Rookie Seasons

Since there is no NASCAR this weekend, I was trying to get my NASCAR fix so to speak.  After channel surfing on Friday night, I came across the show “NASCAR The List” airing on NBC Sports Network.   I love watching these kinds of shows.  I don’t care if it’s about football, baseball, or NASCAR.  It’s fun to see where those in charge put events/people on a list.  I also was looking for something NASCAR to write about it as well.  As I was watching the episode “Rookie Seasons”, I thought, OMG, this would make a great post for The Park!  The episode ranked the best rookie seasons in NASCAR.  My inner numbers geek kicked in.  I began researching on how these top ten did in NASCAR.  So let the green flag fly, and let’s discuss these top 10 rookie seasons!

Who are these drivers who had a sensational rookie season?  Where do they rank according to what you think?  That’s the great thing about lists of these kinds, it always creates a great debate among NASCAR fans.  Let’s look at the group collectively by the numbers.

  • Overall total wins = 352
  • Total wins (rookie season) = 18
  • Total poles (rookie season) = 23
  • Rookie of the Year winners = 8
  • Shortest time from Rookie year to Champion = 1
  • Longest time from Rookie year to Champion = 13 years
  • Average finish in final standings (rookie season) = 9th
  • Highest finish in final standings (rookie season) = 3rd
  • Lowest finish in final standings (rookie season) = 20th
  • Total Daytona 500 wins = 10 (3 have multiple wins)
  • Total Xfinity (aka Busch/Nationwide) Championships = 5
  • Total Cup Championships = 18
  • Multiple Cup Championships = 3
  • Active drivers (as of 2015 season) = 8

When looking at these drivers as a group they are very impressive.  So who are these drivers?  Well, I won’t keep you waiting any longer.  Their rookie year is listed in parenthesis.

  1. Tony Stewart (1999)–3 wins; 2 poles; final standing = 4th
  2. Jimmie Johnson (2002)–3 wins; 4 poles; final standing = 5th
  3. Denny Hamlin (2006)–2 wins; 3 poles; final standing = 3rd
  4. Kevin Harvick (2001)–2 wins; 0 poles; final standing = 9th
  5. Kyle Busch (2005)–2 wins; 1 poles; final standing = 20th
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000)–2 wins; 2 poles; final standing = 16th
  7. Davey Allison (1987)–1 win; 1 pole; final standing = 11th
  8. Dale Earnhardt Sr. (1979)–1 win; 4 poles; final standing = 7th
  9. Matt Kenseth (2000)–1 win; 0 poles; final standing = 14th
  10. Ryan Newman (2002)–1 win; 6 poles; final standing = 6th

I am thinking these drivers didn’t do half bad after their rookie seasons.

The boys are in the Lone Star State this weekend!  So to all my friends and family in the DFW area…BOOGITY, BOOGITY, BOOGITY!

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