NASCAR has simplified the process of crowning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner.
Beginning this season, ROY in each of the three NASCAR national series will simply be decided based on the driver who earns the most points throughout the season. That will include the accumulation of stage points and playoff points.
The format is the same structure used to crown the series champion.
For ROY, a win will earn a driver 40 points and five playoff points; second-place will reward 35 points; third-place is 34 points and so on. A stage win is 10 points and one playoff point.
“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Jim Cassidy. “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.”
The previous format to crown the ROY was rather more complex: Consisting of a 10-1 scoring system for finishing positions, the highest rookie in each race earned 10 points and down the line. Additionally, of the 36 points-paying races only the top 17 would count toward the rookie race.
Other eligibility included attempting to qualify for at least eight races out of the first 20 – and attempting to qualify for a race rewarded one bonus point. Bonus points were also awarded for finishes inside the top 10, and if a rookie won a race they were awarded 10 points, second-place nine points and so forth.
After the last race of the season, the highest-finishing rookie in the championship received 10 points with the second-highest receiving nine points, and so forth.
There was also a panel that would meet during the final race weekend of the year and take into account favorable conduct by the competitors and rate each driver. Those points would then be added to the driver’s season-long effort to determine the overall winner of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.
Last season, Erik Jones (above) was crowned ROY in the Cup Series while William Byron took the honors in the Xfinity Series and Chase Briscoe in the Camping World Truck Series. Jones and Byron would both have won ROY under the new format, however Austin Cindric finished ahead of Briscoe in the 2017 Truck standings.