After a successful debut NHRA season, Pro Stock Motorcycle standout Chase Van Sant has been named the 2023 NHRA Rookie of the Year in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
The four other NHRA pros eligible for the award were Top Fuel driver Dan Mercier, as well as Pro Stock competitors David Cuadra, Eric Latino and Jerry Tucker. The NHRA Rookie of the Year award honors a first-year standout competitor within the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series ranks.
“The 2023 season was a great rookie year for us,” Van Sant said. “We went to four semifinals this season and I’m really proud of the work we did. I think we’re just getting started. I’d like to thank my family for getting me into racing and the whole White Alligator Racing team for giving me the opportunity.”
Van Sant made his Pro Stock Motorcycle debut in Gainesville at the NHRA Gatornationals, advancing to the semifinals. It was the first of his four semifinal appearances that combined with four quarterfinal finishes allowed Van Sant to finish the season ninth in points. By advancing to the semifinals during the regular season, he was able to compete in the new Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.
Canadian Top Fuel driver Dan Mercier qualified for seven national events, including the Norwalk race where he picked up a round win over Top Fuel champion Doug Kalitta.
Pro Stock drivers Cuadra, Latino and Tucker also took to the track in the very competitive class.
Cuadra joined his family, which includes father Fernando Sr. and brothers Fernando Jr. and Cristian, as competitors in the class. Cuadra made his Pro Stock debut at the Four-Wide race in Charlotte where he joined his family in a four-wide “Cuadra-Quad.”
Latino, hailing from Port Perry, Ontario, drives for the KB Titan Racing juggernaut and is also a co-owner of the team. Latino made his NHRA Pro Stock debut in Norwalk this season and qualified for six NHRA races.
Tucker competes for Pro Stock giant Elite Motorsports. He qualified for all 2023 Pro Stock events this season while advancing to a semifinal and four quarterfinals, picking up round wins over Pro Stock stars Erica Enders, Bo Butner and Troy Coughlin Jr.
Last season, Camrie Caruso was named the 2022 Rookie of the Year. Other recent winners include Pro Stock’s Dallas Glenn in 2021, and Top Fuel drivers Justin Ashley in 2020 and Austin Prock in 2019.
The NHRA Rookie of the Year award recognizes the top rookie competitor who also represents the future of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. The nation’s leading auto racing journalists select the winner through a voting system based on the following criteria: number of events competed in, performance on and off the racetrack, participation in NHRA promotions, and relationships with fans, sponsors, and media.