NASCAR Draft Kit: 2024 Top Rookies

NASCAR Draft Kit: 2024 Top Rookies

This article is part of our NASCAR Draft Kit series.

The 2024 rookie class will be about the same size as last season's group. The level of talent is no less impressive when we examine their racing resumes, in fact, this may be the most talented rookie class in quite a while. We have some very seasoned, young Xfinity Series drivers who will be making the transition in the upcoming season, and they're not entirely unfamiliar with NASCAR Cup Series cars. In addition to our full-time rookies we have some young drivers that will be making some part-time forays into the world of NASCAR Cup Series racing from the lower divisions of the sport. The transition from the Xfinity Series or Camping World Truck Series to the top division of NASCAR is always a big adjustment for young drivers. However, as last season showed, drivers like Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson will have their highlights to go along with their struggles. We'll take a look at the ROTY candidates and some of the young, up-and-coming drivers who will make part-time starts in the NASCAR Cup Series this season, and give you some in-depth analysis on which rookie drivers are the ones to watch closely this season.

Rookie Driver Rankings and Profiles

Owner: Stewart Haas Racing

Car Number: No. 4

Manufacturer: Ford

1. Josh Berry                    

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
CARS Late Model Stock5622163947
ARCA Menards Series20012
ARCA Series East4002

The 2024 rookie class will be about the same size as last season's group. The level of talent is no less impressive when we examine their racing resumes, in fact, this may be the most talented rookie class in quite a while. We have some very seasoned, young Xfinity Series drivers who will be making the transition in the upcoming season, and they're not entirely unfamiliar with NASCAR Cup Series cars. In addition to our full-time rookies we have some young drivers that will be making some part-time forays into the world of NASCAR Cup Series racing from the lower divisions of the sport. The transition from the Xfinity Series or Camping World Truck Series to the top division of NASCAR is always a big adjustment for young drivers. However, as last season showed, drivers like Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson will have their highlights to go along with their struggles. We'll take a look at the ROTY candidates and some of the young, up-and-coming drivers who will make part-time starts in the NASCAR Cup Series this season, and give you some in-depth analysis on which rookie drivers are the ones to watch closely this season.

Rookie Driver Rankings and Profiles

Owner: Stewart Haas Racing

Car Number: No. 4

Manufacturer: Ford

1. Josh Berry                    

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
CARS Late Model Stock5622163947
ARCA Menards Series20012
ARCA Series East40022
ARCA Series West10001
Craftsman Truck110001
Xfinity Series95542852
Cup Series120013

Berry heads this season's rookie crop. At 33-years-old he's an extremely seasoned driver compared to most Cup Series rookies. Berry got his start many years ago in late model stocks and gradually, slowly climbed the racing ladder. He would be discovered by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008 while both competed in a Sim Racing league. Berry's obvious talents caught the NASCAR icon's eye and propelled him into a higher racing career. In 2019, his ascent to the upper divisions of the sport would kick into high gear. After successful Xfinity Series career and Top-5 points finish in 2022, Berry would become one of the bigger prospect targets of NASCAR. Last season Kevin Harvick would announce his pending retirement at the conclusion of the 2023 season and Berry would be tabbed as his replacement in the No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Ford. In 10 spot starts in the Cup Series last season, Berry would collect three Top 10's and earn some major respect. He still has quite a bit to learn about NASCAR's top division, but he'll easily be the driver to beat in the 2024 ROTY competition.

2. Zane Smith                   

Owner: Spire Motorsports

Car Number: No. 71

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
Cars Pro Late Model1810412
ARCA Menards Series38432026
ARCA Series West50011
ARCA Series East20012
Truck Series92933557
Xfinity Series120028
Cup Series90001

Smith may be the most skilled of this season's rookie class. With 14 victories, one championship and three runner-up points finishes in the lower divisions of NASCAR, Smith's accomplishments are very impressive. Other than a small spate of races in the Xfinity Series, he's pretty much making the jump from Craftsman Trucks straight into NASCAR's top division. At 24-years-old, Smith is not too young and seems to have just about the right experience to make the transition to the Cup Series. His biggest limiting factor is the team situation. Spire Motorsports is a small operation and will be expanding from two to three teams in 2024. That growth from small to mid-sized team always comes with a performance curve and some obstacles to overcome to succeed. The good news is that Smith is very talented and aggressive, and should give Josh Berry some good competition in the Rookie of the Year chase.

