20 Under 20: Ranking Racing's Top Prospects In 2024

20 Under 20: Ranking Racing's Top Prospects In 2024

A FloRacing panel ranks the top 20 short track racing drivers under the age of 20 entering the 2024 season.

Mar 20, 2024 by Brandon Paul
20 Under 20: Ranking Racing's Top Prospects In 2024

Who will be the next young drivers to establish themselves as superstars in the world of motorsports? A panel of FloRacing industry insiders from both the dirt and pavement worlds recently joined forces to create an all-encompassing list of the top 20 young prospects under the age of 20. 

Contributors to FloRacing’s 20 Under 20 include: Andrew Richardson, Brandon Paul, Chet Christner, Gary Silverman, Nate Hartmann, Rob Blount, Tim Truex, Tyler Burnett and Tyler McKim. 

1) Corey Day (Sprint Cars)

Age: 18 

Hometown: Clovis, CA

What He's Done So Far: At the age of 18, Day turned heads by winning nine races on his way to the 2023 NARC 410 Sprint Car Series championship. Additionally, he claimed his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win in the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway last September and won the Trophy Cup at Tulare Thunderbowl. This past January, Day earned a Chili Bowl Nationals Qualifying Night victory before finishing third in the main event. In April, he claimed his first career High Limit Racing Sprint Car win. 

What's Next: Day will run full-time on the High Limit Racing national tour with Jason Meyers Racing in 2024. 

Driver Comparison: Kyle Larson


VIDEO: Corey Day drew high praise from Kyle Larson and Brad Sweet during an episode of the High Limit Room podcast. 

2) Sammy Smith (NASCAR Xfinity Series)

Age: 19

Hometown: Johnston, IA

What He's Done So Far: At just 19 years old, Sammy Smith has proven time and time again why he is one of the top prospects in NASCAR. He scored the Super Late Model championship at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series Series of Asphalt in 2022 after winning the Pro Late Model title in 2019. In 2021, he scored one of the most prestigious Super Late Model victories there is in the Winchester 400. He backed that up with a second-place run in 2022. He’s also a two-time ARCA Menards Series East champion, with eight wins in that series, as well as six victories in the ARCA Menards Series. Oh, and he’s already added a NASCAR Xfinity Series win to his resume as well.

What's Next: Smith is full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series again this year, now with JR Motorsports and Chevrolet. After crashing in the season-opener at Daytona, Smith has finished no worse than 10th in his last three races.

Driver Comparison: Noah Gragson

3) Jesse Love (NASCAR Xfinity Series)

Age: 19

Hometown: Redwood City, CA

What He's Done So Far: Jesse Love is a dirt/pavement crossover driver who has made his way into the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing this year. After starting his career with Micros, Midgets, and Sprint Cars, Love began to make the transition to pavement racing. So far, that switch has paid off. Love is now a two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion. He then won the ARCA Menards Series championship with the national tour in 2023, winning exactly half of the 20-race calendar. Love was on his way to his first Xfinity Series victory at Atlanta in February leading all but 12 laps that day before running out of fuel late. Love became the first driver in NXS history to win the pole for the first two races of his career. 

What's Next: Jesse Love is full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as a rookie for Richard Childress Racing. 

Driver Comparison: Alex Bowman

4) Emerson Axsom (Sprint Cars / Midgets)

Age: 19

Hometown: Franklin, IN

What He's Done So Far: Axsom has established himself as one of the brightest young stars in dirt racing in recent years. His impressive resume includes four Tulsa Shootout victories, as well as wins with the USAC National Midget Series and USAC National Sprint Car Series. After a strong rookie season with the USAC National Sprint Car Series that earned him Rookie of the Year honors in 2022, Axsom claimed three wins and the USAC Eastern Storm championship in 2023. 

What's Next: Axsom is hoping to take the next step in his career by going Winged Sprint Car racing with Dale Klaasmeyer and Scott Petry in 2024. 

Driver Comparison: Kevin Thomas, Jr. 

5) William Sawalich (Pavement Late Models / ARCA)

Age: 17 

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN

What He's Done So Far: Sawalich started turning heads as a 15-year-old a couple of years ago when he came out of nowhere to start beating veterans of Late Model racing. Sawalich already has six CARS Tour Pro Late Model wins, three Southern Super Series wins, three CRA Super Series wins, and he scored a legendary guitar after winning the All American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 2023. He did that while winning the ARCA Menards Series East title in 2023 with four victories. He also has five ARCA Menards Series wins already.

