Johnson Wins Fourth-Quarter DOTY
By Lewis Franck
It was virtually no contest; Jimmie Johnson was voted fourth-quarter winner of the Driver Of The Year award by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists.
Johnson, the winner of the award in 2006 and 2007, wrapped up his fourth-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship two weeks ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He then took 12 out of the 16 first-place DOTY votes and was the only driver named on all ballots. He earned 130 points.
Kyle Busch, his on-track rival, was second with 53 points. NHRA’s Robert Hight was third with 49 points.
Driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Johnson had four wins, four poles and only one finish worse than ninth in the quarter, which started on Sept. 20th.
“If there was a NASCAR version of Mr. October, like Reggie Jackson was in Major League Baseball, Jimmie’s the one,” said Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation.
“Especially since NASCAR instituted ‘The Chase,’ I can’t think of any one driver, any one team, that seems to hit all the marks in the 10-race playoffs. The vote is no surprise,” Schmoyer added.
Busch wrapped up his first championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. He also drove full time in the Sprint Cup series, and also scored wins in the Camping World Trucks Series. He received one first-place vote.
The NHRA’s Hight, who scored a Funny Car Championship for owner, John Force, (a DOTY winner in 1996) had two first-place votes. Dario Franchitti, who won his second IndyCar title, finished fourth in the voting with 41 points.
Top Fuel’s Tony Schumacher, last year’s Driver of the Year Award winner, was fifth.
A total of 14 drivers scored points in the fourth-quarter voting.
In it’s 42nd year, the Driver of the Year is unique and the oldest award of it’s type. A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch.
A secret ballot to name the 2009 overall winner was conducted last week and results will be announced soon.
Schmoyer is a businessman and sportsman from Sarasota, Fla.
Further information on the award may be obtained from the Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Florida 34230 or from (941) 379-2318 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Lewis Franck is a member of the Driver of the Year voting panelNo Comment