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Five Drivers to Compete for O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year in 2024

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BATAVIA, Ohio (May 10, 2024) – Five drivers have declared to compete for the title of O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2024: Brenden Smith, Carson Ferguson, Clay Harris, Cory Lawler, and Drake Troutman.

With O’Reilly Auto Parts returning as the title sponsor of the Rookie of the Year program in 2024, the driver to prevail will once again earn an industry high $20,000. In addition to their cash award, the Rookie of the Year will also receive product certificates from various product manufacturers – valued at an additional $10,000. Second and third place in the final Rookie of the Year standings will pay $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Brenden Smith, an 18-year-old residing in Dade City, Florida began his racing career in 2009 at just four years old. Following numerous kart victories, Smith made the step up to late models in 2017. Within a year, he’d already earned his first victory. Smith is looking forward to chasing his dream of competing on the national tour this season.

The elder of this year’s rookie class, Carson Ferguson is a 24-year-old from Lincolnton, North Carolina. Ferguson, who has fielded an entry in the regional spotlight with Paylor Motorsports for several years, filled the void left by Tim McCreadie who left the team in April. Ferguson is aware of the tall task ahead but is up for the challenge and recognizes the experience gained will be crucial to his future in the national scene.

22-year-old Clay Harris of Jupiter, Florida began racing karts locally at age five. After accumulating an impressive 422 karting victories and thirteen championships along the way, Harris made the move to late models in 2017. Clay earned five wins in his first fourteen starts and has continued to find success behind the wheel of late models and modifieds.

Cory Lawler is the son of Pennsylvania standout Pancho Lawler. The 22-year-old pilot of the iconic number 93 began his racing career at age eight in quarter midgets. After multiple championships in quarter midgets, Lawler moved up to 125cc micro springs then on to 600cc winged micros where he enjoyed much of the same success including numerous victories and track championships. From there, Lawler stepped into the late model ranks where he has competed alongside his father for the past several years. The father-son duo has now shifted their focus to finding success on the national scene in 2024 and beyond.

Like many of his fellow Rookie of the Year contenders, 18-year-old Drake Troutman of Hyndman, Pennsylvania began his career early in life, racing karts at age four. After stacking up over 50 kart victories, Troutman shifted to modifieds at age eleven. After adding a late model to the stable, Troutman has become a standout with over 50 modified and late model triumphs and multiple track championships on his resume.

Drivers battling for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year title in 2024 will pursue the entire Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule and see a scattering of racetracks for the very first time. This year’s schedule is composed of 63 events at 28 unique venues across 16 states spanning from January to October.

In addition to the increased awards to the Rookie of the Year, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will pay a $100 cash bonus to the highest finishing rookie driver in each feature event.

“We are excited to have a great group of drivers chasing the O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the year award in 2024. The sport is full of young and up and coming stars and we look forward to show casing their talents on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt series. Huge thanks to O’Rielly Auto Parts for sponsoring the program and offering the cash awards. Also want to thank all the sponsors of the series that will contribute additional product awards to the Rookie program,” stated Wayne castleberry, Corporate Sales and Marketing for Lucas Oil Motorsports.

Companies and manufacturers contributing product certificates to the 2024 O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year include: Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Earnhardt Technologies Group, Fast Shafts, FOX Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, MD3, Poske’s Performance Parts, Schoenfeld Headers, Slicker Graphics, Simpson Race Products, Strange Oval, Summit Racing Equipment, Swift Springs, Thermo-Tec, Wieland Metal Services, Wilwood Brakes, and PEM Racing.

For the latest news, results, championship standings and more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, please visit www.lucasdirt.com.

 

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