What's Next: Due to still being just 17, Sawalich is running a pick-and-choose ARCA, Late Model, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule until he’s old enough to go full-time NASCAR racing.

Driver Comparison: Ty Gibbs


VIDEO: William Sawalich passed Bubba Pollard to win the 2023 Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna. 

6) Connor Zilisch (Pavement Late Models / Road)

Age: 17

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

What He's Done So Far: The Mooresville native has been rewriting the record books of many series already and he’s been rewarded handsomely with a development contract with Trackhouse Racing. In 2024 alone, Zilisch scored a class victory at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and then followed that up with a class victory at the 12 hours of Sebring. Zilisch is also proving he can win on ovals too with CARS Tour Pro Late Model and CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car wins. Last fall, Zilisch also pulled off a series-first in Trans-Am competition, scoring victories in two different classes in the same weekend from the pole for each race. 

What's Next: Zilisch will make a handful of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts in 2024 with Spire Motorsports as well as a handful of NASCAR Xfinity Series starts with JR Motorsports. He will also compete for the ARCA Menards Series East championship.

Driver Comparison: Michael McDowell

7) Brent Crews (Pavement Late Models / Midgets)

Age: 15

Hometown: Denver, NC

What He's Done So Far: After starting his racing career in Outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway, Crews quickly moved into Micro, Midget, and Sprint Car racing. But while he was continuing on the dirt, he was also making starts on pavement for a potential path to NASCAR. And, Crews is excelling on both surfaces. In 2023, Crews became the youngest driver to make an A-Main start in the Chili Bowl Nationals. That same year he won the Trans-Am TA2 series title, becoming the youngest champion in Trans-Am history at 15 years, seven months, and six days old. Crews also won an ARCA Menards Series race in 2023 on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Most recently, Crews led 82 of 125 laps at the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car opener at Southern National Motorsports Park before finishing sixth.

What's Next: Crews is racing with the CARS Tour for Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2024.

Driver Comparison: Alex Bowman

8) Ryan Timms (Midgets / Sprint Cars)

Age: 17

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

What He's Done So Far: At the young age of 17, Timms has already recorded over 100 feature wins across Micro Sprints, Midgets, 360 Sprint Cars and 410 Sprint Cars. In 2021, Timms became the youngest driver ever to win a USAC National Midget race. That same year, Timms also claimed a win in the prestigious Trophy Cup at Tulare Thunderbowl. Earlier this year, he picked up a win in the final King of the 360s Sprint Car race ever at East Bay Raceway Park. 

What's Next: Timms will once again tackle an ambitious schedule in 2024 racing Midgets for Keith Kunz Motorsports and tackling various Sprint Car races throughout the country. 

Driver Comparison: Zeb Wise

9) Gio Ruggiero (Pavement Late Models / ARCA)

Age: 17

Hometown: Seekonk, MA

What He's Done So Far: Gio Ruggiero burst onto the pavement Late Model scene in a big way, scoring a bunch of Pro Late Model victories in 2022 and then a bunch of Super Late Model victories in 2023. Ruggiero made headlines when he muscled William Byron out of the way to score an ASA STARS National Tour win at Hickory Motor Speedway in May. He made headlines again for a similar move on Stephen Nasse to score his first win in the Winchester 400 last fall.

What's Next: Ruggiero is making starts in 2024 in Super Late Models with Donnie Wilson Motorsports and in the ARCA Menards Series with Venturini Motorsports. He’s also doing the entire ARCA Menards Series East campaign with Venturini.

Driver Comparison: John Hunter Nemechek

10) Daison Pursley (Midgets / Sprint Cars)

Age: 19

Hometown: Locust Grove, OK

What He's Done So Far: Following a successful Micro Sprint career that included two NOW600 championships and a USAC Micro Sprint title, Pursley has started to make his mark in Midgets and Sprint Cars. The Oklahoma native has a pair of USAC National Midget Series wins and eight POWRi National Midget wins on his resume. In 2023, he made the jump up to USAC National Sprint Cars and claimed Rookie of the Year honors, as well as his first career win at Volusia in February. 

