Restrictor Plates Are Off: Santa Bring Me A Cup Ride

In this weeks “Restrictor Plates Are Off” Column we are going to be looking at the Top 5 drivers that I look to be a force in the Sprint Cup Series in the next 2-3 years. I had started an article earlier in the month to try and break down every up and coming young driver but there are so many in the pipeline I quickly became overwhelmed. So instead I decided to just go with the five that I think have the best chance to make it at the Cup level in NASCAR.

#1 Austin Dillon
(Photo Credit:Wikipedia)
Austin has proven he can win championships already by taking the 2011 Camping World Truck Series Title. He was a solid contender last year in his first year in the Nationwide Series and will be again in 2013. Its just a matter of time before he steps into one of his Grandfather’s Cup cars. With Kevin Harvick leaving the #29 car at the end of 2012, there is no better time than #2013. The writing has to be on the wall at Richard Childress Racing. Austin Dillion To Cup by 2014.

#2 Ryan Blaney
(Photo Credit:USA Today)
In 2012 Ryan became the youngest driver ever to win in the Camping World Truck Series. A win that came in his 3rd start. The family racing heritage is rich with his father Dave Blaney. Ryan already has one foot in the door at Penske Racing and Roger has proven that he likes young drivers. If Sam Hornish Jr. does make it back to cup in 2014 her better start winning races or he will quickly be replaced by Ryan Blaney in 2015.

#3 Kyle Larson
(Photo Credit:
My first opinion of Kyle Larson was not a very high one. Where did this kid come from? If he hadn’t come up through drive for diversity he wouldn’t even be here, and what was he thinking driving that deep under Ty Dillon? If you want to here the rest its on Twitter somewhere! But after going back and doing my research I soon realized that this kid can drive! He belongs at the top level of Nascar. With top 10’s in his first two truck series starts he has proven that he is a quick learner. With a young talent friendly Turner Motorsports behind him he will have the chance to learn and grow his skills over the next few years. In 2015-2016 look out for Kyle Larson!

#4 Ty Dillon
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
An Arca Champion, just a few laps away from being a Truck Series Champion, Ty Dillon is the real deal, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he turns out to be a better driver than older brother Austin. He showed after his wreck with Kyle Larson that he has a cool head on his shoulders which will get him a long way in this sport with the fans and the sponsors. Look for him to take over his brothers Nationwide ride in 2014. To years in there and that would put him ready for Cup in 2016. I don’t see Jeff Burton racing much past that, do you?

#5 Chase Elliot
(Photo Credits:
Out of all five driver’s Chase has the least big time experience, heck he hasn’t even started a race in the big three in fact by the 2012 rules he isn’t even old enough to. But he does have a ton of race car time. In 2010 he ran 40 races at various tracks across the country, winning 12 times and finishing in the top ten 38 times. He also won the Winchester 400 one of the most important short track races in the country. In 2011 he ran the full K&N East Series season finishing 9th in points. He also ran in the CRA National Late Model Series where is won the championship. That winter he went on to win the famed Snowball Derby becoming its youngest winner at the age of 16. In 2012 he returned to the K&N East Series finishing 4th in points. As you can see Chase is a very consistent driver which goes along way toward winning NASCAR championships. He also has two over large factors backing him. In 2011 he signed a three year developmental deal with Hendrick Motorsports and he is Bill Elliot’s son which inherits him a huge fan following, that alone is worth alot these days when 3/4’s of the battle for a cup ride is having a sponsor and a driver like Chase should have no problem finding one. Chase won’t be 18 and eligible for a Cup or Nationwide ride(or full time Truck ride) until 2014. A year in trucks, a year or two in Nationwide, he should be cup ready in 2018. Sounds like a good year for the driver of the #24 to hang it up and Chase to step right in?

Drivers Who Could Play Mr. Grinch 



(Photo Credit:

There are a few “veteran” drivers out there rebuilding their careers right now in the Nationwide Series and gunning for another shot in Cup. They could easily fill a vacant seat and keep one of the above young guns down.
1. Elliot Sadler
2. Regan Smith
3. Brian Vickers

Honorable Mention
1. Corey LaJoie
2. Brett Moffitt
3. Ryan Truex
4. Max Greshem
5. Dylan Kwasniewski

All above facts and stats came from
“Restrictor Plates Are Off” is simply a weekly opinion column shared each week with the viewers of, a word press blog. We are not a professional media outlet nor do we pretend to be one. Just a NASCAR fan who enjoys sharing opinions with our readers. This article is written by Jeff Southard. For questions or comments pleas either respond through the website or email

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