Strongest Rookie Classes

kkfan91

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This was inspired by a Facebook post I saw of David Reutimann's today. It was a picture of the 3 national series rookies of the year in 2004, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Reutimann. This got me thinking to see what year had the strongest rookies across all 3 series combined. First here is the chart of all rookies of the year along with their total career wins across the national series. Drivers with a * have raced in 2022.

YearCupCareer WinsXfinityCareer WinsTruckCareer WinsTotal wins
1954Blackie Pitt0----0
1957Ken Rush0----0
1958Shorty Rollins1----1
1959Richard Petty200----200
1960David Pearson106----106
1961Woodie Wilson0----0
1962Tom Cox0----0
1963Billy Wade4----4
1964Doug Cooper0----0
1965Sam McQuagg1----1
1966James Hylton2----2
1967Donnie Allison10----10
1968Pete Hamilton4----4
1969Dick Brooks1----1
1970Bill Dennis0----0
1971Walter Ballard0----0
1972Larry Smith0----0
1973Lennie Pond1----1
1974Earl Ross1----1
1975Bruce Hill0----0
1976Skip Manning0----0
1977Ricky Rudd24----24
1978Ronnie Thomas0----0
1979Dale Earnhardt97----97
1980Jody Ridley1----1
1981Ron Bouchard3----3
1982Geoffrey Bodine24----24
1983Sterling Marlin12----12
1984Rusty Wallace55----55
1985Ken Schrader7----7
1986Alan Kulwicki5----5
1987Davey Allison19----19
1988Ken Bouchard0----0
1989Dick Trickle2Kenny Wallace9--11
1990Rob Moroso6Joe Nemechek20--26
1991Bobby Hamilton15Jeff Gordon98--113
1992Jimmy Hensley11Ricky Craven7--18
1993Jeff Gordon98Hermie Sadler2--100
1994Jeff Burton48Johnny Benson18--66
1995Ricky Craven7Jeff Fuller1--8
1996Johnny Benson18Glenn Allen Jr0Bryan Reffner119
1997Mike Skinner29Steve Park6Kenny Irwin237
1998Kenny Irwin2Andy Santerre1Greg Biffle*5659
1999Tony Stewart62Tony Raines4Mike Stefanik066
2000Matt Kenseth68Kevin Harvick*121Kurt Busch*43232
2001Kevin Harvick*121Greg Biffle*56Travis Kvapil9186
2002Ryan Newman26Scott Riggs9Brendan Gaughan1045
2003Jamie McMurray16David Stremme0Carl Edwards7288
2004Kasey Kahne31Kyle Busch*224David Reutimann4259
2005Kyle Busch*224Carl Edwards72Todd Kluever0296
2006Denny Hamlin*67Danny O'Quinn Jr0Erik Darnell269
2007Juan Pablo Montoya3David Ragan*4Willie Allen07
2008Regan Smith7Landon Cassill*0Colin Braun18
2009Joey Logano*60Justin Allgaier*19Johnny Sauter*27106
2010Kevin Conway0Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10Austin Dillon*2030
2011Andy Lally*0Timmy Hill*0Joey Coulter11
2012Stephen Leicht1Austin Dillon*20Ty Dillon*425
2013Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10Kyle Larson*33Ryan Blaney*1861
2014Kyle Larson*33Chase Elliott*25Ben Kennedy159
2015Brett Moffitt*12Daniel Suarez*5Erik Jones*1936
2016Chase Elliott*25Erik Jones*19William Byron*1660
2017Erik Jones*19William Byron*16Chase Briscoe*1449
2018William Byron*16Tyler Reddick*15Myatt Snider*132
2019Daniel Hemric*1Chase Briscoe*14Tyler Ankrum*116
2020Cole Custer*13Harrison Burton*4Zane Smith*623
2021Chase Briscoe14Ty Gibbs*9Chandler Smith*528

To break that down here it is ranked by wins for Cup Rookies of the year...2 names obviously will be the top

