NASCAR is overhauling its Sunoco Rookie of the Year program.
The sanctioning body announced on Thursday that the points structure for rookie honors will match the system used for series titles with stage points and playoff points. The top rookie in NASCAR’s top three tours will be the driver earning the most points throughout the season.
“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “Our fans track closely the progress of our young drivers and matching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points structure with the championship points will help them follow this prestigious program and award more closely than ever before.”
Identical to the rest of the field, freshman drivers will accumulate 40 points and five playoff points for wins, 35 points for second-place and 34 points for third-place and on a sliding scale according to the current system. Should a rookie win a stage, he or she will be awarded 10 points and a playoff point into the Sunoco Rookie pot.
Current Monster Energy Cup Series rookie candidates include William Byron, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Ray Black Jr. Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek and Kaz Grala are running for rookie honors in the Xfinity Series. Dalton Sergeant, Todd Gilliland and Justin Fontaine will contend for Rookie-of-the-Year in trucks.