It’s a word that probably gets used way to much in our everyday sports world. It’s a word that is used to describe an athletes career that is more media-hype than actual substance. Unfortunately for these five drivers, its also the word that will be used to describe them.
The five drivers on this list are often talked about by their fans as though they are up there with Jimmie Johnson when it comes to ranking drivers. Some of these drivers are pushed down our throats by NASCAR despite them not being nearly as successful as marketing make them seem to be. Lastly, some of the drivers on this list are victims of 2016 success which has many thinking they will win a title in 2017.
Let us know your thoughts below and be sure to also vote on who you think the most overhyped driver is.
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Martin Truex Jr.
There’s a difference between good and great in the sport of NASCAR and Martin Truex Jr. is the perfect example of it. Sure, four wins in his first season driving a Toyota was nothing short of amazing, but it still didn’t help him capture the title that has eluded him his entire Cup career. In fact, Martin Truex Jr. actually downgraded from where he finished in the playoffs in 2015.
Of course much of the reason for this is the luck based nature of the playoff format that was instituted by NASCAR in 2014, but that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass when it comes to being labeled as an overhyped commodity. This isn’t to say that Martin Truex Jr. isn’t an amazing driver and won’t have success for years to come, but it’s hard to imagine him capturing a title with his current streak.
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Let’s be honest here. The fact that Kasey Kahne hasn’t made the playoffs in last two Cup Series seasons is only the beginning of his problems. Not only has Kasey Kahne, who captured six wins in only his third season, failed to win a race in the last two years, he also hasn’t had a top-ten points finish since 2012. Add all this to the fact that Kahne is a Hendrick Motorsports driver and you start to see the problem.
Fortunately for Kahne, he doesn’t appear too high on this list because he acknowledges that he hasn’t lived up to expectations and might even step away from HMS at the end of the 2018 season. With that being said, Kahne only has two more years to prove his worth in The Cup Series or risk being one of the biggest busts in modern NASCAR history.
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Everyone likes to point to Clint Bowyer’s second place points finish in the 2012 Cup season as an indicator of his skill as a top level competitor and his promise as a future champion. Unfortunately for these people, they don’t really have anything passed that runner-up points finish to prove that Bowyer is still a viable competitor in the Cup Series at all.
Not only that, they seem to also forget exactly how Bowyer ended up with that second place points finish in the first place. While Bowyer did end up finishing second in the season finale that year at Homestead Miami, he only moved into the second position in points after Jimmie Johnson was plagued with a parts failure one race earlier at Phoenix International Raceway.
Since that fateful season, Bowyer has only managed to scrap together one more top-ten point’s finish before missing the playoffs the last three years. He also hasn’t had a win since 2012 and seems to be steadily declining in performance and consistency as well. Fortunately for Bowyer, he has a fresh start at SHR to look forward to, but it things don’t go well there, it’s more likely than not that he’s the problem.
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Dale Earnhardt Jr.
There is a different between good and championship contender and unfortunately for Dale Earnhardt Jr., he falls into the first category. Sure, his is admittedly one of the greatest restrictor plate drivers in the modern era and will most likely surpass his dad in wins at Dega one day, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to do everything his father did.
Little E has already shown everyone his inability to points race on a consistent basis like his father did back in the day and he doesn’t seem to have anywhere near his dad’s 76 Cup Series wins either. With all that in mind, it’s impossible to say that Jr. deserves all the praise that he gets on a weekly basis in the Cup Series and his declining performance and injury proneness is only hurting that.
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
What has he done? Seriously, what has he done to deserve the hype this young man gets? Of course some will point to his back to back championships in The Xfinity Series a couple years ago, but that was a long time ago and Stenhouse really hasn’t pulled his weight since then. In fact, hasn’t even made The Chase in his first three seasons, which Chase Elliott accomplished in his first season.
Not only has he not made the playoffs since coming to the Cup Series, he also hasn’t won a single race either. Unfortunately for the fans, the media will continually try to sell you on the blossoming career of Ricky Stenhouse Jr, buts it’s about as believable as the guy who wants to sell you bridge. There is no truth to either of those claims.