DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trey Hutchens was destined to be involved in racing. Being the son of one of the most respected team engineers in NASCAR can have its pluses and minuses, but the 17 year-old is making a name for himself just fine in NASCAR’s regional touring series.
Hutchens has added another award to his young resume – 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The second generation driver just completed his first full season driving a modified and finished a respectable 11th-place in the standings with a pair of top-10s in eight starts. He also competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015 with two top-10 finishes in six starts.
“We had a good year but obviously we wanted to have some more top-10 finishes,” Hutchens said. “Driving a modified for the first time is a pretty steep learning curve. I was pleased with the progress that I made this year – especially since I was racing against a lot of guys who have been doing this 20 years or more.”
On driving both series during the season, Hutchens is happy for the opportunity but wishes he could have competed even more.
“Driving styles in a K&N car versus a modified are night and day,” Hutchens said. “The one thing that I feel helped me was after having a good run in one type of car, I was able to carry that over to the other car.”
One of the more impressive runs Hutchens had this season came in his second career start in the modified.
After suffering major damage to his car in a practice crash prevented him from competing in the season opener at Caraway Speedway, the second generation driver rebounded to finish 14th at the same track two weeks later. He then scored his first top-10 finish at South Boston Speedway the following week.
‘We had a part failure at Caraway and that’s certainly not how we wanted to start our season,” Hutchens said. “We rebounded and kept learning every race and kept getting better. I think our top-10 finish at South Boston reinforced to me that I could compete in this division.”
His father, Bobby Hutchens, has also raced throughout his career in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tours. While he has an established career on and off the track, the younger Hutchens doesn’t let that put any pressure on him to perform.
“Having my dad help me is a great benefit and in my opinion, he’s one of the best there has ever been to do what he has done on both ends as a driver and crew chief,” Hutchens said. “While he’s a big help he’s also my best friend and I really enjoy working and learning from him.”
For Bobby Hutchens, this year was a special one.
“I’m really proud of Trey and how hard he’s worked to get better as a race car driver,” Bobby Hutchens said. “I think we hit on something that fits his driving style over the final three races of the season and feel we can carry that over to next year as well.”
The 17-year old senior at North Davidson High School isn’t one to brag on himself but he’s also finding success in the classroom as well as the race track. He is currently at the top of his senior class and was recently elected class president.
“Trey comes home and works on his homework for hours every night and he even puts together all of his own sponsorship proposals and works to find sponsors to race,” Bobby Hutchens said. “I’m so happy for all of his accomplishments.”
The younger Hutchens also plans on following his dad’s footsteps and attend North Carolina State University and major in engineering.
“I want to keep racing and work my way up in NASCAR,” Trey Hutchens said. “I want to learn as much as I can about the engineering side of racing which will only make me a better race car driver.”
The teenager is the fourth generation of Hutchens to be involved in racing as his great grandfather, Claude, and grandfather, Bud, both owned cars at historic Bowman Gray Stadium. His dad has currently works at JTG Daugherty Racing.
“I just want to thank NASCAR and Sunoco for the Rookie of the Year Award and also Hoosier Tire for the Most Improved Team of the Race Award,” Trey Hutchens said. “I’ve been lucky to have a dad who’s helped me so much and I just want to do a good job for him.”
Judging by the caliber of person he’s become – those probably won’t be the only awards Hutchens will win in his career – on and off the track.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR