Cup’s Stewart Is Driver Of The Year Award Winner
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart was named winner of the 2011 Driver of the Year Award today.
Stewart, the 2011 Cup champion, was awarded the honor by a panel of leading motorsports journalists and broadcasters.
Stewart, co-owner with Gene Haas of the Stewart-Haas Racing team for which he drives, also was the leading vote-getter in balloting for the separate Fourth Quarter Driver of the Year Award announced Tuesday.
“I have a lot of pride in this,” Stewart said of sweeping the season-ending DOTYs. “This is an award that comes from a highly esteemed group. These are the awards that mean the most.”
Stewart, Cup champion in 2002 and 2005 with Joe Gibbs Racing, won his third championship with dramatic flair. Winless heading into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, the Indiana native won five times during the playoffs.
He started the final race of the year in second place – three points behind Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing. In that race – the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway – Stewart finished first and Edwards second. They tied in points but Stewart earned the championship on tie-breaking criteria as he won more races during the season than Edwards (5-1).
The DOTY is the oldest and most prestigious award of its kind. In its 45th year, DOTY encompasses all racing series and drivers in North America. A panel of 19 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the country cast votes this year for the quarterly and final winner.
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala, topped the vote in a landslide. Stewart earned 15 votes in the final secret ballot. Edwards, Dario Franchitti of the IZOD IndyCar Series, Jason Meyers of the World of Outlaws Series and NHRA Top Fuel world champion Del Worsham all received one vote. Stewart previously won DOTY in 2005, after his second Cup championship.
In the quarterly voting, Stewart beat Edwards and Meyers, garnering all but one of the first-place votes.
“The last quarter was a history-maker, for sure,” said Stewart, a 40-year-old native and resident of Columbus, Ind. “There are so many champions honored this way (the award). It’s just amazing. I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s truly an honor.”
Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said, “It’s certainly ironic that last year’s vote involved a spirited debate, but this year’s was a slam dunk. Stewart’s come-from-behind victory at Homestead will thrill fans for ages.”
Stewart will receive trophies and Tissot wristwatches at a later date. Further information on the award may be obtained at Driver of the Year Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Fla., 34230; by calling (941) 379-2318 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complete list of Driver of the Year Award winners:
2002-Cristiano da Matta
1990-Al Unser Jr.
1975-A.J. Foyt Jr.
1970-Al Unser Sr.
1969-Lee Roy Yarbrough
The Driver of the Year Voting Panel:
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, senior writer, RacinToday.com; Ed Hinton, motorsports 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, writer, Detroit Free Press; Nate Ryan, motorsports writer, USA Today; Terry Blount, motorsports writer, ESPN.com; Dustin Long, motorsports writer, Landmark Newspapers/ National Motorsports Press Association president; Tom Jensen, senior NASCAR editor, SpeedTV.com; Jenna Fryer, motorsports writer, The Associated Press.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at email@example.comNo Comment