Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers



Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – The field of 36 drivers is home to three freshman racers this year. Each has a promising future and will be given every opportunity to compete with the circuit’s more seasoned drivers. The influx of new drivers is important to the lifeblood of NASCAR trading cards as it is in other sports. However, with a much smaller number, comes much bigger expectations to succeed and to do so quickly. The following is a list of the 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers and a look at their early careers and cards to date.

Car Number, Mfg Driver Team
13, Chevy
Ty Dillon
Germain Racing
77, Toyota
Erik Jones
Furniture Row Racing
19, Toyota
Daniel Suarez
Joe Gibbs Racing

Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – Eligibility

NASCAR rookie driver eligibility can be a little bit confusing. In terms of how this impacts the value’s of a driver’s trading cards, can be even more confusing. Unlike other sports where a player’s first pro uniformed licensed card often carry’s the most value, often times for NASCAR drivers, cards from their first full season racing in NASCAR’s top circuit carry a premium. However, this isn’t always the case. Other factors do come into play including design, quantity produced, etc.

Candidates for NASCAR’s Rookie of the year eligibility is defined (according to Wikipedia)as:

  1. Must have run no more than five (prior to 2001), seven (2001–10), or seven and have been declared to race for driver points in that series (2011–present), races in any previous season.
  2. Drivers who compete in more than five races in a higher NASCAR-sanctioned series are not eligible for the award in a lower series, if they have not declared for the higher series.
  3. If a driver does not start eight races before the end of Race 20 on the schedule, they will immediately become ineligible to earn rookie points for the rest of that season and starting in 2011, remained declared for that series. Drivers may change series declaration in order to avoid this.
  4. A driver may not receive rookie points if he/she starts a race for a team that he/she did not qualify with. However, he/she is still eligible for championship points in that race.

As a result of these rules, two of the drivers listed below have cards prior to 2017 releases. This article will focus on more recent releases from Panini America NASCAR racing card products including:

Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – Driver Profiles & Cards

Ty Dillon The 25-year old North Carolina native has racing in his blood. He comes from a strong racing pedigree. That includes being the grandson of Richard Childress, son of former driver Mike Dillon and brother to current NASCAR driver Austin Dillon.

An accomplished driver, Dillon’s roots date back to the ARCA series where he won the Championship in 2011.  Since that time he has progressively worked his way up the circuit spending time in the Pinty’s, Camping World Truck and Xfinity series before making the jump to Monster Energy, the big league equivalent of NASCAR.

In those circuits Dillon combined to win 4 races, 9 poles and post 105 Top 10 finishes. This type of production earns you the recognition needed to move up. Dillon is making the most of his opportunity and a favorite by many to be the first rookie to win a race at the sport’s top level this year.

Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – Ty Dillon Racing Cards

Ty Dillon’s first autographed racing cards were issued in 2012 Press Pass products. He subsequently also had cards issued in 2013-15 as well. See secondary market pricing.

Erik JonesJones has racked up quite a resume over the last few years. Achievements and accolades include 2015 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, 2016 Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year and 2015 Camping World Truck Series Champion. That’s some serious hardware over a two year span. Between those two series, Jones accrued 13 wins, 19 poles and 77 Top 10 finishes.

It’s hard to believe the Michigan native is just 20-years old! In addition to driving the number 77 car for Furniture Row Racing, Jones still races, albeit part-time, in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – Erik Jones Racing Cards

Erik Jones’ first officially NASCAR licensed trading cards were all issued in 2016 Panini products.

Daniel Suarez – The 25-year old native of Mexico is no stranger to NASCAR. He has a career that dates back to 2010 where he raced in the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series for four years. At the time, the series was sponsored by Corona. He was named the Series’ Rookie of the Year. During his tenure he earned 10 victories, 13 poles and 31 Top 10 finishes. 

From there, Suarez would go on to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series before moving on to the Xfinity Series. Once there, he didn’t disappoint. Suarez was named Rookie of the Year and went on to win the Championship in 2016. He raced a total of 95 times in those two series. He racked-up four wins, seven poles and 62 Top 10 finishes.

Future Watch: 2017 NASCAR Rookie Drivers – Daniel Suarez Racing Cards

Erik Jones’ first officially NASCAR licensed trading cards were issued in 2014 Press Pass Total Memorabilia.

Rob Bertrand

Marketing Coordinator at GTS Distribution
Rob has been involved in developing hobby related, multi-media content for over 15-years. An avid collector himself, he is the former co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. Rob got his start on the business side of the hobby as the lead content developer for Card Corner Club before the site’s merger with Cardboard Connection. He also has an extensive article archive on the collectibles website WorthPoint as one of their sports card and memorabilia experts. In addition to hobby related news coverage, he has also been a contributor for Sportsology.net. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.