DAYTONA BEACH, FL — official release — Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images photo — This season’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year class has been one of the best the NASCAR Nationwide Series has ever seen. So as the series hits the brakes this weekend, let’s take a look at some quick highlights from the top three in the Sunoco Rookie standings through 12 races:
Chase Elliott – Not only does he have a 33-point lead in the rookie standings but he also has posted two wins (Texas, Darlington), six top fives, nine top 10s with an average finish of 9.4. He also has led the overall series driver standings for five races this season; he is currently third in points, 22 back from Regan Smith.
Ty Dillon – Following in his brother Austin’s footsteps, Ty is driving the famed No. 3 car in the NNS this season, and is second in the Sunoco Rookie standings. Dillon has posted nine top-10 finishes and a pole this season. His average finishing position is 9.7. Dillon is fifth in the overall series driver standings, 34 points back from Regan Smith.
Chris Buescher – Competing against his cousin (James) this season in the NNS, Chris is third in the rookie standings and ninth in the overall driver standings. Separated by 64 points from Chase Elliott in the Sunoco Rookie standings, Buescher has posted one top five and four top 10s this season. His average finish in 2014 is 14.3.
Elliott, Dillon, Buescher and the rest of the class of young talent will have their racing career stamina’s truly tested following this break; the series enters a 18-week stretch of racing that none of them have faced in their racing careers before. Dillon has the most experience at long schedule stretches, from participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.