Obtaining a sponsorship for a NASCAR Sprint Cup team is getting harder and harder each year, so it was no surprise when Sunoco announced only one driver would be eligible for the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award.
Andy Lally, the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, refused to apologize.
“It was also as horribly frustrating as I knew it would be, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to work so hard in my life to make such tiny gains on something. It made even the smallest achievements incredibly satisfying and I’m so grateful to be given the chance.”
In his acceptance speech during NASCAR Champions Week in Las Vegas, Lally said he had dreamed about coming into NASCAR since he was little. He went on to say, “ I didn’t think I would get the chance. But I’m a lucky guy. I’m fortunate to get to race in a series that’s been a childhood dream, and it was as awesome and challenging as I knew it would be.
Lally, who was only in NASCAR for one year, definitely let a lasting impression on his fans. He wasn’t like the other 42 drivers on the track. He tweeted with every fan who would talk to him on Twitter, and he always thanked you for being a fan of his.
For the 2011 Sprint Cup season, he teamed up with TRG Motorsports to drive the No. 71 Ford Fusion. His best finish in 30 starts was a 19th place finish at Talladega in the sprint, while his average finish was 30.8.
After failing to qualify for the second to last race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway, he was replaced at Homestaed by Mike Bliss. The move would led to his departure from TRG Motorsports.
Next year, Lally will return to the Grand-Am series, where he will drive for Magnus Racing. He has not pushed NASCAR aside, as he may race the road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.