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, HEADLINE, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Cup’s Stewart Is Driver Of The Year Award Winner

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 14 2011

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart was named winner of the 2011 Driver of the Year Award today.

Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart is the 2011 Driver of the Year Award winner. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

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 barrydoty@yahoo.com.

The complete list of Driver of the Year Award winners:

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 Jr.

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

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 jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 14 2011
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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