The Two at the Bottom
Let me say right off the bat, I believe that all seven of the 2006 rookie candidates are very talented. However, these seven drivers have varying levels of experience and have landed on teams with different amounts of support available. The two drivers here have the toughest row to hoe in their struggle to win rookie honors.
Brent Sherman takes over the #49 BAM Racing Dodge that Kenny Schrader ran for the last couple of seasons. Kenny is leaving to go drive the famous Wood Brothers #21.
Brent comes to NEXTEL Cup by way of the Busch Series and the ARCA series. In two full seasons of ARCA competition he did not score any wins. Last year he ran 24 races of the 35 race Busch Series schedule and scored one top ten finish, leading zero laps in all of those races.
Unfortunately the BAM Racing #49 that he will be taking over has also shown a lack of brilliance. In 2005 Kenny Schrader averaged 30.1 in qualifying with an average finish of 25.3.
Neither Brent nor his BAM Racing team seem to have the complete package necessary to compete at NASCAR's highest level.
Clint Bowyer will take over the Richard Childress Racing Jack Daniels sponsored #07 that Dave Blaney drove in 2005. Blaney will move to the Bill Davis #22 Caterpillar car for 2006.
Clint Bowyer ran very well in the 2005 Busch Series. Bowyer scored two wins in the series and finished a very close second in points. Bowyer was extremely consistent managing 22 top ten finishes on the season.
While Clint is very talented the Richard Childress Racing team that he moves into struggled in 2005. Dave Blaney only managed two top tens for Jack Daniels in 2005. In fact, of the entire three car Richard Childress Racing operation, Kevin Harvick's spring Bristol win was the only victory the entire team managed.
Clint Bowyer has a bright future in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing, but probably not in 2005.