The Backstretch Blog: Rookie of the Year

When was the last time winning the Rookie of the year in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series actually meant something? Think about it...Stephen Leicht, Andy Lally, Kevin Conway?

But this season's rookie of the year competition promises, at least on paper to be different. You have the two time defending Nationwide Series Champion and that series most popular driver.

"There hasn't been much talk of a rookie of the year battle over the past few years," said Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Stenhouse is that two time Nationwide Series Champ and will battle with Danica Patrick for Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year this season. "When I was in Nationwide, there were four or five guys running for Rookie of the Year and that was really fun. It meant something to win that it was very special."

Adding intreague to the intrest in this years ROY race, are the rumors swirling around the garage about Stenhouse and Patrick off the track relationship. Friday they confirmed they are a couple. Not that it matters all that much, but on track incidents could affect the off track relationship.

"Obviously our friendship is great," Stenhouse told me on Thursday, before their status as a couple went public. "Who knows what it will be like when it is coming down to the wire. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Monday while chatting with reporters on the Sprint Cup Media Tour, Patrick said basically the same.

“That’s really interesting,” Patrick said. “Both of us are running for rookie of the year and both of us want that. I don’t see any reason why it would change.

“He was always very generous with information about how to drive the Nationwide car, certain tips. We’re good friends. It’s not really a rivalry.”

Maybe not, but it will be interesting. Because at the end of the day, they are both racers, both want to win. But only one can.

"We're ready to go out there and win it," said Stenhouse. "And that's our plan."

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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