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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Purdy nabbed his second consecutive NASCAR Rookie of the Year title.
The 17-year-old has clinched the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year title, one year after receiving the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year honor.
“It’s pretty cool getting the title for the second year,” said the Meridian, Mississippi, native. “We’ve had a good year and while we haven’t won yet we’re getting closer.”
Purdy leads Rev Racing's Chase Cabre by 11 points (111-100) with one race remaining. Rookies are scored in relation to their finish with other rookies, with the Sunoco Rookie of the Race receiving 10 points, second getting nine and so on.
The NASCAR Next driver entered the season with the goal of earning the highly sought-after rookie title. Now that he’s accomplished it, he has a new goal.
“While we’ve had a good season, we still want our first victory, but we’ve been close,” Purdy said. “That’s what we’re looking for headed into Dover. Clinching the title had taken a little bit of pressure off, so hopefully we can get it done.”
Despite not getting to Victory Lane yet, the David Gilliland Racing driver has had quite the successful season. He sits third in the K&N Pro Series East championship standings with five top fives and eight top 10s. He also earned four consecutive poles from June to July to become the third driver to do so, joining Andy Santerre (1996), Tom Carey Jr. (1999) and Martin Truex Jr. (2002).
“I entered the season not really knowing what to expect,” said Purdy. “I had never raced a car this big before and I had to adapt. After the fourth or fifth race of season, I got the hang of it and started to feel comfortable. Some bad luck affected us and took us out of the running for the championship. But overall I had fun and learned a lot.”
With his rookie season coming to an end next weekend at Delaware’s Dover International Speedway in the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 125 presented by Carl Deputy & Son Builders, Purdy has many people to thank for his successful rookie campaign.
“This year wouldn’t have been successful without Bama Buggies and Textron Off Road,” said the Sunoco Rookie of the Year. “I also have to thank my grandparents, mom and dad, David Gilliland Racing.”