2012 Sunoco Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Rules & Standings

Updated 11-18-2012
    SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR SCORING SYSTEM

    Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates are awarded points based on entry, competition, top-10 bonus points, and voting panel points. Points are awarded based on his/her best 17 races in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action, 16 events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, or 14 events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Points during competition are awarded based on the following:

    * Attempting to qualify for a race earns the rookies one (1) bonus point.

    * A 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point system is used for scoring finishing positions. The highest-finishing rookie in each race earns 10 points, the second-highest, nine points, etc.

    * Bonus points are awarded for a finish in the top 10. A rookie who wins a race is awarded 10 points, second place gets nine points and so on down the line with a tenth place finish earning one point.

    In addition to the above, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year panel will meet during the final weekend of the season and reward favorable conduct in the following categories: conduct with NASCAR officials; conduct and awareness on track; personal appearances and relationship with the media. The panel rates each driver on a scale of 10 to one with 10 being the maximum. The points will then be averaged and added to the entry, competition, and bonus points after the final race.

    Rookie Stripes: rookies will be noted on the car they drive by a yellow stripe on the rear bumper of the car.
    sometimes a driver not up for the award may have yellow stripes on tracks they have not competed on before.


      Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings

      Car#-Driver, Races Attempted, Races Run, Points, Total Points
      Looks like if a rookie starts and parks, they get one (1) point, haven't seen rules posted in a few years
      What NASCAR is showing on their race reports:
      #33-Stephen Leicht, 120 final rookie points [was added to standings after Darlington]
      #26-Josh Wise, 111 final rookie points
      (thru 11-18-2012)

      SEVEN races is the most a driver can race in ONE season and still run for ROTY

      HIGHEST-FINISHING ROOKIE BY RACE
      Race, Highest-Finishing Rookie
      Daytona 500, no rookies attempted the race
      Phoenix, #26-Wise (40th), 1
      Las Vegas, #26-Wise (40th), 2
      Bristol, #26-Wise (43rd), 3
      Auto Club, #26-Wise (37th), 4
      Martinsville, #26-Wise (41st), 5
      Texas, #26-Wise (39th), 6
      Kansas, #26-Wise (39th), 7
      Richmond, #26-Wise (38th), 8
      Talladega, #26-Wise (42nd), 9
      (Leicht added to the ROTY award candidates)
      Darlington, #26-Wise (43rd), 10
      Charlotte, #33-Leicht (39th), 1
      Dover, #33-Leicht (35th), 2
      Pocono, #33-Leicht (33rd), 3
      Michigan, #26-Wise (42nd), 11
      Sonoma, #26-Wise (30th), 12
      Kentucky, #26-Wise (37th), 13
      Daytona, #26-Wise (38th), 14
      New Hampshire, #33-Leicht (32nd), 4
      Indianapolis, #33-Leicht (31st), 5
      Pocono(X), #26-Wise (37th-parked), 15
      Watkins Glen, #33-Leicht (26th), 6
      Michigan(X), #26-Wise (40th-parked), 16
      Bristol, #26-Wise (38th), 17
      Atlanta, none, both rookies failed to qualify for the race
      Richmond, #33-Leicht (36th), 7
      Chicago(X), #26-Wise (42nd-parked), 18
      New Hampshire, #33-Leicht (36th), 8
      Dover(X), #26-Wise (37th-parked), 19
      Talladega(X), #26-Wise (43rd-parked), 20
      Charlotte, none, #26-Wise failed to qualify for the race
      Kansas, none, #26-Wise failed to qualify for the race
      Martinsville, #33-Leicht (34th), 9
      Texas(X), #26-Wise (37th-parked), 21
      Phoenix(X), #33-Leicht (35th-parked), 10
      Homestead, #26-Wise (37th-parked), 22
      (X) = no rookie award mentioned on final official race report
      Best Finishing Rookies, Times:
      Josh Wise, 22
      Stephen Leicht, 10
      Timmy Hill, 0
      Races with no rookie, 4


