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Srigley Stats: NASCAR's New Generation Shows Up in Full Force at Kansas

This week, #SrigleyStats covers NASCAR's new generation, Larson's momentum for May, another fantastic finish, and a brand-new era: Heim Time.


hero image for Srigley Stats: NASCAR's New Generation Shows Up in Full Force at Kansas

Over the last decade, the ‘youth movement’ has been a major topic of discussion in the NASCAR Cup Series, with drivers such as Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson, and several others moving into the highest ranks of NASCAR.

While several of those drivers are still in their 20s, there's a newer, younger generation of drivers coming into the NASCAR Cup Series, which reached an all-time high Sunday at Kansas Speedway, with six drivers in the field having a birthday after January 1st, 2000.

In that newly-realized faction of drivers in Sunday's AdventHealth 400 were Derek Kraus (#16 Kaulig Racing), Harrison Burton (#21 Wood Brothers Racing), Todd Gilliland (#38 Front Row Motorsports), Corey Heim (#43 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB), Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing), and Carson Hocevar (#77 Spire Motorsports).

Of those six drivers, only four (Burton, Gilliland, Gibbs, and Hocevar) compete on a full-time basis, whereas Derek Kraus runs part-time and Corey Heim served as the interim driver for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB after Erik Jones was injured at Talladega.


Harrison Burton (born October 9th, 2000) was the first driver born during the 21st century to compete at NASCAR's top level, making his debut at Talladega Superspeedway in the Spring of 2021. Since then, Burton jumped to Wood Brothers Racing, where he currently runs his third full-time campaign in the No. 21 Ford Mustang.

At Kansas, Burton came home in 36th -- the worst of the six highlighted drivers -- after spinning down the backstretch during the final stage of the race, getting stuck when his Ford Mustang Dark Horse had multiple flat tires, causing him to lose several laps.

In 85 starts, the 23-year-old racer has recorded a single top-five finish at NASCAR's top level -- a third-place finish at the Indy Road Course in 2022. That result currently holds as the best for a driver born after the turn of the century in the Cup Series.

Sunday's AdventHealth 400 marked the 200th NASCAR National Series start for Harrison Burton, which at the moment remains the most by any driver born after January 1st, 2000.

Todd Gilliland (born May 15th, 2000) was the highest-finishing of the six drivers born after January 1st, 2000 in Sunday's AdventHealth 400, bringing his No 38 Long John Silver's Ford Mustang Dark Horse home with a 14th-place finish.

Despite having one fewer start than Burton, Gilliland leads the league among drivers born after January 1, 2000, in laps complete, having run 21,388 laps in the NASCAR Cup Series. The son of long-time Cup Series competitor David Gilliland, Todd is one of eight drivers born after the turn of the century to win multiple races across NASCAR's National Series -- collecting three Truck Series wins.

Similar to his Ford Performance teammate in Harrison Burton, Gilliland joined the NASCAR Cup Series searching for Rookie of The Year honors in 2022, and since then has primarily driven for Front Row Motorsports in the No. 38 Ford Mustang.

Ty Gibbs (born October 4th, 2002) is without a doubt the most successful driver of this six-man group, leading the NASCAR National Series in victories among drivers born after January 1st, 2000, with 12 wins, while also becoming the group's first champion.

The grandson of NASCAR Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs, the 21-year-old driver broke onto the scene three years ago, and has quickly made a splash, winning on debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, before being tossed into a Cup Series car for the first time 16 months later.

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Gibbs has easily been the most successful driver of this new generation, earning seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 63 starts at NASCAR's top level, while also leading 315 laps. In recent weeks, it's become evident a win is on the horizon.

Sunday's race at Kansas didn't quite go to plan for Gibbs, though, despite running inside the top five for a significant portion of the event. However, as the race's laps clicked off, the Joe Gibbs Racing crew brought him to pit road to get fuel, but then a late-race yellow trapped him a lap down.

Carson Hocevar (born January 28th, 2000) has quickly risen from being a driver in the NASCAR Truck Series to being a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, after some impressive efforts while filling in for Spire Motorsports and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB last season.

Making his 102nd start in NASCAR's top-three series, Hocevar is a four-time winner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series -- ranking fourth of drivers born after 01/01/2000, behind Christian Eckes (7), Corey Heim (7), and Chandler Smith (5).

Despite being a Rookie of The Year (ROTY) contender, Hocevar has had a pretty solid season in the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro for Spire Motorsports, becoming the fourth driver to score a top-10 finish at NASCAR's top-level among the group of drivers born in the 21st century.

Hocevar showed some more of that strength Sunday at Kansas, running as high as seventh in the race's closing stages, before having to come down pit road for fuel, but returned to the lead lap for the race's final NASCAR Overtime stint, finishing 24th.

Corey Heim (born July 5th, 2002) is certainly the outlier of this six-driver group, with the NASCAR Cup Series not technically being part of the pre-season plans for the Marietta, Georgia native, being a reserve driver for 23XI Racing and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB.

With his victory Saturday at Kansas Speedway, Heim tied Christian Eckes as the winningest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver born after January 1st, 2000, scoring his seventh victory while driving for TRICON Garage.

