KNPSE: Rhodes Earns Sunoco Rookie Of The Year; Fourth Rookie Driver to Win K&N East Title

RaceChaser Staff Featured, NASCAR, Northeast, Southeast 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – By John Tejada, NASCAR — Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for NASCAR photo — Ben Rhodes can add one more piece of hardware to his impressive 2014 season.

The Louiville, Kentucky, native, has clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title by virtue of holding a 36-point lead headining into the final event of the season, the Drive Sober 150 at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway on Sept. 26. On Sept. 6 at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, Rhodes wrapped up the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship for Turner Scott Motorsports,

The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver is now among the company of Ricky Craven, Andy Santerre, Brad Leighton, Joey Logano, Ryan Truex and Kyle Larson – all K&N Pro Series East champions – who have won the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award, which has been handed out each year since 1988.

Rhodes is also one of four drivers to win the overall championship and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the same season, joining Logano (2007), Truex (2009) and Larson (2012).

Through the first 15 races of the 16-race season, Rhodes has five wins, six poles, 11 top-fives and 13 top-10 finishes, garnering the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award 11 times in that span.

The 2014 season saw 39 different drivers earn Sunoco Rookie of the Year points in the K&N Pro Series East, including Rhodes’ teammate Kaz Grala, who is currently third in the point standings behind Nick Drake.

Earning Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the K&N Pro Series East has gone a long way toward advancing driver’s careers in recent seasons. Starting with Logano in 2007, six of the last seven top rookies in the series have all gone on to compete full-time in NASCAR’s three national series, including 2012 honoree Larson, who is completing his first season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Logano, who qualified this year for his second straight Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Rhodes will be formally recognized for this accomplishment at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Saturday, Dec. 13 in the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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