      News and Notes / Records / History


    • Leicht running for ROTY; Circle Sport debuts as team at CMS: Circle Sport, LLC, announced that 2012 Rookie-of-the-Year Contender Stephen Leicht will drive the #33 Circle Sport Chevy this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the debut effort for the Sprint Cup Series organization. Joe Falk recently acquired the #33 from Richard Childress Racing and formed Circle Sport to operate the fledging organization. Falk, a Virginia businessman who has been a part of the sport since the late 1990s, is making a return to fulltime competition in NASCAR's top series. Falk previously fielded the #91 Sprint Cup entry for drivers Dick Trickle, Greg Sacks, Kevin Lepage, Mike Wallace and Todd Bodine, which included a top-five finish in 1998 season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
      "When the opportunity was presented to acquire the #33 owner points from Richard Childress Racing, we felt this was the way to build a solid foundation for our emerging Sprint Cup operation," Falk said. Leicht, the 25-year-old former development driver for Robert Yates Racing and winner of the 2007 Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway in his only fulltime season of NASCAR racing, has been selected to pilot the #33 Circle Sport entry in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Leicht enters the weekend event with three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts to his credit with his debut coming for legendary owner and engine builder Robert Yates in 2006. Leicht was recently approved for the NASCAR ROTY program and will be guided by veteran crew chief Tony Glover. Glover – the three-time Daytona 500 championship crew chief credited with 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories with drivers Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek – joins Circle Sport after a longtime leadership role with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. Falk's Little Joe's Autos has served as a sponsor in the races leading up to the Coca-Cola 600, while Precon Marine, another Virginia-based company that specializes in heavy marine constructions, joined in an associate role. Additionally, Circle Sport welcomes marketing partners new to the sport of NASCAR – HotTorque.com and Moon Shine Attitude Attire – for this weekend's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(CircleSport PR)(5-26-2012)

    • Timmy Hill returning to Nationwide Series: Timmy Hill, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, will return to the Nationwide Series with Rick Ware Racing for the remainder of the 2012 season, starting with the Friday, April 13th event at Texas Motor Speedway. Hill and the RWR team attempted the move to the Sprint Cup Series this year [in the #37]. "Rick Ware Racing has been awesome to me throughout my entire racing career," said Hill. "We as a team took a chance to compete in the Sprint Cup Series and move this team to the next level. We learned a lot from this experience, but it's time to take a step back and regroup on what we learned to apply that for the future. So we are temporarily putting the Cup program on hold. We are not out of racing and you will see myself and Rick Ware Racing at Texas ready to go in the Nationwide Series race."(Hill PR)(4-3-2012)

    • Hill, Wise running for Rookie of the Year: Josh Wise and Timmy Hill are not sure exactly how many races they'll compete in during the 2012 Sprint Cup season, but they plan to be racing each other for Sprint Cup's top rookie honors. Both Wise and Hill have registered for the rookie program and took their first Cup laps of the season this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Wise, who drove in 31 Nationwide races for three teams including JR Motorsports last year and has four career starts in the Cup Series, is driving the #26 car for Front Row Motorsports, which Tony Raines qualified in for the Daytona 500. #37-Hill, the 2011 Nationwide rookie of the year, is looking to make his Cup debut after failing to qualify Saturday at Phoenix. He is driving a car fielded by Rick Ware Racing and Max Q Motorsports in a deal that came together the last few weeks. Both Wise and Hill are not certain how many races they'll compete in this season. Wise and Front Row need sponsorship for that car to run the full events. Hill hopes to be in the car every race but knows that if he misses some, the team might put someone else in the car to try to get it in the top 35.(Scene Daily)(3-5-2012)

    • 2012 Rookie of the Year Class: Earlier than they have been in recent memory, the classes of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders for NASCAR's three national series have been set, for the time being.
      In the Sprint Cup Series, two drivers have registered for the program, though neither is entered for the Daytona 500. Timmy Hill will attempt to win his second consecutive rookie of the year award for [#37 Ford] Rick Ware Racing after grabbing the Nationwide Series honor in 2011. At this point his competition is Josh Wise, who recently has dabbled in all three national series --- with 91 starts since 2007. Owner Larry Gunselman, who is fielding a car for superspeedway ace Mike Wallace at Daytona, had said over the winter he wanted to run Wise for rookie of the year, depending on sponsorship [but recently announced Ware and Gunselman's team joined forces].
      The Nationwide Series has five contenders, including Jason Bowles who's driving for MacDonald Motorsports. The other four contenders are Joey Gase, 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion Austin Dillon, Cole Whitt and Johanna Long, who plans a partial schedule of about 20 races for ML Motorsports.
      As has been the case for the past few years, the Truck Series rookie class is the largest, with 11 contenders, nine of whom are entered at Daytona. The list includes Dakoda Armstrong, Ross Chastain, Dusty Davis, 2011 ARCA Racing Series champion Ty Dillon (Austin's brother), Cale Gale, Max Gresham, Paulie Harraka, Caleb Holman, John King, Bryan Silas and John Wes Townley, who is currently under suspension by RAB Racing after a DUI arrest earlier this month in Georgia. Holman is the other driver not entered at Daytona.(NASCAR.com)(2-22-2012)

