|Matt Tifft is one of the 11 drivers selected to the NASCAR Next class|
Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Sarah Crabill
The 2016-17 NASCAR Next class is a diverse group of young drivers hailing from three countries and varying backgrounds. These 11 drivers were selected because NASCAR officials believe they are primed for success and will impact the sport in the future. Learn a little more about these drivers in this week’s Fast Facts.
- Harrison Burton – The 15-year-old second-generation driver from Huntersville, NC, is the son of former Cup Series driver and currently broadcaster Jeff Burton. Burton is currently competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after setting the record last year as the youngest Division I race winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history.
- Collin Cabre – A NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver as well, the 22-year-old from Tampa, FL is in his second season with Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. He captured his first career win last October after making the successful move from racing sprint cars.
- Spencer Davis – The 17-year-old Dawsonville, GA, driver was named the Sunoco Rookie of the Year last season in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and has now moved to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has established himself as a championship contender with top six finishes in his first seven series starts dating back to last season.
- Alon Day – One of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to earn NASCAR Next recognition. The 24-year-old is from Ashdod, Israel, and completed his first full season in the Whelen Euro Series as championship runner-up. Including the final two rounds of 2015, Day has won four of the last eight Elite 1 races.
- Tyler Dippel – The 16-year-old from Wallkill, NY, scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in March. Dippel previously competed in the DIRTcar Racing Series in the northeast, earning the rookie of the year title and becoming the youngest race winner in that series.
- Todd Gilliland – A third-generation driver, Gilliland is the son of Cup Series veteran David Gilliland and grandson of 1997 Winston West Series champ Butch Gilliland. The 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, NC, made NASCAR history by winning his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts. He became the youngest winner in series history with his victory last fall, and has followed it up with wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and West season openers this year.
- Noah Gragson – The 17-year-old Las Vegas native finished second in the championship standings last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. Gragson learned his trade in the Legends and Bandolero Divisions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and earned a pair of K&N Pro Series West wins in 2015.
- Gary Klutt – The second Canadian to be named to the program and the first full-time driver from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, the 23-year-old from Halton Hills, Ontario, earned his first career pole and win last year en route to being named the Jostens Rookie of the Year and finishing fifth in series points.
- Julia Landauer – Landauer, 24, from New York City, got her start racing a variety of cars – from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets to stock cars. The versatile driver was also a contestant on the hit reality show ‘Survivor’ before graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. She became the first female to win a Limited Late Model division championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, last year before graduating to the K&N Pro Series West this season.
- Ty Majeski – The 21-year-old from Seymour, WI, collected three wins and earned the 2016 Super Late Model championship in the 50th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February. Majeski added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model track record and victory in the FrostBuster at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in April.
- Matt Tifft – A development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, the 19-year-old from Hinckley, OH, is driving part-time in the Xfinity Series for JGL Racing and JGR, and racing in the Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He earned his first career pole in the Xfinity Series at Talladega earlier this month.
More on the NASCAR Next drivers: