(TOLEDO, Ohio - December 3, 2012) - Scoring the top rookie result in each of the last four races of the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season helped Alex Bowman land Team Messina Rookie Challenge honors, which he will officially accept at the series' Championship Awards Banquet Saturday night.
Bowman, 19 and of Tucson, Ariz., is ARCA's Rookie of the Year for 2012 after a season in which he tied for the series lead in wins with four and also had 11 top-fives and 13 top-10 finishes. The Cunningham Motorsports driver won races at Salem, Winchester, Iowa, and Kansas, and also won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell six times, a series high.
Cunningham has won top rookie honors in three of the last four years, with Parker Kligerman in 2009 and Dakoda Armstrong in 2010 preceding Bowman.
The highest-finishing registered rookie in any race earns 30 points in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge, with the second rookie earning 28, the third 26, the fourth 24, and so on by subtracting two points per driver until all rookies are counted.
Each registered driver's best 15 rookie point results are added together to tabulate the final official total. The Rookie of the Year program is sponsored by Messina Wildlife Management; the cars of all rookie competitors in the series carry the Team Messina Rookie Challenge rear bumper stripes for every event.
Bowman was the top-finishing registrant in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge in 10 of 19 races this year. Though Brennan Poole had more rookie points when all 19 races were counted, Bowman holds the lead in adjusted points. He outscored Poole 428-424 over each driver's best 15.
Rookie Scoring Breakdown:
Over 19 races: Poole 494 points, Bowman 486 (on 30-28-26-24... scale for registered rookies)
Over best 15 races: Bowman 428 points (30 - 10 times, 28 - 2, 24 - 3); Poole 424 (30 - 5, 28 - 8, 26 - 1, 24 - 1)
Removed races: Poole - Michigan (22 points), Springfield (20), Toledo (16), Iowa (12); Bowman - Elko (24 points), Daytona (14), Lucas Oil at Indianapolis (14), Talladega (6)
James D. Messina, vice president of the sponsoring company, will present the $10,000 award to Bowman Saturday. The Rookie of the Year Award is unique among ARCA's special awards in that a special code of conduct is required of potential winners.
Matt Lofton finished third in the rookie standings, followed by Ryan Reed and Spencer Gallagher. In addition to Bowman and Poole, Lofton, Drew Charlson, Will Kimmel, and Brandon McReynolds all won the top rookie award at one race apiece.
Champion Chris Buescher, other top series drivers and special award winners, and key ARCA figures will be honored in the series' first postseason trip to Indianapolis. The ARCA Racing Series Championship Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday, December 8 at the Indiana Convention Center's Sagamore Ballroom in Indianapolis, Indiana, in conjunction with the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS).
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned 30 ARCA national champions in 60 seasons since 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 26 states since its inception. The series has tested the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, visiting tracks ranging from 0.375 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course in its most recent season. This year, the series visited Alabama's Mobile International Speedway and Minnesota's Elko Speedway for the first time. Next season, ARCA will appear for the first time at Road America in Wisconsin.
Founded by John and Mildred Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in four professional touring series and local weekly events.