Columbus Energies Rookie of the Year Fight Hits Final Stretch
Even though Mother Nature has halted much of the racing action on NASCAR Saturday night this season at Seekonk Speedway, it will only make the final few weeks of the season even more intriguing for fans to watch.
The battle for the overall drivers championship in each division is heating up — but inside that battle — the fight for the Rookie of the Year crown in each division is also taking on a new twist this season.
Seekonk partnered with Columbus Energies and VP Race Fuels over the offseason to create the “Columbus Energies Rookie of the Year, powered by VP Race Fuel” award for each of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. There is a cash bonus on the line for all four classes — with $500 for the Pro Stock winner, $400 for the Late Models and $300 on the line for both the Sports Trucks and Sportsman divisions.
Currently, in the Pro Stocks, Rookie of the Year leader Jake Johnson is actually right in the thick of the battle for the championship. He sits second, 54 points behind leader David Darling, while Dylan Estrella, his closest challenger for the Rookie title, is seventh in the standings. Estrella is 22 points back of Johnson, and one of those two drivers is going to seal the Pro Stock Rookie crown over the final few weeks. Estrella has a victory this season, which came on opening night, while Johnson is still in search of his first career win. Both are former Late Model winners making some noise in one of the toughest weekly Super Late Model classes on the East Coast.
The Late Model battle currently looks like a race between Tommy Adams and Chase Belcher down the stretch. Adams is 11th in the overall standings, but leads Belcher by 40 points for the rookie title. The speed out of the No. 56RI all season has shown Adams can get the job done, and he will look to also put his ride in Victory Lane while he tries to seal the Rookie of the Year crown. Belcher, a former Sports Trucks champion, missed a few weeks, but is trying to claw back into the fight, and still has some time to make a move.
The Sportsman division has seen three, and even four-wide racing once again this year, and their Rookie of the Year battle is one of the closest of any. Ed Perry, a former Sports Trucks driver gone Sportsman racing, is 10th in the overall points, but holds a 26-point advantage over Tom Watson for the Rookie crown. Perry has been to Victory Lane already this year, and the crew chief turning the wrenches has definitely steered him in the right direction. Watson is 12th overall, while Donald Perry is 15th, 48 points back of Perry while both seek their first win.
In the Seekonk Sports Trucks, former Pure Stock champion Andrew Kun is seventh in the standings, but leads the Rookie of the Year battle over Maddie Harkin. Kun’s early weeks in the Sports Trucks proved to be difficult for him to get the setup right, but lately, he has shown some speed. Harkin moved from the Seekonk Youth Racing Association up to the Trucks, and has been improving each week. Right now, Kun leads Harkin by 50 points heading to the final four races.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series returns to the track on Saturday night, when the Pro Stocks, Late Models and Sportsman all compete in the finale of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series.