    • Josh Wise Eligible for 2012 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year: Josh Wise, driver of the #37 Max Q Motorsports Ford, will be eligible for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2012 even if he runs ten races this year. He is only accumulating points in the Nationwide Series, thus making him eligible. Team Owner, Larry Gunselman, stated, "Josh Wise has proven himself. He has talent and with his performance at Dover everyone can see that he is a serious contender for Rookie of the Year in 2012. Our company, Max Q is positioned and ready. We have everything in place, the people, equipment and the drive to succeed. Our team is ready to race in 2012, and we need a sponsor to help make it happen." Max Q is seeking marketing partners to run Josh Wise in the #37 in an attempt to compete for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the year.(Max Q PR)(10-19-2011)


    • ROOKIE HISTORY

      * Joey Logano won 2009 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano captured top rookie honors 26 times in 36 races and officially claimed the honor by 33 points (270-237) over Scott Speed. At 19 years of age, Logano became the youngest driver to win Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

      * Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (race #17). The victory came in his 20th career start. He finished the season with one win, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes and placed 20th in the final series championship standings.

      * Logano is the THIRD driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to win Rookie of the Year, joining Tony Stewart (1999) and Denny Hamlin (2006).

      · Did You Know? Joey Logano is the most recent Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race, capturing the 2009 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ahead of second-place Jeff Gordon (56 races ago).

      · Did You Know? The most recent Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (92 races ago).

      * Did You Know? The most recent Rookie to score a top-five finish is Logano, who placed third in the 2009 AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (41 races ago).

      * Regan Smith (2008) became the first Rookie of the Year in the 52-year history of the program without a DNF (did not finish). He was running at the finish in all 34 starts he made and captured top rookie honors over Sam Hornish Jr. by just seven points (236-229).

      · The 2008 season marked the first time in NASCAR’s modern-era (since 1972) that THREE drivers shared the lead in the Rookie standings. After the second race of the season, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti and Regan Smith were all tied at the top of the standings.

      * Ryan Newman holds the all-time Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22).

      * Denny Hamlin is the only Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004.

      * The record for most earnings by a Rookie Hamlin holds the record for most earnings by a Rookie ($6.6 million in 2006).

      * The record for most wins by a Rookie is THREE, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).

      * A Rookie has posted multiple victories SEVEN times in NASCAR Sprint Cup:
      1987: Davey Allison, two
      1999: Tony Stewart, three
      2000: Dale Earnhardt Jr., two
      2001: Kevin Harvick, two
      2002: Jimmie Johnson, three
      2005: Kyle Busch, two
      2006: Denny Hamlin, two

      * More than one Rookie has posted victories during their first season only three times:
      1981: Morgan Shepherd (one) and Ron Bouchard (one)
      2000: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two) and Matt Kenseth (one)
      2002: Jimmie Johnson (three) and Ryan Newman (one)

      * The way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is to win Rookie of the Year. Since 1979, six Rookie of the Year drivers have gone on to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title: Dale Earnhardt (1979), Rusty Wallace (1984), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Jeff Gordon (1993), Tony Stewart (1999, 2005) and Matt Kenseth (2000).

