The Chevy prospect pipeline has gone through some turnover this Silly Season with Chandler Smith leaving Kaulig Racing, Sheldon Creed leaving RCR, Sammy Smith joining JR Motorsports and Jesse Love joining RCR. With the overhauled prospect pool, who are the best Chevy prospects in the lower series heading into 2024 as of now?
Sam Mayer struggled to find victory lane early in the season, but he now has four wins on the season locking him into the Championship 4. He will be back with JRM in 2024, and, if he continues to improve, he may find his way into Cup Series Silly Season conversations heading into 2025.
He proved his worth on road courses with three road course wins, but his win at Homestead shows that he can get it done on ovals as well. The biggest thing Mayer needs is to win more races on ovals in 2024, which would give him some great versatility. JR Motorsports has some of the best equipment the series has to offer, so Mayer will have a great opportunity to do so.
Sammy Smith is joining JRM to drive the 8 car for 2024 replacing Josh Berry. With the loss of someone like Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith offers at least an equal talent for Chevrolet. Not only that, but Sammy is very young at 19 years old.
He offers youth and talent to Chevrolet and JRM, which is a departure from the older Josh Berry, who is moving to SHR in 2024. Smith also brings significant funding with him with Pilot Flying J sticking with him to JRM. It may take some time for Smith to develop, but he has a chance to be a star.
Jesse Love surprised many by being the driver to join Richard Childress Racing in the 2-car for 2024. The 19-year-old won 10 ARCA Menards Series races this season en route to the Series Championship. He has some serious talent, even though he is very young.
Yes, the competition in ARCA is not very close, but, he did exactly what he was supposed to do in top equipment. This is a big move for Love, and it means that Chevrolet has poached not one, but two of Toyota’s top prospects in the same offseason.
Nicholas Sanchez has enjoyed a solid rookie season for Rev Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. The alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports has produced solid speed with five poles and 11 top-10s, and he narrowly missed the Championship 4. He will be a driver to watch as time goes on.
If he can start turning those consistent finishes into race wins, he may move his way up the Chevrolet pipeline. However, he has a lot of good drivers ahead of him, and he will have to start winning races consistently. Can he take that next step?
Christian Eckes has enjoyed his breakout season for Bill McAnally with three wins. The 22-year-old is finally turning good finishes into wins. He will stick with McAnally in the Truck Series for 2024, so, if he wants to move up, he will have to do it soon after 2024.
Eckes has primarily relied on Napa funding with McAnally, which is a McAnally sponsor more than an Eckes sponsor. If Eckes cannot start finding some sponsorship, it could be tough for him to find more rides up the ranks. However, his talent is starting to show.
There are some great drives in the Chevy pipeline. Some may say it is the best prospect pipeline in the sport now with the addition of Jesse Love. Will these drivers start winning races on Sundays soon?