 3. Carson Hocevar          

Owner: Spire Motorsports

Car Number: No. 77

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
Cars Pro Late Model20001
ARCA Menards Series1602713
ARCA Series West10000
Truck Series77412133
Xfinity Series50002
Cup Series90000

Spire Motorsports is expanding and going with a pair of rookie drivers for their 2024 campaign. Hocevar is soon-to-be 24-years-old (January) and experienced some reasonable success in a three-season run in the Craftsman Truck Series. Much like his teammate, Zane Smith, Hocevar is also making the jump straight from trucks in the Cup Series and with very little racing in the Xfinity Series. The youngster did make a valuable nine Cup Series starts last season, mainly in relief for Legacy Motor Club. Hocevar's most impressive performance was an eye-opening 11th-place finish at Bristol in the fall of last year. He has come a long way from his start in quarter midgets up to late models. Hocevar boasts a lot of experience despite his young age. His teammate Smith will help push him and up his level of competition in season one.

 4. Shane van Gisbergen  

Owner: Trackhouse Racing

Car Number: No. 91

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
Supercars Series462633900
Truck Series10000
Cup Series21012

The Kiwi was a star in Australian Supercars long before venturing across the Pacific to try his hand at NASCAR. Van Gisbergen was an immediate sensation last season in the inaugural Chicago Street Course race and schooled many of NASCAR's brightest stars to win that day in a spot start for Trackhouse Racing. He'd follow that win up with an impressive Top-10 finish a few weeks later on the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit. With 63 career wins and three championships in Supercars, there's no doubting his road racing ability. What van Gisbergen will have to master going forward are the ovals. He signed a driver development contract in 2023 with Trackhouse and will make spot starts across all touring divisions of NASCAR in 2024. That means the 34-year-old won't be eligible for Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series, but he'll get some valuable starts and experience in the coming year.

 5. Brodie Kostecki            

Owner: Erebus Motorsport

Car Number: No. ??

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

NASCAR Career StatsRacesWinsPolesTop 5'sTop 10's
Supercars Series510100
ARCA Series East160214
Cup Series10000

Shane van Gisbergen won't be the only Supercars veteran to make the jump to NASCAR in 2024. Kostecki signed a driving deal with Erebus Motorsport in collaboration with Richard Childress Racing to take on a part-time schedule in the coming year. While he doesn't have the wins, championships and experience of van Gisbergen, Kostecki still has a vast amount of experience and even some experience racing in the lower divisions of NASCAR. At just 26-years-old, he has a nice balance of youth and experience. The plan is for him to take on at least five Cup Series starts in 2024 with the possibility of more to be added. Kostecki's past experience with ovals will be of big benefit in making this transition. He may not carry the hardware and accolades of other drivers in this rookie listing, but don't underestimate Kostecki's potential and abilities.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Taylor
Taylor is RotoWire's senior NASCAR writer. A nine-time FSWA finalist, Taylor was named the Racing Writer of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2017. He is also a military historian, focused specifically on World War II and the U.S. Navy's efforts in the Pacific.
NASCAR Barometer: Christopher Bell Wins Rain Shortened Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR Barometer: Christopher Bell Wins Rain Shortened Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR and F1 DFS: PrizePicks Selections for the Coca-Cola 600 and Monaco Grand Prix
NASCAR and F1 DFS: PrizePicks Selections for the Coca-Cola 600 and Monaco Grand Prix
NASCAR DFS: Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR DFS: Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR DFS Trucks: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
NASCAR DFS Trucks: North Carolina Education Lottery 200