Preview of the 2017 Cup Series Rookie Class

by SM Staff On Wed, Jan. 18, 2017

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

As Monster Energy takes over as the new entitlement sponsor for the Cup Series this year, the 2017 season promises to be one of change. With the recent exit of Carl Edwards and the departure of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, many fans will be looking for the next rising star. In order to calculate the odds on who will have a breakout year, they may want to visit for an added advantage.

While we say goodbye to these veteran drivers, we also turn our attention to three competitors who will join the Monster Energy Cup Series to compete for Rookie of the Year honors; Erik Jones, Ty Dillon and Daniel Suárez.

Jones, the 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion, had an impressive season in the XFINITY Series in 2016, capturing nine poles and four wins in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on his way to finishing fourth in the year-end standings. This year the 20-year-old will join Furniture Row Racing in the Cup Series driving the No. 77 Toyota sponsored by 5-hour Energy.

After the announcement, Jones expressed his appreciation for the opportunity, saying, “It’s a good fit all around I feel like. I had the chance to meet with everybody and get everything lined up. To see it all come together over the past month or so has been a pretty cool experience for me. I have a lot to do this year yet, but I’m definitely excited for next year.”

Ty Dillon is also moving up to the Cup Series this year driving for Germain Racing in the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet. In 2016, his third year competing full-time in the XFINITY Series for Richard Childress Racing, he had nine top fives, 17 top 10s and one pole, finishing fifth in the rankings for the season.

Dillon has 18 previous starts in NASCAR’s premier series, with a career-best finish of sixth place at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2016 while competing as a replacement driver for Tony Stewart.

In a press release, Dillon said, “I have been preparing for this next step in my career for several years,” Dillon said in the release. “With my experience in the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series, I am ready to drive full-time in the Sprint Cup Series.”

Suárez, the reigning XFINITY Series champion, will join the Cup Series, replacing Carl Edwards in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. His 2016 season included three wins, 19 top fives and 27 top-10 finishes. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, the 25-year-old was the Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Mexico Series in 2010 and again in 2015 in the XFINITY Series.

“This is amazing,” Suarez said after the press conference to announce his 2017 plans. “I wasn’t expecting to be in this position right now. It’s been an amazing time. This is hard to believe that I’m in this position. We started all this dream 10 years ago with NASCAR, and right now to be in this position, to be in this opportunity is just something amazing for me and for everyone that has been helping me, of course.”


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