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Who will it be?

  • Patrick Carpentier

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  • Jacques Villeneuve

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  • Regan Smith

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  • Dario Franchitti

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  • Sam Hornish Jr.

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From Steve McCormick




The 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle is one of the most interesting rookie battles in the history of NASCAR. This year's rookie crop bring with them very impressive resumes including three Indianapolis 500 victories, four IndyCar Series Championships, one CART Championship and one Formula One World Championship.
Who will emerge in November as the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year? Here are all of the contenders in order from worst to first.

Patrick Carpentier

Patrick Carpentier will take over the driving duties of the #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge. This team struggled in 2007 with driver Scott Riggs. The GEM #10 team ended up 37th in owners points and was only able to carry driver Scott Riggs to one top ten finish last season.

Patrick Carpentier built an impressive racing resume building in the 90s:

1996 - Players Toyota Atlantic Series Champion
1997 - CART Rookie of the Year
Carpentier was solid in the Champ Car series throughout the early 2000's.

He posted victories in four consecutive seasons from 2001 - 2004. However, he never really set the world on fire.
The combination of a struggling team and his mediocre driving skills forces Patrick Carpentier to the bottom of this list.

Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve will join Bill Davis Racing's Sprint Cup efforts for the 2008 season. Villeneuve will take over Jeremy Mayfield's former ride. In 2008 this car will be renumbered to Villeneuve's famous #27.

Jacques Villeneuve is another driver that had a very impressive decade in the 90s:

1995 - Indianapolis 500 winner
1995 - CART Series Champion
1997 - Formula One World Champion
As a former Formula One World Champion no one can doubt his driving skills. Villeneuve has been a winner in everything that he has ever sat in. Unfortunately this team struggled in 2007 and is still (as of January 20th) searching for a sponsor.
I believe that Jacques Villeneuve will help this team achieve all that it is capable of. Holding him back will be a lack of sponsorship money and his unproven team. These factors will make Jacques Villeneuve's Sprint Cup learning curve even steeper.


Regan Smith

After sharing time with NASCAR legend Mark Martin in 2007 Regan Smith will get his first full season behind the wheel of the DEI #01.

Regan Smith's racing resume is a bit weaker than the other four drivers on this list:

1996 - World Karting Association US Grand National Championship (Age 13)
2001 - Allison Legacy Series Rookie of the Year
2001 - Allison Legacy Series Champion
Regan Smith has 131 starts in NASCAR's top three touring series including 102 in the Nationwide Series. His best finish is fifth which he achieved four times (One Truck and Three Nationwide).
Regan Smith moves up to the middle of this list based on the strength of his team. In 2007 Mark Martin proved that this team was capable of great things. Whenever Martin was behind the wheel this car was running near the front of the pack. Smith took over the reigns seven times in 2007. His best finish of those seven starts was 24th in Talladega where he even managed to lead one lap.

Regan Smith is a young driver that could have a great future in the sport. 2008 could be a turning point for his career. Smith probably has the best equipment among all of this year's rookies. Can Regan Smith hold up his end of the job?



Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti joins Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Franchitti replaces David Stremme in the #40. This car was formerly sponsored by Coors Light however Coors has left the team to become the official beer of NASCAR. There is has been no announcement of a replacement yet.

Franchitti comes to NASCAR from the open wheel ranks. In 2007 his racing resume exploded as he reached the pinnacle of American open-wheel racing:

2007 Indianapolis 500 winner
2007 IndyCar Series Champion
Dario Franchitti joins a team that finished 26th in owners points in 2007.

However the loss of its primary sponsor will remain a concern until owner Chip Ganassi can sign a replacement.
Franchitti will get to enjoy his team's guaranteed starting spot during the early part of the season. This will take a lot of the pressure off and allow Dario Franchitti to get comfortable in the car. Franchitti was the king of the open-wheelers in 2007 and his new team had a solid season with the previous driver. Dario Franchitti will be a factor in the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle.



Sam Hornish Jr.

Sam Hornish Jr. joins Penske South racing for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Sam will drive the #77 Mobil One Dodge in NASCAR's top series.

Sam Hornish has been a dominant force in American open-wheel racing for years. His racing resume includes:

1994 - World Karting Association US Grand National Championship
1995 - World Karting Association US Grand National Championship.
2001 - IndyCar Series Champion
2002 - IndyCar Series Champion
2006 - Indianapolis 500 winner
2006 - IndyCar Series Champion
Hornish receives the car owner points from his teammate Kurt Busch so he will be guaranteed a starting spot for the first five races of 2008. This is a slick trick by Roger Penske because as a former champion Busch is guaranteed the past Champions provisional and will start the race anyway.
Sam Hornish will be a force during the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
i think that Hornish has the best chance since he is guaranteed a spot in the first 5 races, and an impressive resume. i think that that will make a big difference.
 

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Don't thank me, thank Justice Fruit Pies!
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Can't say I really know many of them, I think that Regan Smith will be the best out of em...he has more stock car experience it seems.
 

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I pick Dario. He is also locked into the first 5 races thanks to Stremme.
 

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#1 "BLANIAC"
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Poor Jaque. He ain't gettin' no love. :-[
 
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