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Who are the Late Model Stars to Watch Out for This Season?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

If fans want to find the next big thing before they were famous, late-model racing is where it’s at. In 2024, late model stars Bubba Pollard and Brenden “Butterbean” Queen both will race in one-off starts in the Xfinity and Truck Series respectively. Former late model stars Josh Berry and Layne Riggs have both forayed success at local short tracks into full-time NASCAR rides. Who are some other late model stars who could join the Major NASCAR ranks soon?

  • For this list, we will focus on all late-model drivers across the country. This will not be exclusive to specific series.
  • This will only hone in on late-model drivers. Those who primarily race other types of cars will not be included, but, late-model drivers who happen to race other types of cars are eligible.
  • Fans love to see late-model stars get their opportunity in NASCAR. NASCAR is the top level of American motorsports, and every stock car driver has dreamed of getting there.

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Carson Kvapil

Carson Kvapil is one to keep a keen eye on this year. He drives for Jr Motorsports in their late model program, and he has won back-to-back CARS Late Model Stock Tour Championships. He also has made some hay in the NASCAR Weekly Series. If he continues to perform at this level, maybe JRM seat could open up for him.

Kvapil already has a Truck Series start under his belt, and he will make his Xfinity Series debut at Martinsville. It will be interesting to see if/when he gets an extended look higher up the ladder. If so, he could be the next big thing.

Brandon Pierce

Brandon Pierce is joining a new CARS Tour race team in 2024. He’s only won one career race, but, he is a veteran of the series. Being a mainstay of that level, this makes him someone to watch for.

If he has a breakout season, then he can pique the interest of teams and fans. However, he needs to show some more improvement to be taken seriously higher up the ladder.

Connor Hall

Connor Hall joins the CARS Tour full-time in 2024 after winning the 2023 NASCAR Weekly Series Championship. Layne Riggs just made that jump from Weekly Series Champion to full-time Truck Series driver this season. Hall has an example to follow.

His success in the NASCAR Weekly Series could give Hall a leg-up on some others. Given that he made some connections within the NASCAR ecosystem, that can go a long way towards making the jump up into NASCAR.

Landon Huffman

Landon Huffman has a large following thanks to his presence on social media and YouTube. He’s not a total rookie to NASCAR, as he has made 5 starts in the Craftsman Truck Series, but, he’s camped out in late models for the most part. He is the 2022 Track Champion at Hickory Motor Speedway along with competing in series like the CARS Tour.

His presence on social media could make him attractive to sponsors. If more opportunities open up in NASCAR down the line, could Huffman nab a ride here or there?

Connor Zilisch

Connor Zilisch is already a Rolex 24 Class winner alongside being under a development contract with Trackhouse. It’s not a matter of if, but when he makes the jump up to NASCAR. He has oodles of talent.

However, ZIlisch is not heading NASCAR racing yet, and the CARS Tour is one place he will race this year. Knowing that he is heading up the ladder quickly, this is fans’ chance to catch him while he is young.

What are some other late-model drives that you are looking forward to watching this year? Which ones could be heading to the big leagues in the near future?

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