Among the many signs of revival within NASCAR this year are the rookie classes across their top-three series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series’. Each with Rookie of the Year contenders offering a layer of interest in watching this season’s competition for their respective coveted titles.
In the Camping World Truck Series the lone contender, at this point is Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner, Ward Burton and nephew of Sprint Cup Series and Richard Childress Racing driver, Jeff Burton. Jeb Burton’s full-time schedule this year officially, brings the next generation of the ‘Burton’ family into the fold of NASCAR’s elite series’. The younger Burton caught a lot of attention last year and impressed many with his performance running part-time in the trucks – look for more of the same in 2013.
With a long gap between the first and second races in the Camping World Truck Series – Feb 22 to Apr 6 – there are other potential rookie candidates in the wings – all busy securing their sponsorship commitments, before declaring their RotY status. They may yet join the CWTS Rookie of the Year contest, although there’s a diminishing window of opportunity for more to enter this competition. If more do enter the series, they’ll make it even more interesting for fans to watch. Stay tuned for more news before the season begins in February and again before their second race in April.
The most rookies are entering the season in the Nationwide Series with six current contenders including, Alex Bowman, Jeffrey Earnhardt – son of Kerry Earnhardt, grandson of racing legend, Dale Earnhardt Sr and the Sprint Cup Series’ most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr‘s nephew – Kyle Larson, Hal Martin, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Kevin Swindell. Similar to the Truck Series, there are others in the wings that may not have yet declared their Rookie of the Year status. Expect more names to be added to this list before the season begins.
With so many contending in the Nationwide Series, this will be an interesting contest to watch throughout the season. Top favorites right now include, Drive for Driversity’s rising star, Kyle Larson and international racing star, Nelson Piquet Jr, who made a name for himself last year with two wins at Michigan and Las Vegas and as the runner up for Rookie of the Year in 2011, in the Camping World Truck Series.
And then… there’s the Sprint Cup Series, with two of the sports’ biggest stars competing for the title, two-time Nationwide Series champion – 2011 and 2012, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Stewart Haas Racing and last year’s most popular driver in the Nationwide Series, Danica Patrick.
This competition is not just interesting because it’s a male – female contest for the title. Another layer of sensationalism was added this past Friday, Jan 25th , when Patrick confirmed her relationship with her rookie of the year rival, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. To say this one will be interesting and for some entertaining to watch throughout the season, may prove to be one of the biggest understatements of the year. And then again, who knows, as only time will tell the rest of that story.
Listen to the Fan4Racing team discuss NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year competitions in all three series on our popular radio show – Fan2Fan NASCAR Talk – on Monday, January 28th at 9pm ET on The Sports Chronicles Radio Network found on Blog Talk Radio.