Kevin Conway doesn’t have a ride. And his season up to this point has been… well not good. Despite the less than impressive stats and a now unclear future, Conway will very likely go into the NASCAR record books as the best rookie of 2010 – the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, the winner by default.
Conway started 2010 driving the #37 for Front Row Motorsports – his home until last week. His competition through the first 10 races of this season for the ROY was Terry Cook. Cook qualified for just three of ten races he attempted in a very underfunded Whitney Motorsports ride before he and the team parted ways.
That left just Conway, the only full-time competitor, competing for ROY honors this season. For his part, Conway has said he is excited about winning his race of one.
For me, all of a sudden my hard work created some opportunities and now to find myself in the middle of the Rookie of the Year championship in the Sprint Cup Series is beyond comprehension in many ways
Nevermind it was clever maneuvering of points, and start-and-parks that kept Conway going for as long as he did. Through 21 races he had an average start of 40th, and average finish of 31.6 – he finished on the lead lap in just three of those races at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Sonoma.
For all intents and purposes though Conway is the best rookie of this season. Though I don’t know if I’d be too stoked about winning a competition where I was the only competitor, I guess it’s something.
Going back to late last season the talk was how there might not even be a rookie class in the Cup Series. While that didn’t occur, we did end up with the weakest class since perhaps 1958 (I say that only because the winner, Shorty Rollins, was the lone competitor).
Now thanks to a bad economy, an increasing lack of sponsor interest in funding development drivers and plethora of other reasons, we now find ourselves in the same situation we were in last year – the prospect of a season without a ROY participant in the Cup Series.
While it really isn’t that big of a deal, it’s kind of sad to not see a competition for an award whose winners include the sport’s greatest drivers. The award deserves better than this. The sport deserves better than this. But it is what it is.