As drivers move up in the ranks or a veteran driver retires and leaves a spot open, it gets filled in one of two way – another drivers from the same series takes over the car or a new driver comes into the series to fill the spot.

Each year the official NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco presents the Rookie of the Year award to a new driver for the best performance at the end of the season.  When the season officially begins next week, a total of eleven drivers across all three of the racing series will be eligible for the Rookie of the Year honours.

While all three are veterans of NASCAR racing, Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, and Todd Gilliland are eligible for Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series.  Last season Cindric and Burton were full time drivers in the Xfinity Series; while Gilliland was a Camping World Truck Series regular.  Cindric is the 2020 Xfinity Series champion.

Driving the iconic Wood Brothers number 21 car, Harrison Burton is the youngest full time driver in the Cup Series at 21 years of age.

The son of retired driver David Gilliland, Todd Gilliland bypasses the Xfinity Series and jumps to the Cup Series to become team mates with the 2021 Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell.

Former Camping World Truck Series drivers Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill have made the move up to the Xfinity Series and will complete with new full time driver Jesse Iwuji for the Rookie of the Year honours. 

Iwuji announced earlier this week that he has partnered with NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to for Jesse Iwuji Motorsports where he will drive the number 34 car.

In the Camping World Truck Series a total of five drivers will compete for the Rookie of the Year honours when Jack Wood, Dean Thompson, Lawless Alan, Corey Heim, and Blaine Perkins drive full time this season.

The action begins on February 16 with pole qualifying in the Cup Series for the Daytona 500.