In 2009, Harvick encountered perhaps his worst season since joining the Sprint Cup ranks in 2001, as he placed 19th in the standings with only five top 5 finishes, and nine top 10 finishes. Most notably, he dropped a goose egg in the win column. The exasperating season appeared to mark the beginning of the end for the Harvick/RCR alliance. Nevertheless, the entire organization benefited from a remarkable resurgence in 2010, with Harvick reaping great rewards. He dominated the championship standings during the regular season, finished third in the final standings, and won three races.
When McMurray became the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing, his future in Sprint Cup appeared to be in jeopardy. McMurray taught us all a lesson, however, in 2010. He taught us to never burn bridges, to remain on good terms with previous employers. You never know when you may need their support. Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing (formerly Chip Ganassi Racing) re-hired McMurray, who drove for the organization from 2002 to 2005. He won the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. It was his first multi-win season. He jumped from 22nd to 14th in the standings.
Edwards jumped from 11th to 4th in the Sprint Cup standings from 2009 to 2010. He also followed up his winless season with a duo of victories to end the 2010. Edwards’ performance, as well as all the Roush Fenway Racing drivers, improved as the 2010 season progressed.
In 2009, Bowyer had to acclimate to a new crew chief, Shane Wilson, after three seasons with Gil Martin. He was solid in 2009, but it was not enough to win a race or make the Chase for the Championship. Bowyer reversed his results in 2010 by qualifying for the Chase for the Championship and winning two races.
Despite the financial woes and uncertainty surrounding Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010, Menard enjoyed his best season to date in Sprint Cup competition. In 2009, he finished 31st in the standings without a single top ten finish. In 2010, Menard showed perceptible improvement, as he finished 23rd in the standings, with one top five and six top 10 finishes. He joins Richard Childress Racing in 2011 to drive the No. 27 Chevrolet.
Honorable Mention: Joey Logano, A.J. Allmendinger, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Burton