With five races completed in the 2018 season, the top rookie contenders have begun to show themselves. Some have shown consistency, others have shown flashes of brilliance while not quite finding the consistency to be a front-runner week in and week out. Others haven’t shown much of anything and while they have a lot of laps left to begin to show out, have a long road in front of them.
Here’s how the Rookies Rank to Date (our rankings, not points standings):
6 – Grayson Cullather #22
Pre-season he was a favorite for the Rookie of the Year award. Coming in driving for Jumpstart Motorsports and teamed with Tommy Lemons, Jr., it appeared to be the perfect match. He nearly missed the first race of the season at Tri-County Motor Speedway and honestly, it’s not been much better from there. There are still seven races to get it right but he’s way behind the curb right now.
5 – Trevor Ward #77
He’s another driver who has really surprised us and not really in a good way. He’s definitely a wheelman, we have seen it when he was in Limiteds at Ace Speedway going toe to toe with the likes of Ross “BooBoo” Dalton, Heath Causey and his brother Dylan Ward. But, since joining the CARS Tour, the results just haven’t been there. He and Cullather are the only two rookie drivers not to have a single top ten finish. Again, there are seven races to go, but he’s far from where he needs to be though he could get a boost from going to his home track at Ace Speedway this weekend.
4 – Charlie Watson #9
He could very well take himself from worst to best. Worst being when he missed the season opener at Tri-County Motor Speedway and best being in contention for wins. He’s now behind the wheel of the car that Justin Johnson started the season in. It’s also the same car that Jake Crum ran up front with last year and with crew chief Jason Stanley and team owner Robert Tyler he could very well become the rookie to beat at every race. They only have one race together so far so we’ve yet to see the impact of this partnership.
3 – Cody Haskins #2
He’s been the most consistent guy of anyone on the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car series this year. Unfortunately, he’s been consistently 9th and not consistently battling up front. Three ninth-place finishes, a 10th at Bristol and a DNF at Hickory. Cody’s just gotta find a way to propel himself closer to the front of the field like the two rookies in front of him have at times.
2 – Brandon Pierce #2
A second place finish at Orange County and legitimately being in contention to win the race easily propels him up this list. His win at South Boston Speedway, in a non-CARS Tour event, can’t be considered but it certainly doesn’t hurt his stock in racing in general. Brandon is heading to Ace Speedway this weekend, a track where Nelson Motorsports is pretty good at and we expect he could be in contention to win again.
1 – Sam Mayer #9
When you come onto the scene driving for JR Motorsports as a teammate to Josh Berry, it’d be easy to get lost in the shadow but Sam Mayer has stepped up to the plate and performed very well. A top finish of third in the season opener at Tri-County kicked his season off in a grand way but he’s backed it up with two seventh-place efforts, a ninth-place finish show he’s the been the best rookie so far.