NASCAR Spotlight: Sprint Cup Rookie Kevin Conway

Kyle BrandtContributor IJune 29, 2010

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 19:  Kevin Conway, driver of the #34 Extenze Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 19, 2010 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Historically, the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title has been awarded to some of the top drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Drivers such as Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Denny Hamlin have all brought home the honors and catapulted their careers.

The 2010 season has a small rookie class, but is not short on talent. Currently, Kevin Conway is atop the rookie standings and has finished all but two of the 17 races so far—gaining precious seat time and logging laps.

Conway comes from a very diverse racing background. Having competed in motocross, go-karts, legends cars, super late models, ARCA, USAC midgets, and NASCAR's top three touring series. Kevin has 37 victories in motocross and won a National Dirt event in his first ever start in a WKA go-kart.

After moving to INEX, he became the youngest National Champion in series history at that time—at age 15. Kevin also went on to win the Summer Shoot-Out Series Championship, Young Lion Award, the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Track Championship, and the Mid-Atlantic Pro Division Championship, along with 28 wins and 11 track records. Although brief, Kevin had four top five finishes in his first five starts in the Super Late Models Big 10 Series.

In 2002, Conway moved to ARCA, competing in two races. He qualified fifrth in Atlanta, which was his first time on a mile-and-a-half track, but wound up 13th after suffering a flat tire. At Charlotte Motor Speedway, he was fastest in practice but had to start 41st after qualifying was rained out. Conway went on to finish seventh in the rain shortened event.

That same year, Conway competed in the USAC Midget Series and in only his third career start at South Boston Speedway, he led every lap and won.

Conway made the move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2007, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in seven races—sharing seat time with Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and Brad Coleman. In 2009, Kevin competed in one race in the Camping World Truck Series and finished 19th. He also competed in 12 races in the Nationwide Series and had an average finish of 22nd.

This season, Conway moved to the Sprint Cup Series, driving for Front Row Motorsports. He has finished all but two races and has completed 93 percent of the season's laps—providing the rookie with much needed seat time.

Kevin is currently atop the Rookie of the Year standings and has been the Raybestos Rookie of the Race for the majority of the season.

Heading into Daytona, where he he has stated he has a great shot of pulling the upset, Conway is well on his way to being named the 2010 Raybestos Rookie of the Year and adding his name to a prestigious group of only 56 previous drivers.