Kyle Busch*224
Richard Petty200
Kevin Harvick*121
David Pearson106
Jeff Gordon98
Dale Earnhardt97
Matt Kenseth68
Denny Hamlin*67
Tony Stewart62
Joey Logano*60
Rusty Wallace55
Jeff Burton48
Kyle Larson*33
Kasey Kahne31
Mike Skinner29
Ryan Newman26
Chase Elliott*25
Ricky Rudd24
Geoffrey Bodine24
Davey Allison19
Erik Jones*19
Johnny Benson18
Jamie McMurray16
William Byron*16
Bobby Hamilton15
Chase Briscoe14
Cole Custer*13
Sterling Marlin12
Brett Moffitt*12
Jimmy Hensley11
Donnie Allison10
Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10
Ken Schrader7
Ricky Craven7
Regan Smith7
Rob Moroso6
Alan Kulwicki5
Billy Wade4
Pete Hamilton4
Ron Bouchard3
Juan Pablo Montoya3
James Hylton2
Dick Trickle2
Kenny Irwin2
Shorty Rollins1
Sam McQuagg1
Dick Brooks1
Lennie Pond1
Earl Ross1
Jody Ridley1
Stephen Leicht1
Daniel Hemric*1
Blackie Pitt0
Ken Rush0
Woodie Wilson0
Tom Cox0
Doug Cooper0
Bill Dennis0
Walter Ballard0
Larry Smith0
Bruce Hill0
Skip Manning0
Ronnie Thomas0
Ken Bouchard0
Kevin Conway0
Andy Lally*0

Xfinity, again Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch*224
Kevin Harvick*121
Jeff Gordon98
Carl Edwards72
Greg Biffle*56
Kyle Larson*33
Chase Elliott*25
Joe Nemechek20
Austin Dillon*20
Justin Allgaier*19
Erik Jones*19
Johnny Benson18
William Byron*16
Tyler Reddick*15
Chase Briscoe*14
Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10
Kenny Wallace9
Scott Riggs9
Ty Gibbs*9
Ricky Craven7
Steve Park6
Daniel Suarez*5
Tony Raines4
David Ragan*4
Harrison Burton*4
Hermie Sadler2
Jeff Fuller1
Andy Santerre1
Glenn Allen Jr0
David Stremme0
Danny O'Quinn Jr0
Landon Cassill*0
Timmy Hill*0

Trucks

Carl Edwards72
Greg Biffle*56
Kurt Busch*43
Johnny Sauter*27
Austin Dillon*20
Erik Jones*19
Ryan Blaney*18
William Byron*16
Chase Briscoe*14
Brendan Gaughan10
Travis Kvapil9
Zane Smith*6
Chandler Smith*5
David Reutimann4
Ty Dillon*4
Kenny Irwin2
Erik Darnell2
Bryan Reffner1
Colin Braun1
Joey Coulter1
Ben Kennedy1
Myatt Snider*1
Tyler Ankrum*1
Mike Stefanik0
Todd Kluever0
Willie Allen0

Here it is by total career wins, Kyle Busch helps his rookie of the years jump to the top, and Carl Edwards gives 2005 the bump over 2004 making up for Todd Kleuver's lack of wins to cover Kasey Kahne and David Reutimann in 2004. The highest year with only Cup is no surprise Richard Petty in 1959. The highest for 2 series is 1991 with Bobby Hamilton contributing 15 and Jeff Gordon doing the rest. The lowest year for all 3 series was 2011 where Andy Lally, Timmy Hill, and Joey Coulter only have Coulters one truck win, though Lally and Hill are still racing in NASCAR I don't see that changing soon. 2007 and 2008 with Montoya, Ragan, and Willie Allen with 7 and Regan Smith, Landon Cassill and Colin Braun with 8 actually come before the lowest with 2 series which was 1995 with Ricky Craven and Jeff Fuller having 8. 12 seasons produced rookies of the year who never won, though all were Cup only seasons the last being Ken Bouchard in 1988 the year before the Xfinity award started. In total 22 drivers who never won a national series race have been rookies of the year.

