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These are The Worst Performing Drivers So Far

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is now three races old. Some drivers have gotten off on the right foot, but, others have stumbled out of the gate. Which drivers have performed the worst so far this season?

  • For this list, we will focus on full-time Cup Series drivers. Part-time drivers are ineligible.
  • We will also focus on drivers who had higher expectations heading into the season. Drivers who were not expected to compete for wins, a Playoff spot, or a Championship will be lower-priority on this list. We will also base this mainly on performance on the track instead of purely on where drivers sit in the points standings.
  • Fans are quick to point out drivers that are not performing well. These narratives begin to form early in the season, and they tend to continue throughout the rest of the season barring a dramatic turnaround.

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski has had a rather inauspicious start to the 2024 season. He was in contention to win the Daytona 500 before crashing out, and the same song repeated itself at Atlanta down to the finishing position (33rd). At Las Vegas, he was a complete nonfactor, finishing 13th with no stage points.

While it’s been a tough start, it’s by no means panic time for Keselowski. He showed speed at Daytona and Atlanta, and his teammate, Chris Buescher, found a top-10 at Atlanta. However, a struggling race on the first conventional intermediate track of the season is concerning for RFK Racing.

Christopher Bell

After a 3rd-place finish in the Daytona 500, Christopher Bell’s young season has gone south. He was caught up in an early wreck at Atlanta, and he caused two cautions at Las Vegas due to a tire failure and a spin. Now, he sits 21st in points.

However, Bell has shown significant speed this season. He won his Duel at Daytona, and he was able to get stage points after the first incident at Las Vegas. Once Bell can clean up the accidents, he will certainly find himself towards the top of the standings.

Zane Smith

Zane Smith finally got his shot at the Cup Series this season after 4 years toiling in the Truck Series. His first three races have been a disaster with a mediocre 13th place at Daytona, a crash at Atlanta, and a poor showing at Las Vegas after sustaining damage early. All the while, teammate and fellow rookie, Carson Hocevar, had a top-15 run at Las Vegas.

Smith’s future is not at Spire since he is technically under contract with Trackhouse. However, he still is under pressure to perform, and his equipment is good enough to finish strong. These first three races are primarily down to bad luck, though, so, if Smith can find some good luck, he will be exciting to watch.

Josh Berry

Josh Berry has struggled to start in 2024, and it has been primarily down to speed. He has not been much of a factor in any of the first three races, and he failed to finish on the lead lap at the Daytona 500. This, mind you, is for a race team that made the Playoffs in 2023 with Kevin Harvick.

However, Berry has some good tracks coming up for him. All three of his Cup Series top 10s in 2023 came on tracks 1.0 miles and shorter, and four of the next five races on the schedule are on short tracks (Phoenix, Bristol, Richmond, and Martinsville). The upcoming schedule favors Berry, and he can make some hay with this schedule.

Harrison Burton

Harrison Burton is under pressure to perform in his third season with The Wood Brothers. His start to 2023 has not been promising with two finishes of 30th or worse in two of the first three races. While Daytona was not his fault, he was simply off the pace at Las Vegas.

It’s tough to see optimism in the future for Burton because of how poorly he has performed in the Cup Series. His 11th-place run at Atlanta does give some hope on superspeedways, but, there are only two more of those races in the regular season. He needs to improve, and he needs to improve quickly.

Will these drivers turn it around throughout the 2024 season? Time will tell, and these drivers need to get it going.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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