Power Wins First-Quarter Driver Of The Year Award
The IndyCar Series’ Will Power was named winner of the Driver of the Year panel’s first-quarter award, it was announced Tuesday morning.
Power edged NHRA Funny Car driver Robert Hight by a single point to earn the award, which goes to the top driver in United States-based racing series. It is voted upon by a panel of 21 racing-media members.
Power, who drives a Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12 for Team Penske, has won two of the first three races on the 2012 schedule. He won on the Barber Motorsports Park road circuit in Alabama and on the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s street circuit.
The Long Beach victory was earned despite the fact that all teams using Chevrolet engines were penalized 10 spots on the starting grid.
“I think my guys feel very confident no matter where we start now that it’s always possible,” Power said after his most recent victory at the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach, California.
The Australian driver also won the pole for the season-opening IndyCar Series race in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Power will head to Sao Paulo, Brazil for this weekend’s race with the series points lead.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by such an elite panel,” Power said of winning the first-quarter DOTY. “This award is a testament to how hard the Verizon Team Penske crew has worked this year and we hope to keep it going for the rest of the season.”
Power had eight first-place ballots and totaled 99 points under the Driver of the Year voting system.
Hight, who drives the Auto Club Mustang for John Force Racing, also recorded eight first-place votes and totaled 98 points.
“I don’t recall such a close quarterly vote,” Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said.
Power won the third quarter in 2010 by two points, Schmoyer said.
There has only been one tie in DOTY history – in 2002 when Cristiano da Matta (then in Champ Car) took the annual title in a tie-breaker over NASCAR’s Tony Stewart based on points earned in the quarterly tallies.
Greg Biffle, who led the Sprint Cup Series in points for the quarter – which ended with his victory at Texas Motor Speedway – finished third with two first-place votes and 78 points.
A total of 16 drivers scored points in the third quarter voting.
In its’ 46th year, the Driver of the Year Award is unique. The panel of 21 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner. Votes are held quarterly. A year-end vote determines the overall Driver of the Year.
Panelists vote for six drivers in quarterly voting and points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis.
Power will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a race weekend at to be determined.
“I certainly take pride in winning this award and want to thank everyone on the panel,” Power added.
Schmoyer is 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 from (941) 379-2318 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.No Comment