Cup’s Hamlin Is Second Quarter DOTY Winner
By Lewis Franck
Driver of The Year Panelist
It was virtually no contest as Denny Hamlin was voted second quarter winner of the Driver Of The Year Award.
Hamlin bounced back from knee surgery about one month before the second quarter began, and won three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and one NASCAR Nationwide series race in the period ending June 20th.
Driving the No. 11 FedEx Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin was awarded the honor for the first time in his career.
“This is a great award and I want to thank everyone on the panel. This FedEx team had a great start to this 2010 season and we are looking to get back to winning races, and to be in position to make a strong run at a championship. It’s an honor to be listed among a lot of my fellow Sprint Cup competitors, and with a lot of great drivers in other series as well,” he said.
Hamlin, 29, had victories in the Showtime Southern 500, Pocono 500, and Heluva Good! Sour Dips 400. And, he won from the pole at Royal Purple 200 Nationwide race in the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said, “Hamlin had been tapped by the media as a Cup contender before his knee injury. His success following the surgery shows what a true champion he is. I’m not surprised at the outcome. He and his team never let up.”
Hamlin took 12 first-place votes which was six times his closest competition; teammate, Kyle Busch. Hamlin’s scored 122 points according to the Driver Of The Year points system compared to Busch’s 56 points.
Dario Franchitti, the Indy 500 winner who drives the Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar, also had one first place vote and received 54 points.
Mike Edwards, the NHRA’s ProStock driver, also received one first place ballot finishing fifth, behind Larry Dixon in the Top Fuel division.
A total of 16 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting.
In its’ 44th year, the Driver Of The Year title is unique. 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. Hamlin will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch was presented at the Brickyard 400.
A secret ballot determines the overall Driver Of The Year winner. All motor sports drivers competing in U.S.-based series are eligible for the award, as are Americans racing elsewhere in the world.
“It’s an honor to be listed among a lot of my fellow Sprint Cup competitors, and with a lot of great drivers in other series as well. I hope I’ll be in the running for this award again this season,” Hamlin added.
Further information on the award may be obtained from DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Florida 34230 or from (941) 379-2318 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Comments