Keselowski Voted Driver Of Year For Third Quarter
NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski emerged from a summer of mettle-testing pain to top balloting in third quarter Driver of the Year voting, leading a unique 1-2 sweep for team-owner Roger Penske.
Keselowski, who drives for Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, earned 10 first-place ballots and 117 points under the DOTY voting system. Meanwhile, Will Power _a Penske teammate and championship leader in the IZOD IndyCar Series _ registered five first-place votes and 108 points.
The results marked the first time in the DOTY award’s 45-year history that one team-owner had two drivers from different series finish 1-2 in the voting.
“To have Penske Racing finish 1-2 in the third quarter Driver of the Year award voting is a pretty special feat for everyone back at the shop,” said Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger. “It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of Penske Racing and everyone on this team. We’re not finished here. We want to be the team holding the trophy after Homestead.”
Penske Racing prepares its NASCAR and IndyCar teams at the same facilities in Mooresville, N.C.
The third quarter included 10 Cup races up to and including the event at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10, when the 12-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup was finalized. During that span, Keselowski recorded two wins, four top-five and seven top-12 finishes.
Keselowski’s victory at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 7 and a runnerup result on the road-course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Aug. 15 were recorded within days of breaking his left ankle during a test session at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Aug. 3. Keselowski also finished third at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21 and won on Bristol Motor Speedway’s daunting half-mile on Aug. 27.
Combined with an earlier victory, Keselowski secured one of two wild card spots for the Chase, NASCAR’s 10-race postseason that began at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Monday.
Racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, Keselowski won at Kentucky Speedway on July 8 and at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis on July 30. A total of 11 NNS events were contested during the quarter.
“It’s nice to be recognized when you have put in a lot of hard work, and this team has worked as hard as any team that I’ve been around,” said Keselowski, 27, a native of Rochester Hills, Mich. “The driver puts in five percent of the effort, but gets 95 percent of the credit. The credit should go to (crew chief) Paul Wolfe and everyone on this team that didn’t settle for how we ran earlier in the year. As a result we now have three (Cup) wins, a spot in the Chase for the Championship and the third quarter Driver of the Year award.”
Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Honda, won three of six IndyCar Series events contested during the quarter _ on the Streets of Edmonton on July 24; on the natural terrain Infineon Raceway layout in Sonoma, Calif., on Aug. 28 and the new Streets of Baltimore circuit on Sept. 4.
A 30-year-old native of Australia, Power is locked in a battle with three-time/reigning IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2011 driver’s title.
Versatile NASCAR star Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing, the first quarter DOTY winner, received two first-place votes and was third overall with 67 points.
Greg Anderson, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock ace and 2003 Driver of the Year, earned one first-place vote. Another first-place vote went to NASCAR’s Kevin Harvick _ who exited Chicagoland Speedway as the Chase points-leader.
Eighteen drivers were recognized during third quarter voting by a nationwide panel of 21 motorsports journalists. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis, while the overall DOTY vote is conducted via secret ballot at year’s end.
Chase contender Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing was voted second quarter DOTY winner.
Keselowski will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch during ceremonies at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., this weekend.
Barry Schmoyer, Florida-based businessman and sportsman, is president of the Driver of the Year Foundation. Information on the award may be obtained from the DOTY Foundation at P.O. Box 49827, Sarasota, Fla., 34230; by calling (941) 379-2318 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.No Comment