With the non-points All-Star Race in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at the drivers who aren’t in NASCAR’s top series. The Truck Series is seven races into the 2018 season while the Xfinity Series is 10 into its season. Instead of ranking NASCAR’s Nos. 2 and 3 series separately, let’s combine them into one set of rankings. It’s our internet world, you’re just reading it.
1. Johnny Sauter: Sauter is doing to the Truck Series what Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are doing in the Cup Series. Sauter has won three of seven Truck races this season, including Friday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’s also finished in the top five in six of the seven races this season, only missing out at Martinsville where he was involved in two crashes.
2. Elliott Sadler: Veterans are leading both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series this season. While Sauter has three wins, Sadler has none. But his stats are still impressive. Sadler is the series points leader and has eight top-five finishes and has ended each of the series’ 10 races this season in the top 10. That type of consistency will be plenty enough to get Sadler to the championship race.
3. Christopher Bell: Bell is third in the Xfinity Series points standings with a win and six top-five finishes. The 2017 Truck Series champion has made just 18 career starts in NASCAR’s No. 2 series and has two wins and 11 top-10 finishes. That’s pretty good. He should be a contender for the Xfinity Series title this season and it’ll be interesting to see where he winds up in the Cup Series in the next year or two.
4. Brett Moffitt: The winner of the second Truck Series race of the season is third in the standings and heading to the playoffs. The win is something that Ryan Truex couldn’t get with the No. 16 truck last season and it took Moffitt just two tries to get that in 2018. That’s not a slight against Truex, by the way. It’s fair to think Shigeaki Hattori’s team is better in its second full season in the series.
5. Justin Allgaier: Allgaier won at Dover and would be second in the points standings if it wasn’t for a penalty that encumbered that win. A rear suspension penalty meant Allgaier lost 25 points and the use of the win for the playoffs. It seems a good bet that he’ll get another win or two before the playoffs begin.
6. Noah Gragson: Gragson won at Kansas Speedway for his second-career Truck Series win. To get that win he beat team owner Kyle Busch, who was an unhappy camper at the end of the race. The two drivers had to battle Stewart Friesen, who had a very fast truck and got some track position thanks to tire strategy. Gragson has three top-five finishes so far in 2018. One more and he ties how many he had in 23 races a year ago.
7. Tyler Reddick: Reddick won the first race of the Xfinity Series season, the closest finish in major NASCAR history. That finish was over Sadler, his JR Motorsports teammate. Reddick is ahead of Bell and Allgaier in the points standings but has just two top-five finishes. That’s why Bell and Allgaier are ahead of him here.
8. Daniel Hemric: Hemric is still looking for his first NASCAR win. It’s kind of crazy to think about, given how consistent Hemric has become. He raced for the title a year ago in the Xfinity Series and finished sixth in the Truck Series in 2016 and seventh in 2015. Hemric should get a win sooner rather than later and he’s already led 157 laps in 2018. He led 70 in all of 2017.
9. Cole Custer: Custer got the first win of his Xfinity Series career in the season finale in 2017. That didn’t lend to any good vibes for the start of the 2018 season as he finished 14th at Daytona and 39th at Atlanta. He reeled off seven-straight top-10 finishes after that before the streak was broken with a 13th at Dover.
10. Ryan Preece: Preece is the only non-full-time competitor on this list. And with good reason. Preece has made three starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing with one win, two top fives and three top-10 finishes. That’s a damn good success rate and worthy enough for inclusion here. Preece would have a full-time ride in the Xfinity Series if NASCAR was based totally on merit. But it’s based some on merit and a lot on money. So he doesn’t.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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