Voting Panel

Chris Economaki
Editor/Publisher, National Speed Sport News
Dr. Dick Berggren
Executive editor, Speedway Illustrated
Eli Gold
TV and Radio Broadcaster
Bob Jenkins,
TV Broadcaster
Ken Squier
TV Broadcaster
Steve Ballard
Writer, Indianapolis Star
Lewis Franck
Correspondent for Reuters
Mike Harris
Motorsports Editor, AP
Ed Hinton
Writer, ESPN.COM
John Sturbin
Senior Writer, RacinToday.com
Mike Vega
Writer, Boston Globe
Steve Waid
Vice President of Editorial Development, NASCAR Scene
Jim Pedley
Managing Editor, RacinToday.com
Bob Varsha
TV Broadcaster, Speed Channel
Mike Brudenell
Detroit Free Press
Nate Ryan
Writer, USA Today
Terry Blount
Writer, ESPN.com
Dustin Long
Writer, Landmark Newspapers,/ National Motorsports Press Association President
Tom Jensen
Senior NASCAR Editor, SpeedTV.com
Jenna Fryer
Motorsports Writer, The Associated Press
Home » Driver of the Year, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series, NHRA

Jimmie Johnson Becomes Four-Time DOTY Winner

Lewis Franck | , RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 15 2010

Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson on Wednesday was named the 2010 Driver of the Year. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fresh off winning his fifth straight Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson was voted the winner of this year’s Driver of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday.

The 2010 DOTY is the fourth the Hendrick Motorsports driver has been awarded in his career. He was also the winner of the prestigious award – which is voted upon by a panel of 20 leading North American broadcasters and motorsports journalists – in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The only other driver to win four DOTYs is Johnson’s HMS teammate, Jeff Gordon.

“Awesome,” Johnson said after being informed of the award. “It’s an honor to win the award again. Among such tough competition, with the voting panel, who it is and how well versed they are in motorsports. It’s a huge, huge honor.”

Johnson got 11 votes from the 19 members of the panel who voted this year.

John Force, who won the NHRA Full Thottle Drag Racing Series’ Funny Car championship in 2010, received seven votes. Force, who won his 15th Funny Car championship this year, won the 1996 DOTY.

Kyle Busch, the NASCAR driver who notched victories in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Trucks series, received one vote.

The Driver of the Year Award is in its 44th season. It is the longest-running award program of

John Force was runner-up in Driver of the Year balloting. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

its kind. Its first winner was Mario Andretti.

All drivers in major American racing series are eligible to win the DOTY.

Andretti and Darrell Waltrip were three-time winners of the award.

Members of the voting panel were invited to participate in a teleconference last week before casting their ballots. During that teleconference the merits of each of the candidates was discussed.

“This year’s pre-vote teleconference was one of the most spirited debates that I can recall,” said Driver of the Year Foundation president Barry Schmoyer. “Other drivers such as the NHRA’s Funny Car champion, John Force and Kyle Busch, who raced and won in NASCAR’s top three divisions, had their advocates.

“As many people have said already, it will be a long time before anyone will set the bar as high as Jimmie Johnson,” Schmoyer said.

Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif., won six Cup races in 2010 and now has 53 in his 10-year career in the series. He had 17 top-five victories in 2010.

He began the final race of the season in second place – 15 points behind Denny Hamlin. He ended the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway by finishing second to winner Carl Edwards and won the championship by 39 points over of Hamlin.

Johnson started the season strongly, winning two of the first three races and then three of the the first five.

He had just one victory in the Chase – the 12-driver, 10-race playoff at the end of the season – but had four podium finishes and seven top-fives finishes.

Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later.

The DOTY program is overseen by Schmoyer, a businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Fla.

Further information on the award may be obtained from Driver of the Year Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Florida 34230 or (941) 379-2318 or barrydoty@yahoo.com.

– Lewis Franck is a motorsports writer for the Reuters news service

Lewis Franck | , RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 15 2010
9 Comments

9 Comments »

  • Steveo says:

    Kathryn, hate to burst your bubble, even though he was in the Top 2, Johnson was over 200 points behind before the reset and was handed those points to start the Chase. Explain to me how Johnson would have “won anyway”? I don’t remember him gaining over 200 points on Harvick in the last 10 races. When did you become a fan? 5 years ago?

    I don’t care who won the 10 race championship, while I’m no fan of Harvick, he was the best driver in Nascar this season, not Johnson. Question is, would Harvick have won over Force had he won the 10 race championship?

