MIAMI BEACH, FLA. – Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon was officially named the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Dillon joins his younger brother, Ty Dillon, as a 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year. The younger Dillon clinched the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series version of the award on Friday evening.
Austin Dillon culminated his first full season in NASCAR’s No. 2 tour with two race wins, sweeping both Kentucky Speedway events, along with 16 top-five finishes, 27-top-10s and 3 pole awards. Dillon finished third in the championship point standings and will be formally honored for his 2012 accolades at the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series championship awards banquet on Monday.
“I’ve had so much fun racing against Cole Whitt and the other Sunoco Rookies this year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Dillon. “The competition in the Nationwide Series has pushed me to become a better driver and I feel like we were able to provide value to AdvoCare, American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops and all of RCR’s partners by providing solid on-track results. It’s an honor to earn Sunoco Rookie Honors this year and I am even more driven and excited for 2013 to try and win the Nationwide Series championship.”
This is the third time that Dillon has been named the top rookie in a NASCAR-sanctioned series. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 in the Camping World Truck Series and in 2008 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division.
In the Nationwide Series, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award is calculated using a driver’s best 16 finishes and a vote by a Nationwide Series rookie of the year panel that considers a driver’s competitive abilities and interaction with other drivers and the media.
“To see the success Austin had in his rookie NASCAR Nationwide Series season, especially with the two wins and Rookie of the Year honors, has surpassed our expectations,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “It’s always a great honor to win rookie of the year, and even more so for Austin to have won it now in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2010).”
Dillon joins a list of former Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year winners that include Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, among others.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year award is presented at the annual Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series Awards Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Monday, Nov. 19. SPEED will broadcast the banquet on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Time.