      * The longest streak for a Rookie to be in the top-10 in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings during the sport’s modern-era is 60 races (2001 MBNA Platinum 400 through 2002 Ford 400).(1-11-2011)


    • Logano first Rookie to win in 71 races: Rookie #20-Joey Logano rallied from a lap down and stretched his fuel mileage to perfection to win the rain shortened LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in just his 20th start and his first in two starts at New Hampshire. He became the first Rookie [Keselowski is not a Rookie Candidate] to win in 71 races, dating back to Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory at Infineon Raceway in 2007. He joined Ryan Newman (2002) as the only Rookies to win in 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire. He won in just his second start at New Hampshire and led the race just once, covering the final 10 laps. Logano leads Scott Speed by 31 points (199-168) in the overall Rookie standings. Logano scored his first top-five and fourth top-10 of the 2009 season.(PR)(6-29-2009)

    • NASCAR to implement rookie orientation program: NASCAR will implement a one-day rookie orientation seminar next February for newcomers to its three national touring series. The annual program will be designed for rookies and drivers 22 and under, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Wednesday. It will focus on NASCAR rules and policies as well as the adjustment to competing on the national stock-car circuit. “It’s something we’ve been looking at for the last two or three years,” Poston said. “We looked at what all the other leagues do, and one thing we realized is all the other leagues do this, and there seems to be a lot of benefit both for the league and their participants.” The program will include University of Central Florida professor Dr. Richard Lapchick of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports to address professional and personal conduct and Aegis Laboratories’ Dr. David Black to address the NASCAR substance-abuse policy. NASCAR Chairman Brian France also would be one of the presenters with other NASCAR executives, NASCAR’s medical liaisons, series directors, veteran drivers and track operators. “We want to do this to touch base with drivers that are new to the national series and make sure that they have an opportunity at their very start to get face-to-face with NASCAR executives, to understand the sport and who we are,” Poston said. “It’s really to welcome to the national series, welcome them to the sport and also to answer any questions that they have.” NASCAR has an 18-year-old age limit for its three national touring series and has toyed with the idea of increasing the age minimum for the Sprint Cup Series. Poston said that is still under consideration.(SceneDaily)(11-4-2009)


    ALL TIME ROOKIE of THE YEAR WINNERS

    • 1957 Ken Rush
    • 1958 Shorty Rollins (1)
    • 1959 Richard Petty
    • 1960 David Pearson
    • 1961 Woody Wilson
    • 1962 Tom Cox
    • 1963 Billy Wade
    • 1964 Doug Cooper
    • 1965 Sam McQuagg
    • 1966 James Hylton
    • 1967 Donnie Allison
    • 1968 Pete Hamilton
    • 1969 Dick Brooks
    • 1970 Bill Dennis
    • 1971 Walter Ballard
    • 1972 Larry Smith
    • 1973 Lennie Pond - Darrell Waltrip
    • 1974 Earl Ross (1)
    • 1975 Bruce Hill
    • 1976 Skip Manning
    • 1977 Ricky Rudd
    • 1978 Ronnie Thomas
    • 1979 Dale Earnhardt (1) - Joe Millikan, Terry Labonte, Harry Gant
    • 1980 Jody Ridley (1)
    • 1981 Ron Bouchard (1), Tim Richmond
    • 1982 Geoffrey Bodine
    • 1983 Sterling Marlin
    • 1984 Rusty Wallace - Phil Parsons
    • 1985 Ken Schrader - Eddie Bierschwale, Don Hume
    • 1986 Alan Kulwicki - Michael Waltrip, Chet Fillip, Pancho Carter, Kirk Bryant, Davey Allison [listed 4 races], Derrike Cope [2 races], Jerry Cramer [3 races], Rick Baldwin [2 races], Jonathan Edwards [2 races], Wayne Slark [1 race]
    • 1987 Davey Allison (2) - Dale Jarrett, Steve Christman, Rodney Combs, Derrike Cope
    • 1988 Ken Bouchard - Ernie Irvan, Brad Noffsinger, Jimmy Horton
    • 1989 Dick Trickle - Hut Stricklin, Larry Pearson, Jimmy Spencer, Rick Mast, Ben Hess, Chad Little
    • 1990 Rob Moroso - Jack Pennington, Jerry O'Neil, Jeff Purvis
    • 1991 Bobby Hamilton - Ted Musgrave, Stanley Smith, Wally Dallenbach Jr.
    • 1992 Jimmy Hensley - Dave Madar III, Andy Belmont
    • 1993 Jeff Gordon - Bobby Labonte, Kenny Wallace, P.J. Jones
    • 1994 Jeff Burton - Joe Nemechek, Steve Grissom, Loy Allen, John Andretti, Jeremy Mayfield, Mike Wallace, Ward Burton
    • 1995 Ricky Craven - Robert Pressley, Randy LaJoie, Steve Kinser, Davy Jones
    • 1996 Johnny Benson - Stacy Compton [listed as a candiate for 1 race], Randy MacDonald [3 races]
    • 1997 Mike Skinner - David Green, Jeff Green, Robby Gordon
    • 1998 Kenny Irwin - Kevin Lepage, Jerry Nadeau, Steve Park
    • 1999 Tony Stewart (3) - Elliott Sadler, Buckshot Jones
    • 2000 Matt Kenseth (1) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2), Dave Blaney, Scott Pruett, Stacy Compton, Mike Bliss
    • 2001 Kevin Harvick (2) - Kurt Busch, Casey Atwood, Jason Leffler, Ron Hornaday Jr, Andy Houston
    • 2002 Ryan Newman (1) - Jimmie Johnson (3), Carl Long, Shawna Robinson
    • 2003 Jamie McMurray - Greg Biffle (1), Tony Raines, Casey Mears, Jack Sprague, Larry Foyt
    • 2004 Kasey Kahne - Brendan Gaughan, Brian Vickers, Scott Wimmer, Scott Riggs, Johnny Sauter
    • 2005 Kyle Busch (2) - Travis Kvapil, Stanton Barrett, Mike Garvey, Eric McClure
    • 2006 Denny Hamlin (2) - Clint Bowyer, Martin Trux Jr., David Stremme, Reed Sorenson, Brent Sherman
    • 2007 Juan Pablo Montoya (1) - David Ragan, Paul Menard, David Reutimann, A.J. Allmendinger
    • 2008 Regan Smith - Sam Hornish Jr., Michael McDowell, Patrick Carpentier, Dario Franchitti
    • 2009 Joey Logano (1) - Scott Speed, Max Papis, Dexter Bean
    • 2010 Kevin Conway (0) - Terry Cook
    • 2011 Andy Lally (0) - no other drivers ran for the award
    • 2012 Stephen Leicht (0) - Josh Wise

