HAMPTON, Ga – The 2018 offseason was littered with stories promoting the new found youth movement in NASCAR. That had some veterans, including Kyle Busch irritated that the sport chose to focus on the younger unproven drivers rather than showing veterans still in their prime like Busch more attention.
Well, Daytona saw a 27 year old in Austin Dillon win the Daytona 500 and a 24 year old Darrell Wallace Jr. finish second. A 27 year old Joey Logano came home fourth and 25 year old Chris Buescher was fifth. That’s four drivers in the top five that are 27 years of age or younger.
In the first practice session at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, the top of the speed chart was full of that youth movement.
30 year old Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the way in his No. 17 Ford with a lap of 186.384 mph. 25 year old Kyle Larson was second with a lap around the 1.54-mile track with a speed of 185.915 mph. Wallace, 24, was third in his No. 43 Chevrolet (185.834 mph) while Ty Dillon, 25, was fourth with a time of 185.648 mph in his No. 13 Chevrolet.
24 year old Alex Bowman, who also was last weekend’s Daytona 500 pole winner, rounded out the top five with a speed of 185.294 mph.
That’s an average age of 25.6 years old leading the way in the first practice session of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) race weekend.
Just three veterans were even in the top 10 with Denny Hamlin (37), Kevin Harvick (42) and Martin Truex Jr. (37) being sixth, seventh and 10th respectively. William Byron (20) Logano (27) were also in the top 10 being eighth and ninth respectively.
In qualifying, veterans led the charge with nine of the top 12 being 30 or older.