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.