DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 10, 2007) – A generous crop of talented young drivers have filed Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award applications with the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series for 2007. With little more than two weeks remaining before the season opening event on April 28, the ten current confirmed rookie contenders is expected to continue to grow.
The 13-event NASCAR Busch East Series opens with the Greased Lightning 150 at historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., April 28.
“Expectations are high for our Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award contenders,” said NASCAR Busch East Series Director Lee Roy. “As a group, they are young but experienced and backed by solid teams.
“Our redesigned schedule has attracted new drivers and teams who want to gain experience on a variety of tracks,” Roy continued. “The phase-in of our new “spec” engine and composite bodies make our race cars budget-friendly. Nine teams new to our series are part of national series driver development programs, which will help them gain competition credibility as they move up the ladder.
“One of the most interesting things we’re seeing this year is that drivers are backed by “Teams of Tomorrow.” Owners are looking at an even bigger picture today. Their focus has expanded to form entire crews they think can work their way up the ladder together as a unit. That’s a pretty strong endorsement for our entire series.”
Here is a look at drivers registered as 2007 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award contenders in the NASCAR Busch East Series:
• Chase Austin: Began racing go-karts in 1998; moved to micro-Sprint Cars in 2002; 2004-05, raced on asphalt in driver development program for Hendrick Motorsports; 2006: raced as independent owner/driver in 2004 on both dirt and asphalt. 2007: Signed by Rusty Wallace, Inc. for new NASCAR Busch East Series team. He is a high school junior.
• Jonathan Cash: Began racing go-karts and then Late Model Stock Cars in 1985; 2003: South Boston (Va.) Speedway NASCAR Whelen All American Series Limited Sportsman Division champion, also raced at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C., and NASCAR Late Model specials at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. 2007: Joins Wood Brothers/JTG Racing for new NASCAR Busch East Series team. Catawba Valley Community College Alumnus.
• Marc Davis: Started racing bicycle motocross in 1996; Advanced through Quarter Midgets, NHRA Junior Dragsters, Legends cars, Limited Late Models and Late Models. 2006: Joins Joe Gibbs Racing Late Model Stock Car team for full season at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. 2007: Gibbs advanced entire team to form new NASCAR Busch East Series team. High school junior who takes flight lessons to become his own pilot.
• Jeffrey Earnhardt: Started racing in entry level divisions on dirt tracks in 2004; Switched to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Limited Late Models on pavement in 2006 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. and Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. 2007: Signed company his grandfather founded, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., to compete with new NASCAR Busch East Series team fielded by Andy Santerre Motorsports. High school junior.
• Jamie Hayes: Started racing in 1984 and moved through go-karts, Legends cars and Late Model Stock Cars. Competed in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models at Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park, Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, South Boston (Va.) Speedway, and Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway. 2007: Joins Ken Schrader Racing with new NASCAR Busch East Series team.
• Jesus Hernandez: Started racing in 1997 at Madera (Calif.) Speedway, then moved to Irwindale Speedway in 2003. 2005 and 2006: Raced at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. 2006: Became first Hispanic driver to win a feature at Hickory. Third-year Drive for Diversity program participant; third year development driver for Ginn Racing. 2007: With Ginn, Hernandez advances to NASCAR Busch East Series. Graduate of Fresno (Calif.) State University.
• Richard Jarvis Jr.: Started racing in 1991 in go-karts. Advanced through Dwarf cars, DIRT Modifieds, asphalt Late Models DIRT Super Late Models, and made several starts in the NASCAR Busch East Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Competed at many short tracks including NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hampton, Va., Southampton, Va. Is project manager for a condominium developer. 2007: Advances to NASCAR Busch East Series with Warrington Motorsports.
• Joey Logano: Started racing in 1996 and has driven Quarter Midgets (three-time champion), Bandoleros (national championship), Legends, Allison Legacy cars, Late Models, USAR series, NASCAR Whelen Modifieds. Joined Joe Gibbs Racing as development driver in 2005. 2007: Advances with JGR to new NASCAR Busch East Series team. High school junior.
• James Pritchard Jr.: Started racing go-karts in 1996 and moved onto Motocross racing in 2002. Began racing in Street Stocks at local tracks in 2004. Between 2004 and 2006, served as crew chief and tire changer for father’s NASCAR Busch East Series team (2006 drivers included Aaron Fike, Don Wagner and Mark Durgin). 2007: Becomes driver for Jim Pritchard Motorsports NASCAR Busch East Series team. Freshman at County College of Morris in Randolph, N.J., majoring in engineering.
• Michelle Theriault: Started racing in 1992 in Quarter Midgets. Advanced through Legends cars, Pro Late Models, Super Late Models, and USAR. Competed in one NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race in 2005. Competed in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Lanier National Speedway in Gainseville, Ga. Has competed in ARCA RE/MAX SuperCar Series. 2007: With her sponsor, Glock, joins veteran NASCAR Busch East Series team owned by Jeff Spraker and fielded by Spraker Racing of Mooresville, N.C. She is a National Honor Society high school graduate and takes courses at UNCC.
NEWS & NOTES
• Attention rookies: 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award applications are available at www.nascarmembers.com. A record number of rookies are expected to compete in the NASCAR Busch East Series in 2007. Rookie of the Year Applications, agreements, and eligibility requirements for all regional series appear in the NASCAR Regional Racing section of the site, along with the addresses to which they can be mailed. A NASCAR license is required to access the site.