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A look into National Champions: 2021 to 2024

In 2021, Gunnar Pio clinched 8 National Championships, a new record for the United States Auto Club since Tyler Ankrum gaining 5 National Championships in a single year. Across the Dirt and Pavement USAC series, a driver can earn a maximum of 10 National Championships in a single year out of the total 24 championships.

2022 was a year to remember with USAC National Champions. With 17 different National Champions across the 24 classes (12 pavement and 12 dirt). Significantly up from the 11 different National Champions in 2021. Will 2023 follow in the footsteps of 2022 with more National Champions, or will it fall in lines with 2021 with more champions winning more than 1 class. Max Reaves and Peyton Knecht took home the most National Championships, with 3 total National Championships each. The Pio family had a record year yet again, with all 3 kids (Gage Pio, Quinlan Pio, and Gunnar Pio) taking home National Championships. Their championships totaled 4 national championships for the 2022 year.

It's fascinating to see the remarkable achievements and developments in the world of motorsports, particularly in the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the inaugural year of the NASCAR Youth Series. 14 National Champions were crowned at the famed USAC Night of Champions. Among the 24 possible National Championships, nine of them went to two drivers. Lincoln Smith clinched all of the senior division national championships on the dirt side (Senior Honda Dirt, Light World Formula Dirt, Senior Animal Dirt, Light 160 Dirt) , as well as the Light World Formula Pavement National Championship. RJ Deighton claimed four championships all on Pavement (Heavy Honda Pavement, Heavy 160 Pavement, Unrestricted Animal Pavement, Heavy World Formula Pavement), dominating in his last year with the NASCAR Youth Series. Another impressive feat was Jax Wittmer, while racing the least amount of races required for points eligibility (3 events for dirt and 4 events for pavement), gained two national championships (Junior Animal Pavement and Junior Animal Dirt).

It will be intriguing to see how the motorsports landscape continues to evolve in 2024 and beyond, with the emergence of new talents and the ongoing success of established drivers and families. We take a look at some key players in the NASCAR Youth Series for 2024:

Roo Reaves (NC) - Roo ended 2023 with a National Championship in Junior 160 Pavement, but was on the search for more. With 2024 being the last year Roo will be eligible for the junior class, Roo will be a competition that drivers will be looking to defeat. Aside from Roo only clinching 1 national championship, the drivers who captured the other Junior Pavement Divisions (Junior Honda - Easton Gardner and Junior Animal - Jax Wittmer) are both no longer eligible for the Junior classes in 2024, and will be racing Senior classes in 2024.

Gavin Gardner (FL) - In 2023 Gavin competed in four classes on the National tour (Heavy Honda, Heavy 160, Heavy World Formula, Unrestricted Animal). He finished runner up in two of those classes (Heavy Honda & Heavy World Formula) and 3rd place in the other two classes (Heavy 160 & Unrestricted Animal). With several events on the 2023 National Tour, Gavin goes into 2024 with hot steam. Gavin plans to compete on the National Tour and the Dixie Shootout Tour in 2024, aiming for multiple championships across the two series.

Case James (NC) - Case finished 2023 with a bang, clinching two National Championships Light 160 Pavement & Senior Animal Pavement) as well as finishing runner up in the Light World Formula Pavement division. Case has his sights on multiple championships again in 2024, with a schedule including the NASCAR Youth Series National events and the full 2024 Dixie Shootout Tour.

There are a multitude of contenders for this years National Championships, as these are just a few. NASCAR Youth Series champions will be recognized at the annual USAC Night of Champions over the Performance Racing Industry weekend in Indianapolis Indiana at the Indiana Rooftop Ballroom.

2021 USAC .25 National Champions

Cody Kontra - Junior Honda Dirt,Junior Animal Dirt

David Milozar - Senior Honda Dirt

Peyton Knecht - Heavy Honda Dirt

Gunnar Pio - Light 160 Dirt,Senior Animal Dirt,Light World Formula Dirt,Formula Mod Dirt,Light 160 Pavement,Senior Animal Pavement,Light World Formula Pavement,Formula Mod Pavement

Jacob Bierman - Heavy 160 Dirt,Unrestricted Animal Dirt

Logan Watt - Heavy World Formula Dirt

Colton Knapp - Junior Honda Pavement

Hayden Wise - Senior Honda Pavement

Reed Whitney - Heavy Honda Pavement,Heavy 160 Pavement,Heavy World Formula Pavement

Bristol Spicola - Junior Animal Pavement

Max Reaves - Unrestricted Animal Pavement

2022 USAC .25 National Champions

Hudson Andrews - Junior Honda Pavement

Jackson Diehl - Senior Honda Pavement,MOD World Formula Pavement

Max Reaves - Heavy Honda Pavement, Unrestricted Animal Pavement, Heavy World Formula Pavement

Gage Pio - Junior 160 Pavement

Case James - Light 160 Pavement

Gunnar Pio - Heavy 160 Pavement

Cap Curry - Junior Animal Pavement

Jace Hale - Senior Animal Pavement

Lincoln Smith - Light World Formula Pavement

Liam Ballard - Junior Honda Dirt

Larry Kelleher - Senior Honda Dirt

Peyton Knecht - Heavy Honda Dirt, Heavy 160 Dirt, Unrestricted Animal Dirt

Henry Schneider- Junior 160 Dirt

Quinlan Pio - Light 160 Dirt, Senior Animal Dirt

Lukas Kostic - Light World Formula Dirt, Mod World Formula Dirt

JT Bierman - Heavy World Formula

Logan Koester - Junior Animal Dirt

2023 NASCAR Youth Series National Champions

Ryker Sumner (IN) - Junior Honda Dirt

Lincoln Smith (OH) - Senior Honda Dirt, Light World Formula Dirt, Senior Animal Dirt, Light 160 Dirt, Light World Formula Pavement

Avery McMellen (MD) - Heavy Honda Dirt, Unrestricted Animal Dirt

Reice Widger (PA) - Heavy World Formula Dirt

Jax Wittmer (PA) - Junior Animal Dirt, Junior Animal Pavement

Augustine Punke (IL) - Heavy 160 Dirt

Kaden Wenger (PA) - Formula Mod Dirt

Avelina Gosselin (PA) - Junior 160 Dirt

Easton Gardner (FL) - Junior Honda Pavement

Colton Kelly (GA) - Senior Honda Pavement

RJ Deighton (NJ) - Heavy Honda Pavement, Heavy 160 Pavement, Unrestricted Animal Pavement, Heavy World Formula Pavement

Roo Reaves (NC) - Junior 160 Pavement

Case James (NC) - Light 160 Pavement, Senior Animal Pavement

Tyler Lupton (MI) -Formula Mod Pavement


NASCAR Youth Series, Presented by COOKOUT


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