What's Next: Pursley will be busy in 2024 racing full-time on the USAC National Sprint Car circuit with AZ Racing and full-time on the USAC National Midget Series tour with CB Industries. He’ll also make his USAC Silver Crown debut racing for AZ Racing during all of the dirt track events on the schedule. 

Driver Comparison: Brady Bacon


VIDEO: Daison Pursley battled back from a serious injury and received a standing ovation in his return to the Chili Bowl in 2022. 

11) Alex Yankowski (Big-Block Modifieds)

Age: 19

Hometown: Covington Township, PA

What He's Done So Far: Competing against fierce competition in the Northeast Modified ranks, Yankowski has claimed wins at track throughout the region. Over the last five seasons, the list of tracks he’s won at include: Georgetown Speedway, Grandview Speedway, Penn Can Speedway, Bridgeport Speedway, Big Diamond Speedway, The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Afton Motorsports Park and Accord Speedway. In 2021, Yankowski put the Big-Block Modified world on notice by winning a Super DIRTcar Series feature during the World Finals in just his second career start. 

What's Next: Yankowski will once again be busy in 2024 as he competes weekly at Utica-Rome Speedway and Fonda Speedway, as well as Short Track Super Series and Super DIRTcar Series events. 

Driver Comparison: Craig Von Doren

12) Luke Fenhaus (Pavement Late Models / ARCA)

Age: 19

Hometown: Wausau, WI

What He's Done So Far: Fenhaus has established himself as one of the best in Wisconsin Late Model racing since Ty Majeski dominated the scene for many years. At the age of 17, Fenhaus put his name on the national radar by winning the prestigious Slinger Nationals over the likes of Majeski, Erik Jones, Carson Hocevar, Stephen Nasse and Sammy Smith. He followed that up by competing in the SRX race at Slinger and finishing second to Marco Andretti in the nationally-televised race on CBS. In 2022, he claimed the CARS Tour Pro Late Model championship among other accolades. Last season, Fenhaus scored a pair of ARCA Menards Series East races en route to finishing second in the championship standings. He also claimed his first ARCA Menards Series win at Iowa Speedway. 

What's Next: In addition to a to-be-announced Super Late Model schedule, Fenhaus will be making his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut for ThorSport Racing in 2024. 

Driver Comparison: Ty Majeski

13) Drake Troutman (Dirt Late Models / Dirt Modifieds)

Age: 19

Hometown: Hyndman, PA

What He's Done So Far: After claiming more than 50 feature wins in go-karts, Troutman moved into the DIRTcar UMP Modified ranks at the age of 11. Now, at the age of 19, Troutman has 100 career wins on his resume. Highlights on Troutman’s resume include a Gateway Dirt Nationals Modified win in 2023, a MARS Racing Series win in 2023 and numerous DIRTcar UMP Modified wins throughout the country. He collected six Dirt Late Model wins overall last season, with two of those paying $10,000 or more to win. 

What's Next: Troutman is making a Rookie of the Year campaign on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. He’s also expected to make starts in DIRTcar UMP Modifieds and Legend Cars throughout the season. 

Driver Comparison: Nick Hoffman

14) Caden Kvapil (Pavement Late Models)

Age: 17

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

What He's Done So Far: Much like Brent Crews, Caden Kvapil got his start on the dirt in Outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway, but quickly followed in his father and brother’s footsteps by transitioning to pavement Late Model racing. Since then, the youngest Kvapil has gone on to become a CARS Tour Pro Late Model champion and is now trying to make his name in Super Late Models as well.

What's Next: Kvapil is running a partial CARS Tour PLM schedule and ASA STARS National Tour Super Late Model schedule in 2024.

Driver Comparison: Ty Majeski

15) Chase Randall (Sprint Cars)

Age: 19

Hometown: Waco, TX

What He's Done So Far: Randall, who goes by the nickname “Quickest Chicken,” put his name on the map by winning USAC National Midget Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021. Since then, he’s been a fixture at the prestigious Knoxville Raceway, winning the 360 Sprint Car track championship in 2023. In addition to his success at Knoxville, he scored four 410 Sprint Car victories at Huset’s Speedway en route to a second-place finish in the point standings. Randall also turned heads by leading the majority of last year’s Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway before finishing third. 

