A year ago, most of the attention at resurgent Richard Childress Racing focused on Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton.
Rookie teammate Clint Bowyer had a solid, if unspectacular, season while his veteran teammates qualified for NASCAR's season-ending Chase for the Nextel Cup championship.
Now, six races into the season, the 27-year-old from Kansas is right up front with his more experienced teammates.
Heading into next week's race at Texas Motor Speedway, Burton is second to series leader Jeff Gordon, Bowyer is seventh and Harvick is 10th.
Bowyer already has three top 10 finishes. Last season, he had four top fives, 11 top 10s and finished 17th in the final standings.
He gives Burton and Harvick a lot of the credit for his improvement.
"Teamwork is everything in this sport, and having two good teammates to bounce ideas off of and get information and contribute to that information when we can, that's a big thing," he explained. "You've got two totally opposite ends of the spectrum with Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick as far as feedback and, sometimes, you can learn what to do and what not to."
In the two Car of Tomorrow races, Bowyer finished eighth at Bristol and 11th at Martinsville. Still, he's ready to take a step back in time at Texas.
"I can't wait to get back to the normal car and what we're used to and not worrying about touching somebody with the [front] splitter, whether the splitter will fall off or if you hit the wall if the wing is going to be in the stands or anything else," he said.