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 Road America:
1.) Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Racing). 2022 Best Race Finish: 1st (Road America & Indy). PRETTY Grade: A+. Reddick gets the higher ranking AND the higher PRETTY grade seeing as how he’s outpacing teammate Austin Dillon by a decent margin. And with a win in the books, now Reddick has over a year of awkwardness at RCR to look forward to!
2.) Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing). 2022 Best Race Finish: 1st (New Hampshire). PRETTY Grade: A. Its nice to see C.Bell turning up the wick, and possibly being a spoiler in the 2022 Playoffs. Then again, its not-so-nice to have it happen when a fellow third-year competitor is arguably the hottest driver in the sport.
3.) Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing). 2022 Best Race Finish: 9th (Atlanta & Indy). PRETTY Grade: D. With C.Bell establishing himself as a threat to win, and T.Reddick breaking through at the Cup level (with a new ride in the future), Cole is just kind of…there.
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