Joey Logano and Justin Allgaier are currently ruling the Rookie of the Year battles in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series respectively.
Both drivers are having excellent seasons so far, with Logano scoring six top-ten Cup finishes and Allgaier securing his first pole of his Nationwide career at Memphis Motorsports Park.
In the Cup Series, Logano has been battling Scott Speed for Rookie of the Year honors. They are the only two drivers in 2009 eligible for ROTY honors this season.
Many predicted Speed, a former Formula One driver, to take the NASCAR rookie stage by storm. On the contrary, many thought that Logano, the teenage phenomenon, deemed "Sliced Bread" by Joe Gibbs Racing, was more hype than talent.
Logano was not even supposed to "graduate" to the Cup Series when he did. But all that changed when Tony Stewart, who had been running in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 car, decided to leave the team and start his own racing venture.
Yet with just five more races to go in the 2009 Cup season, Logano is the ROTY leader by an overwhelming points margin. Logano leads Speed by 129 points prior to the race this weekend at Martinsville.
Logano is coming off a great rookie finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he scored the Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors. Logano battled against four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon to finish in the fifth position.
At Martinsville, Logano qualified in the seventh position for the Tums Fast Relief 500. This starting spot was impressive, especially since this was only the second time the youngster has visited the track.
“The Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota was decent in the first practice," Logano said. "Since I only have one race here I spent a majority of the practice getting a better understanding of what works and what lines on the track are fast."
While Logano dominates the ROTY battle in the Cup Series, Justin Allgaier is battling mightily in the Nationwide Series to take that honor. Allgaier is in a closer struggle, just 18 points ahead of Rusty Wallace Racing competitor Brendan Gaughan, prior to the Memphis race.
Allgaier is also battling for the fifth position in points, the last podium position, in the Nationwide standings.
At Memphis Motorsports Park, Allgaier secured his first ever career pole. It was his first pole in 36 races.
Allgaier, who goes by the nickname “Little Gator” in honor of his father, is no stranger to achieving race honors. Prior to coming to the Nationwide Series, Allgaier was the champion of the ARCA/REMAX Series.
For both the Cup and Nationwide Series, the Rookie of the Year honors are calculated using a points system, based on qualifying, finishes, and wins, as well as conduct on and off the track as determined by a Rookie of the Year panel.
Rookie of the Year honors have been awarded since 1958. Ryan Newman holds the Rookie record for most poles, top five and top ten finishes.
The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie of the Year is three. This record is shared by Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson.
Both Logano and Allgaier hope to join those storied Cup drivers by making history of their own. The two drivers hope to be holding their own Rookie of the Year trophies when the 2009 season comes to a close.