Ricky Stenhouse Jr, a Model of Rookie Consistency
Rookies are enigmas, but each one brings unique twists and a compelling story to the series which they compete in. Over the past few years the rookie classes have become consistently weak, including previous winners Stephen Leicht, Andy Lally, and Kevin Conway. Realistically, Joey Logano was the last Rookie of the Year that is still competitive in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
But, for 2013, the rookie class inspires a bit of hope, and some sustainability within the NASCAR ranks. The least prominent of the rookies is Timmy Hill. Hill is an interesting case, as there is a genuine belief he can be successful at the Sprint Cup level. Hill has always been supported in his young racing career, and ran the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year, winning Rookie of the Year honors in the series. This year he will run a partial schedule with the hope of gaining experience and moving on into a more competitive ride in the future.
The rookie that draws the most attention however is easily Danica Patrick, Stenhouse’s girlfriend and fellow rookie. Despite a lack of results, Patrick is a fan favorite, and has secure sponsorship that will keep her relevant within the series for years to come. She only has one lead lap finish, and that was also her only top ten of the year, at the season opening Daytona 500. Currently she finds herself 29th in the point standings, but she has yet to develop despite being in elite equipment.
Yet, the most successful rookie has been Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Stenhouse is easily the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award, and currently finds himself two sports away from being in the chase. His consistency at every track has been wonderful to watch, and Stenhouse clearly is the future at Roush-Fenway Racing.
Stenhouse is showing incredible poise at the Sprint Cup level, not being able to rely on the raw speed and superior equipment that won him a Nationwide Series title. But he is off to a phenomenal start, and if he continues to show veteran poise, he will be in victory lane in no time.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486