NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR Xfinity Series: Five drivers to watch in 2015

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet

Elliott, 19, won what was formerly named the Nationwide Series last season, becoming the first rookie and youngest driver to win a NASCAR national touring series. Elliott, son of 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott, has been chosen by Hendrick Motorsports to replace retiring Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Sprint Cup car next year.

Darrell Wallace Jr., No. 6 Ford

Wallace, 21, is the newest member of Roush Fenway Racing after breaking into NASCAR with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series teams. Wallace has made six Xfinity starts, posting four top 10s. He is coming off a career year in the truck series, leading all regulars with four wins and 623 laps led.

Daniel Suarez, No. 18 Toyota

Suarez, 23, is a native of Monterrey, Mexico, and competed four seasons in the NASCAR Mexico Series before joining Joe Gibbs Racing. He finished a career-best second in points in 2013. Suarez made two Xfinity Series starts last season, with a best finish of 20th at Richmond, and added two wins and seven top 10s in 13 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts.

Ty Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet

Dillon, 22, had an impressive rookie season, finishing fifth in the standings. He won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and had seven top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, won three poles, including at Kansas Speedway, where he finished fifth.

Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet

Smith, 31, finished second to JR Motorsports teammate Elliott last year after relinquishing the series lead midway through the season. Smith won just one Xfinity race in 2014, but it was at Daytona in a field filled with Sprint Cup drivers. He finished in the top 10 in 26 of the series’ 33 races.

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to rcovitz@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.

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