NASCAR announced today that Louis-Philippe Dumoulin has earned the 2011 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Rookie of the Year Award after a heated battle with several rookies over the final few races of the campaign.
Dumoulin, out of Trois-Rivieres, Que., was the top-finishing rookie on three occasions this season. His best finish on the season was a fourth-place effort on June 5 at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que. He also finished fifth on Aug. 7 on his hometown track – Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. All told, he logged four top-10 finishes in 2011 while finishing 13th in the final point standings.
Coming into the season, Dumoulin intended on competing in just the five road-course events on the 2011 calendar, but his performance in those events put him in position to win the rookie honor which led the road-course specialist to embark on the challenge of competing on the oval tracks relying on guidance from veteran series crew chiefs Victor Decker and Bill Burns. Burns helped guide Andrew Ranger to NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championships in 2007 and 2009.
"Our knowledge base for racing on ovals was pretty low, so we needed some help and got it from Vick Decker and Bill Burns," said Dumoulin, driver of the No. 47 Maskimo/Somavrac Dodge. "We couldn't have done it without them."
Over the final three races of the season – all on ovals – Dumoulin was able to hold off Isabelle Tremblay for the award while adapting to the new discipline.
"It was a great battle all the way to the end. (Tremblay) just had a little bad luck there at the end," said Dumoulin. "This is really a great honor. We're very proud to have accomplished it."
Tremblay finished as the runner-up in the rookie point standings followed by Noel Dowler in the third position.
Dumoulin, who also made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this season at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, joined his older brother, Jean-Francois, in participating in series events on Quebec road courses late in the 2009 season. The elder Dumoulin has competed in the series since its inception in 2007.
Past winners of this award include Jason White in 2008, Joey Hanssen in 2009 and Derek White a season ago.
Dumoulin along with NASCAR's other top Canadian performers will be honored at the NASCAR Canadian Recognition Reception on Friday, Oct. 21 at Toronto's Old Mill Inn while the official presentation of the 2011 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Rookie of the Year Award will take place at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Gala on Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center in the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex along with the top rookie drivers from NASCAR's other Developmental Series.