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Rookie of the Year Battle: Who Are the Rookies in Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Rookie of the Year battle is one of the best storylines to watch across all three Series every season. It’s the beginning of a young driver’s career, and it often is the first time that fans are introduced to these different drivers. Who are these drivers battling for Rookie of the Year across all three series? Today, we will go through the battle along with a little bit about these new Rookies.

  • We will update this article throughout the season with the latest updates on the Rookie of the Year standings across all three National Touring Series. We will also provide a short bio on each of these rookies.
  • The Rookie of the Year award is decided by whoever is the highest-finishing rookie in the final points standings. 13 drivers who have won the Cup Series Rookie of the Year award went on to win a Championship.
  • Fans love to speculate and talk about how the Rookies are doing. These are the first impressions drivers make on their competitors and the fanbase.

Cup Series

Current Standings

  1. #4 Josh Berry: 129 Points
  2. #77 Carson Hocevar: 125 Points (-4)
  3. #15 Kaz Grala: 82 Points (-37)
  4. #71 Zane Smith: 67 Points (-62)

Drivers

  • #4 Josh Berry: Josh Berry joins Stewart-Haas Racing this season after years of toiling in late models and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Berry tries to fill the shoes left by future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Kevin Harvick. Crew chief Rodney Childers, who won a Championship with Harvick in the #4 car in 2014, will steer the ship for Berry and the team.
  • #15 Kaz Grala: Kaz Grala joins Rick Ware Racing as the anchor driver for the #15 car for 2024. He is scheduled to make 25 starts, so, winning Rookie of the Year may not be in the cards, but, it is a big opportunity for him to go Cup Series racing on an almost full-time basis.
  • #71 Zane Smith: After 4 years in the Craftsman Truck Series waiting for a Cup Series opportunity, Zane Smith has it at Spire Motorsports. Smith is at Spire on loan of sorts from Trackhouse as he is technically under contract with Trackhouse. Smith also joins a brand new race team in 2024, as the #71 car was formed after Spire purchased a charter from Live Fast Motorsports.
  • #77 Carson Hocevar: Carson Hocevar burst onto the scene in 2023 with 4 Truck Series wins, a Championship 4 appearance in that series, and admirable fill-in driving in the Cup Series for both Spire and Legacy Motor Club. While he ruffled a few feathers in the Truck Series, his raw talent is undeniable. Hocevar joins the #77 team at Spire Motorsports, which finished 33rd in the 2023 driver and standings with Ty Dillon driving.

Xfinity Series

Current Standings

  1. #2 Jesse Love: 226 Points
  2. #97 Shane Van Gisbergen: 156 points (-70)
  3. #42 Leland Honeyman Jr.: 108 Points (-118)
  4. #15 Hailie Deegan: 76 Points (-150)
  5. #4 Dawson Cram: 49 Points (-177)

Drivers

  • #2 Jesse Love: A 10-win season and an ARCA Menards Series Championship in 2023 vaulted Jesse Love to Richard Childress Racing for 2024. Love replaces Sheldon Creed in the #2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro, and Austin Hill returns to the team as a teammate to Love.
  • #4 Dawson Cram: JD Motorsports brings on Dawson Cram to replace Brennan Poole as the team’s anchor driver for 2024. Cram previously pieced together part-time opportunities in the Xfinity and Truck Series throughout his late teenage years and early 20s, but, this is his first full-time season in any NASCAR National Touring Series.
  • #15 Hailie Deegan: AM Racing welcomes Hailie Deegan to the team for 2024. Deegan is the first female to compete in the series full-time since Danica Patrick in 2012. Deegan is hoping to reignite her career after 3 forgettable seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series.
  • #42 Leland Honeyman Jr.: Young’s Motorsports is expanding its operation into the Xfinity Series for 2024, and 19-year-old Lelan Honeyman Jr. is their driver. Like both Cram and Love, this is Honeyman’s first full-time NASCAR National Touring Series season, but, Honeyman has only 9 starts to his credit (8 Xfinity, 1 Truck). He did finish 3rd in the 2023 ARCA Menards Series East standings.
  • #97 Shane Van Gisbergen: Arguably the most talked-about prospect in all of NASCAR at the moment, SVG comes stateside after an incredible stretch in Australian Supercars. He joins Kaulig Racing thanks to an alliance with Trackhouse. While his win in the Chicago Street Race shows he can get it done on road courses, can he win on ovals?

Craftsman Truck Series

Current Standings

  1. #38 Layne Riggs: 91 Points
  2. #46 Thad Moffitt: 50 Points (-41)
  3. #66 Connor Jones: 49 Points (-42)

Drivers

  • #38 Layne Riggs: The son of former 4-time Xfinity Series and 5-time Truck Series winner Scott Riggs, Layne joins Front Row Motorsports in 2024. FRM won a Championship with Zane Smith in 2022, and Riggs won the Advance Auto Parts NASCAR Weekly Series Championship that same year. While this is his first full-time National Touring Series season, he made sporadic starts across the Xfinity and Truck Series in 2022 and 2023, including a 3rd place finish at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Trucks in 2023.
  • #46 Thad Moffitt: A member of NASCAR’s royal family, Thad Moffitt is the grandson of Richard Petty, and Moffitt joins the new Faction46 team for 2024. While new to full-time competition, Moffitt has some experience including 4 Truck Series starts in 2022. He spent 2023 racing in the Trans Am Series.
  • #66 Connor Jones: Connor Jones is the only driver on this list to not be competing full-time. He will race for ThorSport on a part-time basis. While he missed Daytona because he was under 18, he turned 18 on February 22nd, so, he is technically eligible for the rest of the races on the schedule.

These are the drivers to watch for in the 2024 Rookie of the Year battle. Which one will take home the prize at the end of the year?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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