      (NOT a 2002 candidate but won - Jamie McMurray (1) and ran and won ROTY in 2003)
      (NOT a 2009 candidate but won a race - Brad Keselowski (1), didn't run for the award in 2009 or 2010)
      winner bold; wins if any in parens() - rest of rookie class listed if known

    • ROTY Finishes In Final Top 10 of Drivers Standings
      Driver, Rank, Year.
      James Hylton, 2nd, 1966
      Denny Hamlin, 3rd, 2006
      Shorty Rollins, 4th, 1958
      Tony Stewart, 4th, 1999
      Jimmie Johnson, 5th, 2002
      Ryan Newman, 6th, 2002
      Dale Earnhardt, 7th, 1979
      Jody Ridley, 7th, 1980
      Earl Ross, 8th, 1974
      Kevin Harvick, 9th,2001
      Walter Ballard, 10th, 1971


      SOME ROTY NEWS and RECORDS

    • Rookies: #48-Jimmie Johnson tied Tony Stewart's rookie record for most wins by a Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year candidate with three in 2002. #12-Ryan Newman holds the rookie record [Modern Era 1972-present] of top fives, with 14, Hylton holds the all time record with 20. The top ten's record [Modern Era 1972-present] is held by Newman with 22, which is 10 below the all rtime record of Hylton in 1966. Some comparisions (all were Rookie of the Year except Earnhardt Jr):

      1958 Shorty Rollins
      29 (of 51) races, 1 win, 12 top 5's, 22 top 10's, 0 poles, final points postion was 4th

      1959 Richard Petty
      21 (of 44) races, 0 wins, 6 top 5's, 9 top 10's, 0 poles, points pos 15th

      1962 Tom Cox
      42 (of 53) races, 0 wins, 3 top 5's, 20 top 10's, 0 poles, points pos 19th

      1966 James Hylton
      41 (of 49) races, 0 wins, 20 top 5's, 32 top 10's, 1 pole, points pos 2nd

      Modern Era 1972-present:
      1979 Dale Earnhardt
      27 (of 31) races, 1 win, 11 top 5's, 17 top 10's, 4 poles, points pos 7th

