Darrell Wallace Jr? Eighteen. Ryan Blaney? Eighteen. Brett Moffitt? Nineteen. All three of these drivers are in their first year of the Nationwide series: Darrell with two starts, Ryan with four, and Brett making his debut this weekend. The young guns making their way into the Nationwide Series lack experience compared to the regulars, veterans, and even the part-timers, but boy did they make a statement at Iowa Speedway this weekend.
With such a competitive Nationwide Series field this year, drivers with little experience usually don’t fair too well among the regulars; so how shocking was it to see all three of those teenagers in the top ten this weekend? Darrell, being in a JGR car, and Ryan, being in the Penske car, were driving for extremely successful organizations, most likely putting them under an intense amount of pressure.
On the plus side, the young guns were in some highly coveted Nationwide machines, due to the success with Cup regulars such as Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski behind the wheel. Brett, on the other hand, was wheeling a typically lackluster machine for RAB Racing, which is driven part-time by Travis Pastrana, and brought the car home with a top ten in his first ever Nationwide race.
Darrell, Ryan, and Brett ran around the top ten for the majority of the US Cellular 250, Darrell even qualified outside pole, helping him to lead early in the race. Darrell brought the No.20 car home 7th, while Ryan and Brett battled for 9th and 10th late in the race, with Brett claiming the spot before the drop of the checkered flag.
The new boys in the Nationwide Series have entered in style, drawing in fan admiration, and crucial exposure as they look for a future in the Nationwide Series. Experience or no experience, they were hanging with the regulars. Which is a tough feat in the Nationwide Series this season, and hopefully their performances solidified some kind of future for them.