HOMESTEAD, Fla. — A 14th-place finish Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway was enough for ThorSport Racing’s Myatt Snider to wrap up Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Snider, who waged a season-long duel with 18-year-old Todd Gilliland for the rookie crown, entered the season finale with a 22-point advantage and kept Gilliland in his sights all night.
The pair ended up finishing nose-to-tail, one lap down to the leaders, with Snider trailing Gilliland across the finish line at the end of the Ford EcoBoost 200 but taking home the prize he hoped to earn all year long.
“We didn’t start off with the strongest truck by far. I was really, really loose and I couldn’t really go anywhere with it, but the guys from ThorSport made some awesome adjustments and wholesale changes and got it to where I could really drive it,” Snider said. “I went from struggling to running around 18th to catching guys in the top 10 while running 13th. We definitely gained some spots and it was a really good team night for us adjusting like that.
“I think it what we did tonight bodes well for next season and I’m proud of this crew for giving me such a good Tenda/Louisiana Hot Sauce Ford F-150.”
Snider noted that winning rookie of the year was made more meaningful because of the fact that he was able to battle with and best a highly-touted team like Gilliland and Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“It’s extremely rewarding,” Snider told SPEED SPORT. “During the summer, there were a lot of times where we were just kind of figuring things out, especially just little ins and outs that we needed to get better as a team, and we’ve really improved upon a bunch of stuff.
“I think that culminated in the fall stretch of the races with Talladega, Martinsville and Vegas … that run of sixth, second and third that we were able to go on,” Snider continued. “We’ve had a lot of speed that just sometimes hasn’t shown because of us maybe having some teething problems, but for where we started and where we are now, I think it’s quite an improvement that we’ve made and I’m just really proud of everybody for working so hard at it.”
Snider ended the season with a record of three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 23 starts, which propelled him to ninth in the standings, best among the drivers who failed to make the playoffs.
He noted that several points through the year stuck out to him as he began to reflect on his journey.
“Man, there’s just so much that I’ve learned, and we had some pretty close runs, too,” Snider said. “Not a lot of people noticed, but some of the early runs we had in the season were really good, like we had some insane speed at the first (Las) Vegas race. We passed Kyle Busch in the second stage for P2 and then ran sixth in Martinsville. Not all the results quite showed, but I think that was just kind of showing what the raw potential of this team was.
“I’ll definitely take away some of those runs and everything that we’ve improved on as a team. That really sticks out to me.”
Snider acknowledged his plan is to return to ThorSport Racing next season.
“That’s still the ultimate goal,” Snider noted. “We have such a synergy with me and Rich Lushes that I think it’s the smartest move personally to stick with that and see what we can do next year as a non‑rookie.
“I think we’ll honestly be running for a championship next year if we do run.”