With the Cup Series off last week (click
Initially slated to replace
Keselowski has already shown flashes of how good he'll be when the time comes to move up. Driving a seven-race Cup schedule with a fifth Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, he scored a 23rd-place finish at Texas to outpace all other freshmen in the field. It's clear
Last year's ARCA Series champion, Allgaier is turning heads just six races into a full-time Nationwide Series stint with
With solid backing from Verizon (at least in the Nationwide Series), expect this 22-year-old to position himself to move up in 2010 if two of Penske's three Cup drivers --
An 11th-place finish at Nashville in his 2009 Nationwide Series debut was hardly the run Leicht was looking for, but don't be surprised if you hear this 22-year-old's name called in Cup races for
Sharing the ride with Cup stars
The former motocross champ is a marketer's dream, but
There's already a push within the company to make Carmichael's limited schedule a full-time affair, making him a top contender to win Rookie of the Year in that division. And with KHI already possessing a top-flight Nationwide Series program, there's room for Carmichael to move up to the sport's "AAA" level as soon as this season if he continues to excel.
After being passed by Bires in the closing laps at Nashville last Saturday, Carl Edwards commented on how this phenom needs to have a full-time ride. Like too many development drivers these days, Bires was victimized by sponsorship issues. He became a free agent in January, despite six top-10 finishes in the Nationwide Series last year. And since he was released so late in the game, it's been difficult for the Wisconsin native to find anything else.
He's hung around with start-and-park rides and underfunded equipment, driving anything he could get his hands on before the one-race opportunity with
He may be part of a small, family-owned team, but make no mistake:
Buescher is a quiet, unassuming 19-year-old who has yet to even score a top-10 finish in five career Truck Series starts. But give the Texas native time and he'll be right up there in the Rookie of the Year battle before 2009 is in the books. Buescher drove a limited schedule of Nationwide Series starts last year and did fairly well, scoring one top-10 finish for Braun Racing. Now paired with 50-year-old veteran teammate
Back in January, it looked like McCumbee would be competing for Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series for Petty Enterprises. But when Petty's team was forced to merge, the youngster was the odd man out in a shuffle that eventually saw his ride land in
SS-Green Light Racing is so underfunded, it actually uses a second team to start and park just so it has the funding to make it to the next race. But you couldn't tell that by the way McCumbee drives on the track; two top-10 finishes in four starts leave him eighth in points this season. It's the right move for a driver in position to earn himself a second chance at the top.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking: Brian who? He he has just one start under his belt in any of NASCAR's top three divisions, but that's about to change. Tapped by Kyle Busch to share his ride in NASCAR's Truck Series, the San Diego native plans a limited schedule in top-flight equipment starting at Kansas at the end of April.
Busch and Ickler share a few similarities (both are 24-year-old West Coast natives), but perhaps the most important one is running up front. Ickler led NASCAR's Camping World East Series in wins and laps led in 2008, just one year removed from a similar performance in Camping World West. The Truck Series is a huge step up competition-wise, but Ickler will have all the tools in place to make his transition smooth.
Very quietly, Lagasse's been putting together impressive runs as a rookie in the Nationwide Series. Driving a CJM Racing Toyota, he's scored two top 10s and five top-20 finishes to place ninth in the overall season standings. Support from Joe Gibbs Racing was supposed to improve his single-car operation -- but not this quickly -- putting the son of former road course standout
Keeping the car in one piece has been key to the younger's development. Freshmen in NASCAR's second-tier division are known for tearing up equipment, but Lagasse's kept his car off the wall since a potentially devastating crash at Daytona in the season opener.