Heading into the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, Dawsonville, Georgia’s Spencer Davis and the North Carolina-based No. 79 Hillbilly Racing Team had one goal in mind – win the 2014 NWSMT Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
Monday, after awaiting a check of the rookie standings by NASCAR officials following the October 9 season finale, the 15-year-old Davis officially became the youngest driver to ever earn the Rookie of the Year honors in a NASCAR Modified division.
“It means a lot for sure,” said Davis of officially being crowned the NWSMT Rookie of the Year. ““It was our main goal this year to win the Rookie of the Year. It would have been even sweeter if we could have got a win and Rookie of the Year, but we worked hard and accomplished our goal.”
In his rookie season, Davis scored seven top-10 and two top-five finishes on his way to finishing eighth in the final NWMST standings while competing against the best Modified drivers in the region.
Despite a few minor setbacks during the 14-race season, Davis and the David Hill-owned Hillbilly Racing Team displayed a ‘never give up’ attitude on the way to accomplishing their ultimate goal.
“There about two races ago you could almost feel it slipping away with the luck that we had, but we continued to work hard and found lady luck at Caraway, which helped us strengthen our lead,” said Davis. “You can only go for (Rookie of the Year) once and we succeeded at it. At the end of the day, it will be a great thing to add to my resume.”
For Davis, the 2014 season was his first in the driver’s seat of open-wheel race car. He had experienced previous success in the Pro Late Model ranks, but the transition from full-fendered to open-wheel racecars would be a big adjustment for any driver. He made strides starting in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Modified division during February Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, then continued his development in the NASCAR Tour all season long.
“It’s definitely been a long journey,” said Davis. “We started at New Smyrna and finished inside the top-10 every night. We’ve definitely come a long way. We went from just trying to finish inside the top-10 to where David (Hill) and I feel like we’re a team capable of winning races. It definitely showed when we went up north by scoring top-10’s when we went up there.”
With the Rookie of the Year title in hand, Davis will now focus his sights on getting his first Modified victory. Whether it comes in his remaining unsactioned Modified events to come this season or in 2015, when he returns to the seat of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79, Davis will be eyeing continued Modified success.
“We know for sure we’re going to be together next year,” said Davis. “The relationship with me and Mr. David (Hill) is really strong. We won the Rookie of the Year and we know we can run really well everywhere we go. We feel like, even with just one year in a Modified, that we’re a championship-winning team.”
Davis will return to his full-fendered roots for his next race, the November 1 All-American 400 Pro Late Model event at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in Tennessee. On the Modified side, Davis and the Hillbilly Racing team are also making plans to compete in the November 28-29 Turkey Derby event at Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey.
For more information on Spencer Davis, follow him on Twitter at @SpencerDavis_29 and visit www.spencer-davis.net.
– 51 Sports/Spencer Davis press release.
– Photo credit: Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com