Three young drivers put together impressive rookie seasons on the ARCA Menards Series platform in 2022 — so impressive that they’re being recognized as the winners of the Bounty Rookie Challenge.
The Bounty Rookie Challenge represents the rookie of the year award on the ARCA Menards platform, with one winner awarded for each of the three series. Unlike overall championship points, rookie points in the ARCA Menards Series are awarded strictly on a driver’s finishing position in each race.
Each ARCA Menards division, the ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, awards an overall Bounty Rookie Challenge award at the end of the season.
Below are the winners for all three series.
ARCA Menards Series Bounty Rookie of the Year: Daniel Dye
It wasn’t the season Daniel Dye was hoping for, but his first full year in the ARCA Menards Series was still impressive.
Dye, driving the No. 43 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, finished second in the overall ARCA Menards Series standings and was able to lay claim to the ARCA Menards Series Bounty Rookie of the Year Award.
The 18-year-old from DeLand, Florida, was incredibly consistent throughout the 2022 campaign. In 20 ARCA Menards Series starts, Dye finished inside the top five 13 times and scored 17 top-10 finishes. He failed to win a race, with his best finish of the season coming in the second race of the year at Phoenix Raceway, where he finished second.
In addition, Dye scored one pole at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, and led 226 laps throughout the year.
He was in contention for the ARCA Menards Series championship all the way up to the final race of the year at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway and looked to be in position to claim the championship before a mechanical failure sent him to the pits for an extended period of time, ending his hopes of claiming the series championship.
His strong season in the ARCA Menards Series has led to a promotion for 2023, as Dye will stay with GMS Racing to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
ARCA Menards Series East Bounty Rookie of the Year: Leland Honeyman Jr.
In a season that was dominated by eventual ARCA Menards Series East champion Sammy Smith, Leland Honeyman Jr. was able to put together a solid rookie campaign aboard the No. 02 Chevrolet for Young’s Motorsports.
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, the 17-year-old Honeyman ended the year ranked third in the ARCA Menards Series East standings behind Smith and Taylor Gray. That was more than enough for Honeyman to secure the ARCA Menards Series East Bounty Rookie of the Year Award.
In seven ARCA Menards Series East starts this season, Honeyman earned three top-five and five top-10 finishes. His best performance of the season came in the second race of the year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
During that event, Honeyman claimed the pole and led 27 laps on his way to a runner-up finish behind Smith. He also earned finishes of fourth at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway and fifth at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
In addition to his rookie ARCA Menards Series East season, Honeyman also made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in 2022. Also competing for Young’s Motorsports, Honeyman finished 29th in his debut at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 15.
ARCA Menards Series West Bounty Rookie of the Year: Tanner Reif
While Tanner Reif didn’t have the same caliber season that his Sunrise Ford Racing teammate Jake Drew enjoyed, it was still a breakout year for the rookie ARCA Menards Series West competitor.
Reif, from Las Vegas, Nevada, convincingly laid claim to the ARCA Menards Series West Bounty Rookie of the Year Award thanks to a strong season that included multiple victories across 11 races.
The 17-year-old earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season, with victories coming in the second race of the year at California’s Irwindale Speedway and the seventh round of the season at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington.
His victory at Irwindale was particularly impressive, as Reif won the pole and led every lap on his way to his maiden ARCA Menards Series West victory.
In all, Reif scored two poles and led 179 laps throughout the season. His average finish of 7.1 was tied for third among drivers who contested every ARCA Menards Series West event.
His impressive performances throughout the year allowed Reif to finish the year second in the ARCA Menards Series West standings, 53 points behind Drew, to give Sunrise Ford Racing a sweep of the top two positions in the driver standings.