Baize Wins Sunoco Rookie of the Year

Tops Dippel and Davis For K&N East Honors

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Hunter Baize closed out his rookie campaign with a bang, winning the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

Baize became the fourth consecutive HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks driver to win the award.

The 19-year old beat teammate Tyler Dippel by seven points (90-83) and Spencer Davis by 11 points to take home the prestigious title.

“It feels great to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award,” the Bremen, Kentucky, native said. “The competition in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year was really good. I had to battle Tyler and Spencer for the title, but the entire rookie class, like Harrison Burton and Dominique Van Wieringen, was really talented.”

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner earned one top five and 10 top 10 finishes en route to a fourth-place finish in the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East final standings.

“We had a good year,” said Baize. “I felt like I was pretty consistent, showed good speed and overcame issues. HScott and my team always gave me a good car and equipment, we just had some bad luck. But I always felt like we could go out there and be competitive.”

The 2016 season saw 31 talented young drivers competing for the elite rookie title in the K&N Pro Series East.

Rookies accounted for five wins, with Austin Cindric, Spencer Davis, Tyler Dippel and Todd Gilliland all visiting Victory Lane throughout the year.

Baize took home his career-best K&N Pro Series East finish, fifth, at Iowa Speedway in July.

The highest finishing rookie in a race receives 10 points, second receives nine, third gets eight and so on.

Earning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the K&N Pro Series East has gone a long way toward advancing a driver’s career in recent seasons. Starting with Logano in 2007, every Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the series have gone on to compete in NASCAR’s national series, including five drivers – Logano, Austin Dillon (2008), Alex Bowman (2011) and Larson who are full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well as last year’s winner William Byron who is contending for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship and will pilot a car for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season.

“It’s a great honor to win this award,” Baize said. “Midway through the season we saw it was possible to win it and we set out to get it. It’s a huge accomplishment.”

Baize will be formally recognized as the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Sources: Brooke Franceschini, NASCAR


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