NASCAR: 3 breakout candidates for the 2024 season

Which drivers are positioned for breakout years during the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season? Here are three prime candidates.
Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR
Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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3. John Hunter Nemechek

At the end of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, his rookie season, John Hunter Nemechek opted to realign himself with Toyota and drop back down to the Truck Series. He felt that making that move gave him a much better chance of landing a competitive Cup Series ride one day than staying with Front Row Motorsports would have.

Just over three years later, it appears that that gamble has paid off. He spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons competing in the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and the 2023 season competing in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won a total of 15 races and made two Championship 4 appearances during that stretch.

And now he his back in the Cup Series with a team aiming to be a much greater factor in 2024 than they were in 2023. While a manufacturer switch isn't always smooth sailing, Nemechek's familiarity with Toyota should make it a much more manageable adjustment.

Nemechek may only be 26 years old, but let's not lose sight of the fact that this is already his 12th season competing in a NASCAR national series. He is a 22-time NASCAR race winner who has the experience to be a factor right away.

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By giving up his Cup Series ride a few years ago, he displayed the maturity of a veteran in knowing he did not gain anything by rushing himself to the top. Now he is back at the top, and with a prime opportunity to shine. It appears as though everything is going according to plan.