NASCAR’s future was front and center Monday night as four champions in two national series were crowned.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 24 and Austin Dillon, 21, officially were proclaimed champions of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively, on the Americana Ballroom stage at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
Both were honored with their first NASCAR national series titles. Each became champion in the season following a rookie-of-the-year performance. Dillon becomes the youngest champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ 17-year history. Both champions won twice during the 2011 season.
Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 60 Ford Mustang won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner Championship, as driver Carl Edwards won eight times. The title is the second in the series for Jack Roush, his previous owner championship coming in 2002. It also marked the first time that the same owner claimed both the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and owner titles with different teams.
Kevin Harvick Inc. claimed its third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Championship. DeLana Harvick’s No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado posted seven victories with three different drivers in adding to KHI’s owner titles from 2007 and 2009.
Timmy Hill, an 18-year-old Maryland competitor, won NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors by a single point, tying the series’ closest decision for that award. Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Joey Coulter, 21, won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, the second time the same organization claimed both championship and rookie laurels.
Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Aric Almirola and Reed Sorenson finished second through fifth in the championship standings and were honored along with Stenhouse in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Johnny Sauter, James Buescher, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Timothy Peters were second through fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final points and joined Dillon on stage.
After a fan vote on NASCAR.com, in which more than 215,000 combined votes were cast, each series’ Most Popular Driver was revealed. Sadler and Dillon were chosen by the fans in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively. Each was honored for the first time.
SPEED’s Rick Allen and Krista Voda hosted the event, which will air on Dec. 2 from 7-9 p.m. ET on SPEED, prior to the live telecast of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony from Las Vegas.