HOMESTEAD-MIAMI, Fla. — On Saturday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, four drivers will compete for the coveted 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
32 races down, and the results of the 2019 playoffs have placed Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, and Justin Allgaier against one another.
As of Friday morning, Bell, Custer, and Reddick have all now been officially announced in a Cup Series ride in 2020, regardless of the outcome on Saturday night at Homestead-Miami.
Dubbed the Xfinity Series “Big 3” in 2019, the battle between them doesn’t end on Saturday night. All three will compete for the 2020 Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
It really couldn’t be any better than this. Three breakout stars, leading the Xfinity Series in three different manufacturers, the future of the sport as bright as it can be for everyone involved.
Bell will graduate to the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota, with support from his current NXS team, Joe Gibbs Racing.
Custer moves up with his current team, Stewart-Haas Racing, to drive the No. 41 Ford next season.
The 2018 NXS Champion, Reddick, moved from JR Motorsports to Richard Childress Racing during the off-season, and will continue his advancement with RCR to the Cup Series to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet.
Even if they all lose to Allgaier, who said yesterday that he’s in a “great place” at JR Motorsports, the Xfinity “Big 3” will continue their battle to the top of the sport next season and beyond.
I haven’t been this excited for a Cup Series Rookie class since 2006, when the battle was between Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, and Martin Truex, Jr. as well as a handful of other NASCAR regulars today, such as Reed Sorenson and J.J. Yeley.
Sometimes, when a driver moves up from the Xfinity Series or NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, they don’t get the best ride, and their career path takes a bit of a detour.
I look at former NXS champion Chris Buescher, who moved up to the Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports, and then got loaned out to JTG Daugherty Racing the following couple of seasons, just because there was no room at the Roush Fenway Racing inn for him.
Now, Buescher returns home to RFR in 2020, and yet it could be argued that he’s not even in as good of equipment as someone like Custer would have in his first fair shake in the Cup Series, piloting a car on a team competing for the Championship in the Cup Series this weekend with Kevin Harvick.
Even so, Custer’s future car didn’t make the playoffs with Daniel Suarez this season, and neither did Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 with Matt DiBenedetto or Richard Childress Racing’s two car team of Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric.
Regardless, I’m sure that Richard Childress, Stewart-Hass, and Leavine (with tons of help from Joe Gibbs) will be putting their best foot forward to ensure the best for their future stars.
It was mentioned by the Cup Series Championship 4 on Thursday that their average age is pretty high, almost over 40 if not for Kyle Busch, so the sport needs new, fresh faces constantly entering and succeeding to one day take the reigns.
We already have Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney… heck, even Joey Logano isn’t over 30 yet, but they will need younger drivers to compete against in the future.
I look forward to seeing what Bell, Custer, and Reddick can do not only on Saturday night as they compete for the title, but also next season and beyond.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com