      1987 Davey Allison
      22 (of 29) races, 2 wins, 9 top 5's, 16 top 10's, 5 poles, points pos 21st

      1999 Tony Stewart
      34 races, 3 wins, 12 top 5's, 21 top 10's, 2 poles, 4th in points

      2000 Matt Kenseth
      34 races, 1 win, 4 top 5's, 11 top 10's, no poles, 14th in points

      2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr
      34 races, 2 wins, 3 top 5's, 5 top 10's, 2 poles, 16th in points

      2001 Kevin Harvick
      35 (of 36) races, 2 wins, 6 top 5's, 16 top 10's, no poles, 9th in points

      2002 Jimmie Johnson
      36 races, 3 wins, 6 top 5's, 21 top 10's, 4 poles, 5th in points

      2002 Ryan Newman
      36 races, 1 win, 14 top 5's, 22 top 10's, 6 poles, 6th in points

      2006 Denny Hamlin
      36 races, 2 wins, 8 top 5's, 20 top 10's, 3 poles, 3rd in points
      a BOLD stat is the record holder as the end of 2006

    • Some Rookie Stuff: Jamie McMurray is the 4th driver to pick up his 1st career Cup win at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the modern era (The others: 2000: Matt Kenseth; 1995: Bobby Labonte; 1994: Jeff Gordon). McMurray became the 3rd rookie to win this year, joining Jimmie Johnson & Ryan Newman. It marks the first time that 3 rookies have won a Cup race in the same season in the modern era [1972-present]. Of the 13 first-time winners since 2000, 7 of those have come on Bruton Smith (SMI Tracks). 2000: Dale Earnhardt Junior (Texas), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte), & Jerry Nadeau (Atlanta; 2001: Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Elliott Sadler (Bristol); 2002: Kurt Busch (Bristol) & Jamie McMurray (Charlotte).(10-13-2002)

    • Quickest wins by a driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in only his 12th Cup start. Ron Bouchard won a Cup race in his 11th start in 1981 at Talladega, Mark Donohue won in his 5th Cup start in 1973 at Riverside, the earliest in the 'modern era' of Cup, he would only make one more Cup start. Others: Morgan Shepherd won in his 15th start (Martinsville) in 1981, but wasn't named Rookie of the Year. Several other drivers won in their first year, but weren't considered ROTY candidates: Dan Gurney at Riverside in 1963 in his third race and Mario Andretti at Daytona Beach in 1967 in his fifth start.
      BUT in 2001, #29-Kevin Harvick won his first Cup race in his third ever start, the best ever in the modern era [1972-present]. McMurray won in his 2nd start at Lowe's today which is the new Modern Era record and ties the all time record, set by John Rostek, who won in his 2nd career start in April 1960 at Arizona State Fairgrounds.
      ALSO of Note, Johnny Rutherford won a Daytona Qualifying race in his first start back in 1963, back then the Qualifier races counted as wins and the championship and points. And of course Jim Roper won in his first start, the first race ever held by NASCAR in 1949 and Jack White won in his first start in 1949, the 5th race of the season.(10-13-2002)

    • First time back-to-back - Correction: #48-Jimmie Johnson's victory comes a week after #12-Ryan Newman won, marking the first time in series history rookies have won back-to-back races.(News and Record), Actually in 2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth won back-to-back points races, with Earnhardt Jr winning at Richmond and Kenseth winning at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May of 2000, the Winston was run between the two races, also won by a rookie, Dale Earnhardt Jr.(9-23-2002)

    • Earnhardt Jr the fastest Correction and UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr has won his first two Winston Cup races faster then anyone in Winston Cup modern era. Earnhardt Jr won his 2nd race in his 16th start. Tony Stewart did it in his 32nd race, Dale Earnhardt in his 41st, Jeff Gordon 50th, Darrell Waltrip 65th and Bobby Labonte 77th. Not sure what the all time record is but Red Byron won his 2nd race in his 5th start during the first NASCAR Grand National(Before Winston Cup) season in 1949
      Correction: Davey Allison also won his 2nd race in his 16th start(5-7-2000)
      Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick won his 2nd Cup race in his 17th start.
      UPDATE: add #48-Jimmie Johnson ties the record as he won his 2nd race in his 16th start.(6-2-2002)


    Other Season's Rookie of the Year Pages:
    2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008
    2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003
    2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

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