SOUTH BOSTON, Va. – In the most competitive rookie class to compete in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway in many seasons teenager Jacob Borst emerged at the top of the class and captured the division’s Rookie of the Year Award.
The young Elon, N.C., resident scored his first career win in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division, won two pole awards for the fastest qualifier, logged a dozen Top-Five finishes, finished in the Top 10 in 14 of his 17 starts and finished as the runner-up to track champion Peyton Sellers in the final division point standings.
He did all of that while competing against fellow rookies Landon Pembelton, who also captured a win and logged eight Top-Five finishes in 12 starts, Camden Gullie and Carter Langley. Gullie finished third in the final division point standings, Pembelton finished fifth despite not competing at South Boston Speedway for the full season and Langley finished sixth in the final division tally.
“It’s a big honor, and it feels really good to be the top rookie,” Borst said. “Competing at one of the most well-known short tracks on the east coast and being a rookie in Late Model, it’s a good reward. Winning Rookie of the Year is something everybody wants to do as a rookie, and you get only one chance to do it.”
Borst had no idea when the 2021 season began that he would emerge as South Boston Speedway’s top rookie.
“Coming in, I knew it would be hard to do it, but I also knew we could do it,” Borst remarked. “I knew there would be a bunch of good rookies here. We had Carter Langley, Camden Gullie, and Landon Pembelton and myself competing for it. All of us are coming up at about the same time, and we’re all just as good as each other and we all have very good equipment. It’s all been about where we could put ourselves, track position and luck.”
Heading into the 2021 season Borst knew he and his team could do well but didn’t think his results would be as good as they were.
“Our goal this year was to get a couple of top-three finishes and keep the car in one piece,” Borst explained. “To come into South Boston Speedway and do this well we achieved over our goal. We’re all really proud of that and are looking forward to next season.”
Borst moved up to the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division after a successful 2019 season in which he finished third in the South Boston Speedway Limited Sportsman Division points chase with three wins and five poles. With most tracks, including South Boston Speedway, being idle in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Borst got his real start in Late Model Stock Car Division competition in 2021.
While Borst had a successful rookie season, the 2021 season was a big learning season.
“In 2019 I was in the Limited Sportsman Division and was racing against Danny Willis Jr. for wins and poles,” Borst pointed out. “I learned a lot from racing him that season, and that has helped me a lot this year. I came into this season with a little bit of experience, but you can learn a lot in just one race racing against Peyton Sellers and all the experienced guys in the Late Model Stock Car Division. They will do something to you, and you learn how to do that, and you use that. You learn how to get around here a lot better, learn all the little tricks. You learn a lot and you hope one day you will be as good as they are.”
Winning races is a goal of every driver. Borst was fortunate enough to earn a victory in his first season of competition in the highly competitive NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division.
“We were looking to win, but we knew it would be really hard,” Borst said. “We didn’t know if we would be able to get a win this season. The thing is every single driver is so good, all of our equipment is about the same and it’s about whoever has the best luck.
“Luck went our way,” he added. “When we won that one race everything played out in our favor. That win gave us a bunch of confidence that we could win a race going into the rest of the season.”
One of the things that makes Borst’s accomplishments during the 2021 season special is that his small family-owned race team grew in confidence and ability with each race.
“We’re just a small team,” Borst noted. “We work in our back yard. We’re fortunate to be able to come out here and have fun. We worked really hard and tried our best. We gained more ground each race, learned more, and gained more experience with the car. As the year went on, we got better and better. It’s a lot more rewarding when you win, and you have a small team compared to some of the other guys.”