Well-earned rookie honor
BUTLER TWP — His father raced. Jarrett Rosencrance never did.
Until this year — and he made it count.
The 23-year-old Butler Township resident — in his first full year of drving a 305 Sprint car — won the International Motor Contest Association's (IMCA) National Rookie of the Year Award this season.
Rosencrance tallied 701 points on the year, winning a feature at Mercer Raceway Park and three heat races along the way, to edge out Austin Reed by one point for the rookie honor. There were 135 rookie drivers on the circuit.
“I wasn't really expecting this,” Rosencrance said. “But I was able to get on the track enough and did well enough. I run my own (landscaping) business, so I was available to travel a little bit.”
Rosencrance primarily followed the Allegheny Sprint Tour. Ironically, he lost out on that overall championship by a single point, tallying 690 to Stepen Cousins' 691.
“I guess it evened out,” Rosencrance said, laughing.
His father, David Rosencrance, raced a Pro Stock at Lernerville Speedway in the early 1990s. His best finish in points was 10th in 1997.
“Jarrett always had the bug to race a Sprint car,” his father said. “I told him in July of last year, if you're ever going to do it, now's the time to do it.”
Jarrett heeded his father's words.
“Two weeks later, we had a car,” he said.
They were able to squeeze in a couple of races in 2020 before racing a full slate this year.
They bought a 2006 305 Sprint car through an advertisement in a motorsports publication and have gotten plenty of use from it.
“I think we were 23rd in national points this year,” Jarrett said. “We have room to improve, for sure, but I was happy with this season. We really didn't have a backup car.
“Eventually, I'd love to get into a regular Sprint car, but we'll stay with the 305 for now.”
One of the Rosencrance neighbors is longtime Sprint driver Carl Bowser, a Freeport graduate who has won Sprint points championships at Lernerville.
“Jarrett took an interest in his racing and Carl always told him to come on over whenever he saw (Carl's) garage door was open,” David Rosencrance said. “Then he started hanging out with him in the pits at Lernerville and his desire to race grew nore and more.”
Jarrett said he had his 305 Sprint car going as fast as 90 miles per hour at Mercer. The difference in cost between a 305 Sprint car and a 410 Sprint is thousands of dollars.
“You can put together a racesaver (305) car for $10,000 to $15,000,” Jarrett said. “A 410 car is gonna run $30,000 to $40,000.”
While Rosencrance's farthest trip to a racetrack this year was Wayne County in Ohio, the IMCA Banquet will be held Nov. 27 in Lincoln, Neb. That's where IMCA's headquarters are located.
David and Jarrett Rosencrance plan to be there to accept the Rookie of the Year honor. Then they'll be back on the racing circuit in 2022.
“Eventually, I'd like to race a 410 and compete in the All-Star Series, maybe,” Jarrett said. “I want to compete at the highest level. I'd love to do this for a living.
“Yeah ... I''ve definitely caught the (racing) bug.”