The 2022 NASCAR season brings with it an opportunity for several drivers to get things headed in a better direction than a year ago.
The Richard Childress Racing driver was in the playoff hunt down the stretch but eventually lost the final spot to his teammate Tyler Reddick. Dillon was only able to finish in the top five once and put eight top-10 finishes on the board. His year was probably magnified by the better performance of Reddick, but Dillon needs to find a way to be more competitive on a regular basis in 2022.
It might seem odd to have the Rookie of the Year on a list of drivers hoping for better things in 2022, but Briscoe himself believes there’s room for improvement in the coming season. The freshman driver came into the Cup Series after dominating in the Xfinity Series with nine wins the year before. His transition wasn’t easy as Briscoe finished 23rd in the final standings. He did show improvement as the year progressed and Stewart-Haas Racing is optimistic Briscoe will take another step forward this year.
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Custer is one of Briscoe’s SHR teammates and definitely took a step back last season after winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2020. Custer had more DNFs (three) than top-10 finishes (two) and struggled nearly all season long. The return of practice and qualifying should be a benefit for Custer as it will for all drivers and getting his car dialed in before the green flag flies on race day can’t hurt.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was a pre-season pick by many to contend for the Xfinity Series championship. A string of bad luck and poor finishes put an early end to those predictions. Statistically, Jones had a strong year with 11 top-five and 19-top 10 finishes. But a whopping eight DNFs for a variety of reasons is the telltale number for why Jones is looking for a better 2022 campaign.
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The anticipation and expectation were high for Herbst last year as he stepped into the ride the Briscoe drove to nine wins and the Xfinity Series title the prior season. But Herbst has a huge learning curve to get competitive and ended up with eighth DNFs. He did make the playoffs and put eight top-10 finishes on the board but he does have room for improvement in 2022.