Thursday, June 20, 2013

Danica Patrick vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

NASCAR's rookie of the year award is based upon a points system separate from overall NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with candidates effectively racing against each other. Only their best 17 finishes are counted with bonuses added on a sliding scale for top 10 overall finishes; end of season series points ranking and the judgment of a special panel on overall on- and off-track performance.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the current leader having scored 160 points. Danica Patrick is four points behind with Timmy Hill, who has competed in eight races, third.
On paper, there is little to differentiate Stenhouse, driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and Patrick, who competes in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Patrick has the edge in best finish – eighth at Daytona after becoming the first female pole winner in Daytona 500 history – while Stenhouse scores on consistency.
Stenhouse is still in pursuit of his first top-10 finish but edges Patrick in top 15s by a five to three count. The two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion has 10 lead lap finishes – including the most recent three races – to Patrick’s four. Stenhouse, whose best qualifying position is third at Kansas, has led three races for a total of 29 laps to Patrick’s one for five laps.


  1. Jim, would you be willing to respond to a reader's question/concern? The "judgment of a special panel on overall on- and off-track performance" piece of the ROY decision sounds like a loophole big enough to drive Danica's #10 car through and, unquestionably, leads to cynicism and reduces the credibility of the award if the chosen winner is not also the driver with the most points at the end of the year. Would you comment on the panel's effectiveness of keeping politics out of the decision? Also, do you know if this piece of the decision process was in effect when Kenseth beat Dale Jr for the ROY award? Thank you.

  2. I know this panel process has been in effect for many years, I would say at least 20 years if not more.
    In principle other drivers have a vote as they see the rookies on track, how do they handle themselves on track, in traffic, in situations etc.
    I'm sure politics plays some role, and I am sure Danica will win the award regardless, but in the end so what? It's a minor accomplishment in reality especially given there are only two serious drivers going for it.

  3. This may be a year when no one should win the award. Sorry to say but, so far, none of the rookies deserve it. Does there 'have' to be a winner each year even though the racing results are dismal at best? What if there was only one rookie driver...would they automatically win the award? Surely there must be some minimum reasonable standards to be met by any potential winner or else the award would seem like a joke.