  • Kathryn says:

    Congratulations on number five Jimmie, I am so very honored to be your fan and have been for many years, I watched you on dirt tracks and now in Nascar and I am getting tired of the people who just do not understand why you win…Jimmie is an awesome driver….Chad is a awesome crew chief….Rick Hendrick is a awesome owner and man….Lowe’s is an awesome sponsor…..Chevy is the best, you add all this up and what else could there be other than perfection.
    So proud that you are my Champion and Driver of the year.

  • Terry says:

    John Force……period.

  • Howard Hill says:

    I have 3 ti 4 hours to win a NASCAR race be as much as 3 laps down and win a race be in 15 place on the last lap and have an accident in front of me that takes out the leading cars and win the race I can be behind by 10 car lengths and have the car in front run out of gas and win the race but in NHRA you have under 5 seconds and a million conditions to deal with in the 4 races you have to win to win the race event. The only other sports franchise that has more championships then John Force is the Yankees. This man has 15 championships in a sport that most drivers would be happy with one or two in their lifetime. I would love to see Jimmie get in a Funny Car and try to get all that 8,000 horses to stick and go the entire 1/4 mile. When you stage you have fractions of seconds to react to the lights or in most cases lose the race right off the line being slow to react. Jimmie winning is a joke and it seems just a popularity contest and not a true driver ability contest because if it were John Force would’ve won. Let us not forget about the accident he was in that almost took his life and how it took all of last year for him to get back to his old racing ways. There is no doubt in my mind that Driver of the Year is John Force 15 time champion.

  • mike jines says:

    Nascar had become the WWE of Racing. The last several races of the season are set for Jimmy. Some of his best tracks. If they were on the old points system where would Jimmy finish? NFL or MLB etc don’t reset the standings in the season. Go back to the most points 1st race to last race wins championship. WTF?

    • Kathryn says:

      If you remember when they reset points Jimmie was in the top two and still would of won it, so don’t be a hater and respect the man for who he is greatness! NFL and MLB both are getting pretty sad with all their rules and none of them NASCAR, MLB,or NFL are anything like WWE fake and a BIG JOKE!!!

  • JJ fan says:

    I agree! Jimmie Johnson deserves this award for his greatness in Nascar! I wish Jimmie would come to the Foundation office in Sarasota to personally pick up his award (and sign an autograph or two!) :)

    Jimmie Johnson fan from Sarasota/Bradenton……

  • David Bailey says:

    CONGRATULATIONS JIMMIE !!!!!!!!!!! He is a true champion and a tremendous asset to NASCAR and to motorsports world.

  • Ed says:

    What a joke. John Force should have won DOTY hands down. After all he has gone through and accomplished in his career, this just shows the lack of media support for NHRA Drag Racing across the country.

Quotes

“There is no higher compliment on your driving. Of all the awards, this one is special. The criteria go directly to your performance. It carries an awful lot of prestige.”
– Mario Andretti

“It’s an honor to be named Driver of the Year ... It’s something I take a lot of pride in, especially since one of the guys I’ve always looked up to in racing, A.J. Foyt, won this award back in 1975."
– Tony Stewart

“I said it in December, and I’ll say it again – this award is dedicated to our Army Strong soldiers Their teamwork and passion are inspiring and a huge part of our drive to be successful.”
-Tony Schumacher.

Previous Recipients

2011-Tony Stewart
2010-Jimmie Johnson
2009-Jimmie Johnson
2008-Tony Schumacher
2007-Jimmie Johnson
2006-Jimmie Johnson
2005-Tony Stewart
2004-Greg Anderson
2003-Ryan Newman
2002-Cristiano da Matta
2001-Jeff Gordon
2000-Bobby Labonte
1999-Dale Jarrett
1998-Jeff Gordon
1997-Jeff Gordon
1996-John Force
1995-Jeff Gordon
1994-Dale Earnhardt
1993-Nigel Mansell
1992-Bobby Rahal
1991-Michael Andretti
1990-Al Unser, Jr.
1989-Emerson Fittipaldi
1988-Bill Elliott
1987-Dale Earnhardt
1986-Bobby Rahal
1985-Bill Elliott
1984-Mario Andretti
1983-Bobby Rahal
1982-Darrell Waltrip
1981-Darrell Waltrip
1980-Johnny Rutherford
1979-Darrell Waltrip
1978-Mario Andretti
1977-Cale Yarborough
1976-David Pearson
1975-A.J. Foyt
1974-Bobby Unser
1973-David Pearson
1972-Bobby Allison
1971-Richard Petty
1970-Al Unser, Sr.
1969-Lee Roy Yarbrough
1968-Mark Donohue
1967-Mario Andretti