The 10 Best Sprint Cup Rookie Seasons in NASCAR History

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The 10 Best Sprint Cup Rookie Seasons in NASCAR History
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Kevin Harvick's 2001 season was bittersweet yet impressive.

In recent years the list of Raybestos Rookie of the Year winners has been rather stale. In 2012 the award went to Stephen Leicht, while in 2011 it was veteran road racer Andy Lally who took home the honors. In 2010 Kevin Conway was the, err, "shining example" in the rookie class.

With the exception of Lally, who currently campaigns a Porsche in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Racing Series, and of 2009 RotY winner Joey Logano, nobody really knows much about our top rookie winners.

But it hasn't always been that way. Remember when Tony Stewart turned the NASCAR world on its head in 1999? What about Kevin Harvick in 2001? 

Every once in a while we get a rookie who gleefully walks it to the veterans of the sport and turns heads along the way. On more than one occasion, those rookies have even contended for the championship at one point or another.

The following is a list of the best rookie seasons in Sprint Cup history. The only criteria needed to even make this list is to have had a great rookie season and to have given the old guard plenty of headaches.

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