YearCupCareer WinsXfinityCareer WinsTruckCareer WinsTotal wins
2005Kyle Busch*224Carl Edwards72Todd Kluever0296
2004Kasey Kahne31Kyle Busch*224David Reutimann4259
2000Matt Kenseth68Kevin Harvick*121Kurt Busch*43232
1959Richard Petty200----200
2001Kevin Harvick*121Greg Biffle*56Travis Kvapil9186
1991Bobby Hamilton15Jeff Gordon98--113
1960David Pearson106----106
2009Joey Logano*60Justin Allgaier*19Johnny Sauter*27106
1993Jeff Gordon98Hermie Sadler2--100
1979Dale Earnhardt97----97
2003Jamie McMurray16David Stremme0Carl Edwards7288
2006Denny Hamlin*67Danny O'Quinn Jr0Erik Darnell269
1994Jeff Burton48Johnny Benson18--66
1999Tony Stewart62Tony Raines4Mike Stefanik066
2013Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10Kyle Larson*33Ryan Blaney*1861
2016Chase Elliott*25Erik Jones*19William Byron*1660
1998Kenny Irwin2Andy Santerre1Greg Biffle*5659
2014Kyle Larson*33Chase Elliott*25Ben Kennedy159
1984Rusty Wallace55----55
2017Erik Jones*19William Byron*16Chase Briscoe*1449
2002Ryan Newman26Scott Riggs9Brendan Gaughan1045
1997Mike Skinner29Steve Park6Kenny Irwin237
2015Brett Moffitt*12Daniel Suarez*5Erik Jones*1936
2018William Byron*16Tyler Reddick*15Myatt Snider*132
2010Kevin Conway0Ricky Stenhouse Jr*10Austin Dillon*2030
2021Chase Briscoe14Ty Gibbs*9Chandler Smith*528
1990Rob Moroso6Joe Nemechek20--26
2012Stephen Leicht1Austin Dillon*20Ty Dillon*425
1977Ricky Rudd24----24
1982Geoffrey Bodine24----24
2020Cole Custer*13Harrison Burton*4Zane Smith*623
1987Davey Allison19----19
1996Johnny Benson18Glenn Allen Jr0Bryan Reffner119
1992Jimmy Hensley11Ricky Craven7--18
2019Daniel Hemric*1Chase Briscoe*14Tyler Ankrum*116
1983Sterling Marlin12----12
1989Dick Trickle2Kenny Wallace9--11
1967Donnie Allison10----10
1995Ricky Craven7Jeff Fuller1--8
2008Regan Smith7Landon Cassill*0Colin Braun18
1985Ken Schrader7----7
2007Juan Pablo Montoya3David Ragan*4Willie Allen07
1986Alan Kulwicki5----5
1963Billy Wade4----4
1968Pete Hamilton4----4
1981Ron Bouchard3----3
1966James Hylton2----2
1958Shorty Rollins1----1
1965Sam McQuagg1----1
1969Dick Brooks1----1
1973Lennie Pond1----1
1974Earl Ross1----1
1980Jody Ridley1----1
2011Andy Lally*0Timmy Hill*0Joey Coulter11
1954Blackie Pitt0----0
1957Ken Rush0----0
1961Woodie Wilson0----0
1962Tom Cox0----0
1964Doug Cooper0----0
1970Bill Dennis0----0
1971Walter Ballard0----0
1972Larry Smith0----0
1975Bruce Hill0----0
1976Skip Manning0----0
1978Ronnie Thomas0----0
1988Ken Bouchard0----0
 

jaqua19

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Interesting. This paints half the picture because we've had drivers fail to win rookie of the year and have even superior careers.

I wonder what this would look like if you included the top 4 or 5 rookies from each season.

I'd bet the cup series at least, had the best rookie class in 2000.

1999-2005 is the biggest boom in talent we've ever seen

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kkfan91

Crab Cakes and Sprint Cars....PA does 1
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Interesting. This paints half the picture because we've had drivers fail to win rookie of the year and have even superior careers.

I wonder what this would look like if you included the top 4 or 5 rookies from each season.

I'd bet the cup series at least, had the best rookie class in 2000.

1999-2005 is the biggest boom in talent we've ever seen

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
That is a good question I'll have to think about doing that. Will take some more time. I mean just adding DW in 1973 alone adds so many more wins to that year. 1982 adds Mark Martin, 79 you have Terry Labonte, 1976 you have Bill Elliott and Neil Bonnett. Just to name some more examples
 

LewTheShoe

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Meh. It's that New Math again...

Add 30 tons + 30 pounds + 30 ounces and call it 90 units of weight. I say it's 90 units of gibberish.

All race wins mean something, but they don't all mean the *same* thing. In all racing disciplines, wins in the premier division mean a helluva lot more than wins in the training wheel divisions.

End of rant; carry on; sorry to interrupt.
 

Formerjackman

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That is a good question I'll have to think about doing that. Will take some more time. I mean just adding DW in 1973 alone adds so many more wins to that year. 1982 adds Mark Martin, 79 you have Terry Labonte, 1976 you have Bill Elliott and Neil Bonnett. Just to name some more examples
1979 was a huge class of Cup rookies, which besides Dale and Terry, had Harry Gant.
 

Formerjackman

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That 2011 class……woof.

The thing is, I Lally is a good driver, but he came to stock cars late in life and was driving junk. Lally was a fabulous GT driver in his prime. I think Timmy Hill is better than most people think, but again, junk equipment. My memory of Coulter is much the same. You have to be REAL careful judging some of these people based on what they are driving. Alex Bowman is living proof of that. Even Cody Ware probably isn't as bad as we imagine, but he just makes poor decisions sometimes.
 

AuzGrams

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Kevin Conway was the real MVP with the Z-Line to JGR and then ExtenZe sponsorship, switched owner points between the 34, 37, 38 quite a few times so they could stay in the top 35 in owner points and win ROTY in 2010, then left for Robby Gordon Motorsports and that didn’t go well either I guess?
 
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