* * The drivers chosen are based solely on my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of NASCAR or anyone associated with NASCAR * *
Ryan Truex, the younger brother of Sprint Cup Series driver, Martin Truex, Jr., has proven himself in the K&N Pro Series East and will now have the opportunity to do that once again in the Nationwide Series. In 2009, Ryan moved up NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East and didn't disappoint. In his rookie season, he compiled three wins, seven top-fives, and eight top-tens; becoming only the second person to ever win the Rookie of the Year and Championship titles in the same year. In 2010, Ryan won his second K&N Pro Series East championship with two wins, eight top-fives, and nine top-tens. Also in 2010, Ryan made his Nationwide Series debut with Michael Waltrip Racing, earning three top-fifteen finishes in seven starts. Last year, Ryan spent the first half of the 2011 Nationwide season in the No. 99 for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. When it was announced that there was a lack of funding and sponsorship, Ryan was out of the ride. In September 2011, Ryan joined Joe Gibbs Racing for a total of six races - finishing in the top-fifteen in all of them. During the upcoming 2012 season, Ryan will be piloting the Tommy Baldwin Racing car for only the first race at Daytona due to a lack of sponsorship and funding; this means Ryan will be looking for a ride with any other teams.
Why I think we should all keep an eye on Ryan Truex: If you look at Ryan's stats - in both the K&N Pro Series East and in the Nationwide Series - over the past three seasons, they boast a lot of talent. I think, if given the chance to be in more races in good-quality equipment, Ryan Truex will once again prove himself and his talent and will win at least one race during the 2012 season.
Ty Dillon took the ARCA Racing Series by storm last season, amassing seven poles, thirteen top-fives, sixteen top-tens, and seven wins. This massive amount of success led to Ty taking home the title of 2011 ARCA Racing Series Champion. Starting out in Bandolero minicars, Ty quickly moved up to compete in the K&N Pro Series in 2010 and competed for the championship where he only ran eight races - finishing thirteenth in points. In late 2010, Ty made three ARCA starts and won two of them. Last season, Ty made his Camping World Truck Series debut at Kentucky Speedway, finishing eighteenth after running out of fuel while running in the top-five. He also ran two more Truck Series races at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing in the top-five both times. This year, Ty will take on the Camping World Truck Series in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado that his older brother, Austin, won the championship with last season.
Why I think we should all keep an eye on Ty Dillon: In only three Camping World Truck Series races last season, Ty proved his immense amount of talent. When looking at Ty's stats from last season in both the ARCA and Camping World Truck Series, people will quickly realize that he possesses the pure talent to succeed in the Camping World Truck Series.
You all probably recognize Ryan's last name. To answer the question that is plaguing you, yes, he is the eighteen-year-old son of Sprint Cup Series driver, Dave Blaney. During the 2011 season, Ryan ran a combined three races in the K&N Pro Series East and West. In his third - and final - start, Ryan captured the checkered flag at Phoenix International Raceway. Ryan also competed in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) where he was named the 2011 PASS South Champion. Also competing in the ARCA Racing Series in two races, he finished in the top-ten in both. This year, Ryan will be racing in NASCAR's Nationwide Series in the No. 36 for Tommy Baldwin Racing in six races, starting April 27th. In addition to the Nationwide Series, Ryan will also run a combined six K&N East and West races for his family-owned team, DB Racing.
Why I think we should all keep an eye on Ryan Blaney: Ryan has certainly proved that racing is in his blood and that it's what he loves doing, judging by the number of wins and top-five and ten finishes he's had over the past year. When you look at what Ryan has accomplished at his age, many people trying to break into NASCAR would be envious of his recent success and future endeavors.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next set of drivers!
*All photo credits to their rightful owners: I don't own any of them*