|05/25/11 01:19PM||Camping Truck Series, Cole Whitt, NASCAR, Sunoco Rookie|
The Future Is Now: Whitt Launches To Truck Points Lead
May 25, 2011
Whitt Makes History As First Sunoco Rookie, Youngest Driver To Sit Atop Standings
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 25, 2011) – For Cole Whitt, the 19-year-old California native competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, taking a strong lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year race wasn’t enough. After his third-place finish in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Whitt became the first rookie and youngest driver ever to sit atop the standings in NASCAR Camping World Truck history.
Whitt, driver of the No. 60 Turn One Racing Red Bull/Fuel Doctor Chevrolet, now leads the series standings by one point over Johnny Sauter. He also is the only driver to finish on the lead lap in all seven NCWTS races this season.
“We come here to race and we come here to win,” said Whitt after the Charlotte race. “If we didn’t think we could do it, we wouldn’t be here. Everything has been so good, I feel like we won the race.”
Whitt started his racing career as an elementary school BMX racer, before advancing to midgets and 410 sprinters in 2004. In 2008, Whitt became the youngest USAC champion at the age of 17, catching the eye of Red Bull talent scouts. Whitt finished fourth in points last season in the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
“Obviously we recognized the talent last year when we started talking to him,” said Stacy Compton, owner of Turn One Racing. “He’s probably one of the best talents that we’ve seen come into the sport in a long, long time. I think Kyle Busch and Mark Martin hit the nail on the head when they said that he is the next superstar. We’ll be glad to be a part of getting him to where he’s going to be in the very near future – which is going to be NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing. Obviously we’d like to have him for a long, long time, but we know that there are a lot of people that recognize the talent that he’s got and we’re just glad to be a part of it.”
“We’re really excited about the way the team has come together. It’s all come together pretty quick. We felt like midway through the season we would hopefully be here. But to come together this quick, obviously shows that we’ve got a lot of really good people in the right places.”
Whitt will be making his season debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Charlotte in the Top Gear 300 on May 28 for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing.
Whitt currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year race with 102 total points, 62 points in front of the next competitor, Parker Kligerman.
Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year recipients Greg Biffle (1998), Kurt Busch (2000), Carl Edwards (2003) and David Reutimann (2004) have all gone on to capture NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.
Since 1954, NASCAR has awarded the top-performing first-year driver the distinction of being named Rookie of the Year. This year’s crop of rookie drivers leading the standings for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in all three national series are wearing the yellow stripe proudly and gaining respect and the attention of fans and competitors alike.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award is part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
Sunoco, which has been the Official Fuel of NASCAR® since 2004, is in its first year as the title sponsor of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award across all three NASCAR national series divisions. Sunoco is also the title sponsor of the Rookie of the Year Program in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.