A rookie driver has not won a NASCAR Cup Series race since Chris Buescher won the August race at Pocono Raceway in 2016. Will this change in the 2019 season?
After failing to finish any of the first 20 races of the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series season in the top 13, Front Row Motorsports rookie Chris Buescher won the rain-shortened August race at Pocono Raceway. Since then, however, no rookie driver has won a Cup Series race.
Will this change in the 2019 season?
The most likely answer to this question is no, and for obvious reasons. First of all, none of the four rookies who are set to compete in the 2019 season are set to drive for top-tier teams.
These four rookies are all set to drive for different teams, and Daniel Hemric is probably set to drive for the best of these four teams, a mid-pack team. He is set to drive the #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, which was previously the #31 Chevrolet.
Ryan Preece is set to drive the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet while Matt Tifft is set to drive the #36 Front Row Motorsports Ford and Tanner Berryhill is set to drive the #97 Obaika Racing Toyota.
Secondly, these drivers aren’t what you would consider top-tier talent, at least not at this point. The odds that any one or more of them are going to go out and beat every other driver in any Cup Series race are slim to none.
Hemric, who is the early favorite to win the 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, spent two seasons competing full-time in the Truck Series and two seasons competing full-time in the Xfinity Series before getting to the Cup Series, where he competed in the first two races of his career in the 2018 season.
Despite the fact that he had success in the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series, Hemric failed to win a race during his time driving in those series. He has also spent time driving in the K&N Pro Series East, the Whelen Modified Tour, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour and the ARCA Racing Series, and he has failed to win any races in any of those series as well.
Preece is set to enter the 2019 as the rookie with the most impressive resume. The 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion had a sizable amount of success, including two victories, in the 2017 and 2018 Xfinity Series driving part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing. In 19 races driving for the team, he recorded 11 top five finishes and 14 top 10 finishes.
However, in his lone season as a full-time Xfinity Series driver, the 2016 season, Preece drove for a lesser team, JD Motorsports, and recorded only one top 10 finish throughout the season’s 33 races.
Tifft, like Hemric, spent two seasons driving full-time in the Xfinity Series and failed to win a single race despite the fact that he had success throughout his time in the series. He has also spent time driving in the Truck Series, the K&N Pro Series East, the K&N Pro Series West and the ARCA Racing Series, and he has failed to win any races in any of those series as well.
Berryhill, meanwhile, drove in the first two races of his Cup Series career for Obaika Racing in the 2018 season, and he failed to finish any of them in the top 30. A Berryhill victory in the 2019 season would be the biggest upset in the history of all sports — by far.
This is the case without even bringing up the fact that Berryhill’s best finish in an individual race in the Xfinity Series, the K&N Pro Series East and the ARCA Racing Series is 17th place.
With all of this in mind, you could really make a case that a top 15 finish by Berryhill in the 2019 season would be the biggest upset in the history of all sports.
While Hemric, Preece and maybe even Tifft could certainly combine to record a few solid results here and there, don’t expect to see a rookie find victory lane in the 2019 season for the first time since Buescher did so back in the 2016 season.
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Will the NASCAR Cup Series see its first rookie race winner since Chris Buescher won the August race at Pocono Raceway in the 2016 season? If so, which rookie or rookies will find victory lane this year?
The 36-race 2019 season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 17 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, and it is scheduled to last for nine months. The 61st annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to be the season opener on this date.