NASCAR America: Changing of the guard in NASCAR already underway (video)

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Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and soon to be, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Three of NASCAR’s biggest stars, upon who much of the sport’s surge in popularity from the early 1990s through the mid-2000s came from, are either permanently on the sideline or will be shortly.

And after that, it likely won’t be long before they’re joined by names such as Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and others.

Fortunately for NASCAR, the changing of the guard from fans who cheered for Gordon, Stewart, Junior, et al, are already starting to gravitate to drivers like Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and so many more.

Will Gordon, Stewart, Earnhardt and others soon be forgotten with the way the newest crop of young guns is starting to make its way up the NASCAR popularity and influence ladder?

The crew on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America talked about the young stars, particularly Blaney, who appears firmly in the hunt to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup playoffs after this Sunday’s cut-off race at Kansas.

“I think both of them will move forward (to Round of 8),” said NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

Added Nate Ryan, “Dale Earnhardt Jr. said when he was behind them (Elliott and Blaney) running 1-2, ‘I’m looking at the future of the sport.”

And Kyle Petty had this to say, “We’re seeing the changing of the guard. These guys learned a lot about restrictor plate racing Sunday. … These are the guys we’re going to be watching and will be in the playoffs in the future years.”

Check out what else our analysts had to say in the video above.