thad Moffitt joined the new Faction46 team to start the season; then, he was replaced by Dawson Cram for Nashville before Faction46 decided not to enter Pocono. It seems Faction46 is all but dead, but Moffitt will continue racing for Young’s Motorsports in the No. 46 truck. With three DNFs and only one top-20, it’s been a tough year so far for Moffitt, but it’s tough to judge too harshly given his situation.

Conner Jones

Conner Jones only races part-time for ThorSport, so he has some solid equipment. While he’s failed to record a top-10 in eight races, he has five top-20s. Maybe not quite the level ThorSport is used to, but, for a Rookie, it’s not a bad record.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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