Ranking the Small-Team NASCAR Drivers Who Are Ready to Jump to a Bigger Stage

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Ranking the Small-Team NASCAR Drivers Who Are Ready to Jump to a Bigger Stage
Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Trevor Bayne and Michael McDowell both deserve quality full-time Sprint Cup rides.

It is no secret that when the green flag waves to start any NASCAR race, some drivers are heavy favorites to win, while others have absolutely no chance. 

It's not that these drivers aren't talented enough. They are just in a different situation than some of their peers. Approximately half of the competitors who make up a typical Sprint Cup Series starting grid come from teams that have unlimited resources, and the sky is the limit for their success.

The other half are on teams that have to scrape and claw just to get by on a week-to-week basis. These teams have fewer resources and people to help prepare the cars.

They continue to race because they love what they do. And just like anything in life, the harder you work at something, the better you will get. The hope for these small teams is to one day be on par with the top-tier organizations they are currently competing against.

Employed by these smaller teams are some very talented drivers. Because there are only so many quality rides, some competitors drive for these underfunded teams in the hope of doing a good enough job that they will be recognized by one of the top teams when a spot does become available.

In the slides ahead, we will take a look at five drivers who certainly have talent worthy of being a member of one of NASCAR's top organizations but are currently driving for a small team.

In some cases, these drivers have previously been on a top team, and for one reason or another it just didn't work out the first time around. But in other cases, some drivers have yet to get their opportunities to really show just how good they could be.

For the sake of clarity, we will say that Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and, to a lesser extent, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing are the teams that cannot be labeled as small teams.

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