Sunday, May 1, 2022

3 in Their Third: A Monthly Spade Racing Series—May Report


Two years ago there were six rookie drivers.  Last year four of them returned for their sophomore seasons.  This year the three best are back once again for their third seasons in Cup—and just like over the past two years, we’ll be ranking them here at Spade Racing.

Just like in years past we’ll be utilizing the PRETTY grade—Performance Relative to Equating Team’s Typical Year—as a way to properly rank someone from a top-flight team like Joe Gibbs Racing against someone from a top-flight slumping team like Stewart-Haas Racing against someone from a mid-level operation like RCR.

Here’s where our three guys stack up heading into Dover:


1.) Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Racing).  2022 Best Race Finish: 2nd (Bristol Dirt). PRETTY Grade: A.  Tyler came thisclose to posting his first Cup win at Bristol, and if not for a last-place finish at Talladega last weekend, would be on the outer edges of the championship hunt.  Time will tell what it will take for Reddick to make “the leap”, which could be something as small as a stroke of luck, something big like a major new sponsor, or something obvious like moving to a different race team.


2.) Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing).  2022 Best Race Finish: 3rd (COTA).  PRETTY Grade: B.  C.Bell is actually ahead of Tyler Reddick by a single point in the standings.  However, Tyler gets the slight edge due to the better PRETTY grade and the better best race finish.  Bell will likely need to notch a win to make the Playoffs and make this season more than just the year he reminded everyone that Yahoo still exists.


3.) Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing).  2022 Best Race Finish: 11th (Auto Club).  PRETTY Grade: D-.  Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Briscoe are 10th, 11th, and 12th in the points standings respectively.  Cole is 26th.  Yeah, might be time for him to “take a management position” with the team so we can watch Riley Herbst DNF in the Cup Series for a change.


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