NASCAR's young guns are on the rise – Autoweek

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The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has developed an abundance of storylines and poignant topics, but none seem to have taken the spotlight as much as the success of the next generation of Cup drivers.
 
This season has featured three first-time winners — Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney– each under the age of 30.
 
Then there’s Kyle Larson, age 24, who recorded the second win of his Cup career at Fontana in March.
 
“I think as the seasons go on here, there’s more drivers expected to win,” Blaney said. “From younger drivers, we’ve seen it this year with Austin (Dillon) winning his first race and Ricky (Stenhouse) and myself and there’s a handful of others that are younger that are going to win a race pretty soon: Chase (Elliott) and Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez. I think there’s just going to be more and more competition as we get more experience, so I don’t think it’s surprising to see a few first-time winners in the Cup Series this year. I think it’s expected.”
 
As the marketable veterans of the sport begin to say farewell to the circuit, Dillon believes this is an ideal time for the younger drivers of the sport to have their breakthrough moment.
 
“I think it’s great for the sport,” he said. “It’s perfect timing because you’ve got guys kind of on their way out — their farewell tour, so to speak — and you’ve got guys on their way in trying to make a name for themselves. So it’s a perfect time to be a fan, to pick a new driver to showcase …”
 
As the season closes in on its halfway mark, Larson leads the overflowing crop of young drivers in the points standings.
 
With six top-five and nine top-10 finishes, along

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