It's been a season of learning for Heim, who has competed in the NASCAR Truck Series (TRICON Garage), NASCAR Xfinity Series (Sam Hunt Racing), and now the NASCAR Cup Series (LEGACY MOTOR CLUB).

Sunday's race at Kansas didn't go super smoothly. After qualifying inside the top-20, Heim was slapped with a speeding penalty on the first pit stop -- a setback he wouldn't overcome until late in the race.

During the final run, Heim surged as high as 16th, before a NASCAR Overtime restart would shuffle the field, and subject the newest Cup Series driver to chaos, which resulted in him spinning off the final corner, finishing 22nd.

Derek Kraus (born September 1st, 2001) is one of two drivers born after January 1st, 2000 to debut in the NASCAR Cup Series, earning a six-race slate with Kaulig Racing that began at Las Vegas.

Kraus spent several years competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, earning four top-five finishes in 76 starts, and leading 134 laps. Lately, the driver has been running part-time for Kaulig Racing, first in the Xfinity Series and more recently at NASCAR's top level.

At Las Vegas, Kraus, driving the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro, became the first driver born after January 1st, 2000 to lead laps in their NASCAR Cup Series debut, and has since led laps in two of his first three starts -- something that hasn't been done since Shane van Gisbergen.

Other than the six circuits around Kansas Speedway led by Kraus in a green-flag pit cycle, the afternoon was pretty quiet for the driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro, coming home on the lead lap in 31st place.

Photo Credit: Ben Earp, NKP for Ford Performance


With less than three weeks until Kyle Larson attempts to run 'The Double', the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion is finding a major surge of momentum in May, winning Sunday's AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway.

The victory, which saw Larson beat Buescher to the start-finish line by the smallest margin in the history of NASCAR's top level, served as the 25th NASCAR Cup Series win for the Elk Grove, California native and his 19th win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Larson becomes the 36th driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to reach the 25-win mark, and the first to crossover the threshold since Joey Logano earned his 25th win on March 8th, 2020 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

At 11,601 days old, Larson is the 11th-youngest driver to reach this mark in the NASCAR Cup Series, coming up more than six years short of the record, which Jeff Gordon, Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, holds.

On the horizon of such an important moment in his career (the first attempt at the Indianapolis 500), Larson will always have this landmark victory to remember, as it will likely continue in the history books as the closest NASCAR Cup Series finish for quite some time.

In his last four NASCAR Cup Series wins, Larson has managed to triumph by a margin of less than half a second, with Sunday's race being his second victory with a MOV under a tenth of a second.

Photo Credit: Tim Parks, HHP for Chevy Racing



It's been a great year for photo finishes in NASCAR.

For the first time, NASCAR's top three divisions have had three different finishes with a margin of victory (MOV) clocked at less than 0.005 seconds.

Sunday's AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway was certainly the most captivating finish of the season, though, as Kyle Larson beat Chris Buescher to the start-finish line by 0.001 seconds for the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history.

At Texas Motor Speedway, Sam Mayer beat Ryan Sieg to the start-finish line by 0.002 seconds -- the second-closest finish in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Then, earlier in the season, again in the NASCAR Cup Series, Atlanta Motor Speedway played host to a three-wide photo finish, which saw Daniel Suarez beat Ryan Blaney to the start-finish line by 0.003 seconds.

The common denominator? Ford Performance has come within inches of securing its first NASCAR win of 2024 on three different occasions, losing by a combined 0.006 seconds with drivers Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, and Ryan Sieg.

With two finishes under 0.005 seconds in the NASCAR Cup Series this season, the series has an average margin of victory of under one second, sitting at 0.957 seconds after 12 races.

It's been a banner year for great finishes in NASCAR, and with 24 weeks remaining, there's still lots of time to continue making history.

Photo Credit: Harold Hinson, HHP for Chevy Racing



Those paying close attention to drivers climbing through the ranks of NASCAR's National Series know the name Corey Heim.

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Heim is currently in the midst of his second full-time campaign in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, driving the No. 11 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for TRICON Garage.

In his time competing in the NASCAR Truck Series, Heim's results have been nothing but stellar, picking up his seventh victory in Saturday's Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway.

With 49 NASCAR Truck Series starts in his pocket, the driver has managed to record an impressive 37 top-10 finishes, which equates to 75.5%, ranking second to only Kyle Busch.

On top of that, Heim remains the only driver to score a victory under the TRICON Garage banner, after the team rebranded at the start of last season upon its return to Toyota.

This season, Heim has taken on a larger schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, having run six of the opening 11 races for Sam Hunt Racing, which resulted in a career-high fourth-place run at Richmond.

While not part of the original plan, Heim also got the chance to debut in the NASCAR Cup Series, serving as the reserve driver for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB when Erik Jones was injured at Talladega.

Heim managed to record finishes of P25 (Dover) and P22 (Kansas), despite several setbacks that made it difficult for the 21-year-old to maximize his results.

Known for his steady and consistent nature, Heim will turn his focus back to chasing a title in the NASCAR Truck Series, while he also looks to earn the best finishes possible in his Xfinity Series starts with Sam Hunt Racing.

Photo Credit: Ben Earp, LAT Images for Toyota Racing

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