Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What to do with only one rookie who’s not setting the world on fire


With the 2010 NASCAR season winding down, it looks as if it’s pretty much certain that Kevin Conway is going to be the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. After all, he’s the only rookie left competing in the series on a regular basis. Terry Cook started off the season as another contender for the rookie honor, but has since fallen by the wayside, leaving Conway the lone candidate for the award. So, by default, Conway looks to be on his way to being crowned this season’s best newcomer.

Isn’t that kind of a hollow victory, though? Sure drivers admit to taking wins and trophies however they can get them—hence, the old saying, “I’d wreck my mom to win a race.” But when you’re the only person competing for an award, should you automatically get it pretty much by default? Should there be some kind of minimum standard that should be met to achieve the honor?

By asking that question, I don’t mean to demean Conway or his racing ability. But when you compare him to recent rookies of the year, does he stack up? After all, Joey Logano won during his rookie season of 2009. Sure, it was a rain-shortened race win. But he was in position to take the victory when the race was called for wet weather. Some of the most recent top rookies prior to Logano are Regan Smith (2008), Juan Pablo Montoya (2007), Denny Hamlin (2006), Kyle Busch (2005) and Kasey Kahne (2004). Are Conway’s stats this year comparable to the stats most of these drivers put up during their rookie campaigns? Not really and compared to some of them—not by a long shot.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

Photo of Kevin Conway courtesy of NASCAR Media

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