What's Next: Randall will be chasing after a Knoxville 410 Sprint Car track championship with TKS Motorsports in 2024. He’ll also be competing in a variety of major Sprint Car races away from Knoxville. 

Driver Comparison: Brian Brown

16) Jade Avedisian (Midgets)

Age: 17

Hometown: Clovis, CA

What She's Done So Far: Avedisian grabbed the attention of the motorsports world following her USAC National Midget Series debut during the Western Swing in 2021. That year, she recorded one of the best finishes by a woman in series history with a fourth-place finish at Merced Speedway. In 2022, she collected a pair of wins with both the POWRi National Midgets and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series. Avedisian kicked off 2023 with a bang by finishing on the podium during her Chili Bowl Nationals prelim night and winning Chili Bowl Rookie of the Year honors. She followed that up by winning the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series championship with five wins on the season. 

What's Next: Avedisian signed a multi-year driver development deal with Toyota Racing Development (TRD) this past offseason. This season, Avedisian will compete in USAC National Midget and Xtreme National Midget races with Keith Kunz Motorsports, while also running the complete Toyota GR Cup schedule with Nitro Motorsports.

Driver Comparison: Logan Seavey


VIDEO: In 2023, Jade Avedisian became the first ever woman to finish on the podium in a Chili Bowl prelim feature. 

17) Dallon Murty (IMCA Stock Cars / Modifieds)

Age: 19

Hometown: Chelsea, IA

What He's Done So Far: Since claiming his first Stock Car win at the age of 11, Murty has been on a warpath in the IMCA Stock Car ranks. At the age of 14, the Iowa native became the youngest driver ever to win IMCA Stock Car Rookie of the Year honors. His resume now includes over 100 career wins, including a breakout season with more than 40 wins in 2021. And he’s not just winning races, he’s winning high-paying, prestigious events like the IMCA Super Nationals, a feat he accomplished back-to-back in 2021 and 2022.

What's Next: Murty will chase more IMCA Modified races in 2024, including big money shows across the country. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see him mix in more Late Model events as he projects to take a similar path to Ricky Thornton, Jr.

Driver Comparison: Ricky Thornton, Jr. 

18) Carson Loftin (Pavement Modifieds)

Age: 15

Hometown: Lexington, NC

What He's Done So Far: Carson Loftin has been racing against some of the best Modified talents the South has to offer since he was 13 years old. He was knocking on the door of victory lane for much of 2023 and finished third in SMART Modified Tour points. But when the calendar flipped to 2024 a switch flipped for Loftin and he's won four of the first six SMART Modified Tour races. 

What's Next: Loftin is chasing his first SMART Modified Tour championship in 2024 while also making the occasional NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start.

Driver Comparison: Ryan Preece

19) Katie Hettinger (Pavement Late Models)

Age: 16

Hometown: Dryden, MI

What She's Done So Far: Hickory Motor Speedway’s nickname is “The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” and it’s probably going to make another star in Katie Hettinger. Hettinger started rewriting the historic North Carolina track’s record books when she was just 14 years old. She became the all-time winningest female driver and nearly won the track title in the headlining Late Model Stock Car division in 2022. Since then she became the first woman to win a Pro Late Model race at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt in 2023 and finished second in points and won the Rookie of the Year honors for the CARS Tour Pro Late Model division that same year.

What's Next: Hettinger is splitting her time in 2024 between LMSC and PLM competition with the CARS Tour driving for her family-owned team.

Driver Comparison: Erik Jones

20) Joel Myers Jr. (Sprint Cars)

Age: 17

Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA

What He's Done So Far: Myers Jr. earned his first career 360 and 410 Sprint Car wins as a 16 year old in 2022. That same year, he also scored a top-five finish with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at Skagit Speedway. In addition to his success in the states, he’s also established a strong resume competing in New Zealand, claiming back-to-back War of the Wings championships in 2023 and 2024. He also claimed the New Zealand Sprint Car Championship in February. 

What's Next: Myers will look to continue to build on his success by competing in Sprint Car events in both the United States and New Zealand in 2024. He plans to spend the bulk of the season in the Midwest competing in IRA, Maverick, High Limit and World of Outlaws events. 

Driver Comparison: Jason Meyers