An Uphill Battle
These two drivers have the largest obstacles to overcome in their introduction to NEXTEL Cup racing.
Brandon Whitt will drive the #72 Dutch Quality Stone sponsored Chevy in the 2007 NEXTEL Cup series. Brandon ran two full seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004 and 2005. He managed a thrilling win in Memphis in 2005 making the pass for the win in the final turn when the leader spun in front of him. He has one other top five finish to his credit in his 57 Craftsman Truck Series starts.
His CJM Racing team started four races in 2006 with a disappointing average finish of 39.2. While both the team and the driver may have the ability to field a top quality NEXTEL Cup effort some day it is hard to imagine Brandon Whitt claiming the 2007 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award.
A.J. Allmendinger comes to NEXTEL Cup from the Champ Car World Series where he won the 2004 Rookie of the Year honors. Last year, he won five races and finished third in CCWS points. As for his NASCAR experience, Allmendinger started three truck series races in 2006 for Bill Davis Racing.
He finished fifth in Talladega for his best career NASCAR touring series effort.
Allmendinger will be driving the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota. Since this brand new team has zero car owner points from 2006 Allmendinger will have to qualify on time for the first six races of 2007. New driver, new team and a new car. There will be a lot of learning in this pit in 2007.