A veteran dirt racer like Granby, Quebec, native Steve Bernier does not exactly fit the typical narrative associated with a NASCAR rookie.
Autodrome Granby and RPM Speedway falling under NASCAR sanctioning this year enabled Bernier to compete in the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series for the first time. Bernier made the most of the opportunity by winning the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Rookie of the Year presented by Jostens following efficient seasons at both tracks.
In a competitive Modified class at Granby and RPM, Bernier was one of the few to separate himself from the competition. He ended up tallying eight victories and 20 top fives between the facilities, which enabled him to finish fourth in the Weekly Series Division I national standings behind Layne Riggs, Peyton Sellers and Craig Von Dohren.
RPM is where Bernier found most of his success in 2022, as he ended up claiming the track championship with a comfortable, 19-point advantage over David Hebert, who ended up denying Bernier his third title at Granby by just two points.
The stellar campaigns Bernier put together at Granby and RPM enabled him to join a notable list of drivers who have won Weekly Series Rookie of the Year honors that includes last year’s recipient in Gunner Martin, as well as Travis Braden and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Chase Purdy.
Outside of the local shows at Granby and RPM, Bernier’s career has seen him compete in numerous high-profile dirt races across Canada and the United States. Among his accomplishments include two DIRTcar Sportsman Series wins in 2013, as well as titles in the DIRTCar 358-Modified Starter Series and the Series Canadienne Side Panel.
Bernier was not the only rookie to be recognized by NASCAR for efficiency in 2022, as the sanctioning body handed out Rookie of the Year honors to the best newcomer in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and West, respectively.
Below is the complete list of NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Regional Rookie of the Year recipients.
- Midwest Rookie of the Year: Bryce Blohm
In his debut season competing in Division I of the Weekly Series, Blohm started in every race at Elko Speedway. In 23 features, he tallied one victory to go along with seven top-10 performances against drivers like 2019 Weekly Series champion Jacob Goede.
- Northeast Rookie of the Year: David Hebert
Like the driver he defeated for the Autodrome Granby title this year, Hebert is anything but an inexperienced competitor. Between Granby and RPM, Hebert visited Victory Lane on seven different occasions to claim the Northeast Rookie of the Year award.
- Southeast Rookie of the Year: Junior Snow
For most of the 2022 season, Snow was merely a witness to the intense championship battle at Bowman Gray Stadium between Tim Brown and Brandon Ward. Despite this, Snow still managed to score a victory in his rookie campaign and claim three top fives.
- West Rookie of the Year: Caity Miller
Miller spent her first season in the Weekly Series’ top division splitting time between Meridian Speedway and Magic Valley Speedway in Idaho. She stood out in Meridian’s Modified division by tallying four top fives, including three runner-up finishes.