Season review: Boston uses late-season surge to wrap up SCOTT Rookie Challenge

(TOLEDO, Ohio – Oct. 19, 2013) – Justin Boston became the first Venturini Motorsports driver since Bill Venturini himself to capture the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards SCOTT Rookie Challenge award this season, surging ahead of challenger Mason Mingus with a flurry of late-season top-10 finishes.

Boston made his ARCA Racing Series debut this season, driving the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota for Venturini Motorsports. After a rough start at Daytona International Speedway, Boston became more and more acclimated to the series. He won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell at Salem Speedway, finished fourth at Toledo, Elko and Michigan International Speedway and then rung up a string of successes that allowed him to pass Mingus for the SCOTT Rookie Challenge points lead.

“It’s a huge honor to sit here tonight as the series’ top rookie,” Boston said after the series finale at Kansas Speedway. “I can’t thank ZLOOP and Venturini Motorsports enough to justify what this means to me as a driver. This was my first full season racing in a stock car and to come home with the Rookie of the Year title is just icing on the cake for an unforgettable debut season in stock car racing.”

Boston, 24, is Baltimore, Maryland native.

The SCOTT Rookie Challenge is both a per-race and cumulative season award. Drivers competed to be the rookie of the race and the accompanying cash bonus in the ARCA Racing Series. Plus, first year ARCA competitors competed for a year-end SCOTT Rookie Challenge bonus of $10,000. The award is then given to the driver considered to be a positive example of demeanor, conduct, character and code of ethics to best represent the series at the banquet in December.

Mingus, who finished second in the overall point standings in the 811 Call Before You Dig Toyota for Win-Tron Racing, had a spectacular season in his own right, with 18 top 10 finishes, including two three runner-up finishes.

The key to his overtaking Mingus in the standings was Boston’s string of success during a seven week period between Winchester and Iowa. Boston scored seven top-10’s during that streak, including third place runs at Pocono and DuQuoin and his season-best second place at Madison. He was fifth and third in his first two races on dirt.

“We couldn’t be happier with the way Justin matured throughout the year,” said Billy Venturini. “He is very possibly the most raw rookie we’ve ever had come through our program and for him to accomplish this is a gigantic feat. I expect for him to be a serious contender for the 2014 championship title. We are very grateful that we are able to supply him with such solid Toyota Camry’s week in and week out and a big part of that success comes from Joe Gibbs Racing Engines.”

Boston’s fifth-place finish at Kansas sealed his being atop the final rookie point standings. 

“It’s a big deal for everybody,” he said. “It means a lot.”

Last season, Alex Bowman edged Brennan Poole by four points in the rookie chase, winning the season finale at Kansas Speedway to secure the rookie of the year award. Bowman is competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season.

Drivers like Benny Parsons, the late Davey Allison, Frank Kimmel and Bobby Gerhart are past ARCA rookies of the year who went on to successful stock car careers. Bill Venturini won the award in 1983 and has gone on to build Venturini Motorsports into a successful driver development team. Venturini Motorsports had cars that finished second, fourth, seventh and 10th in the ARCA Racing Series this past season.

This article is one in a series recapping the 2013 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.