Keselowski Named Winner Of 2012 DOTY Award
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Brad Keselowski capped off The Year of the Beer Thursday when he was named winner of the 2012 Driver of the Year award.
The 28-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup champion from Rochester Hills, Mich., won the DOTY honor by earning 18 votes from the panel of 19 media members who participate in the annual balloting.
The only other driver to receive a vote for the prestigious 46-year-old award was IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.
By becoming a DOTY winner, Keselowski joins such elite company as Mario Andretti (first winner of the award), Dale Earnhardt, John Force, A.J. Foyt, Jimmie Johnson, Nigel Mansell, Richard Petty, Emerson Fittipaldi, David Pearson and Jeff Gordon.
“To be honored with the 2012 Driver of the Year is a great way to cap off our championship season,” Keselowski said. “The (drivers) list is definitely a ‘Who’s Who’ in the history of racing. It gives me great pride to see my name there with the likes of Mark Donohue and Mario Andretti, drivers who have transcended one particular discipline or series, and are considered some of the best to ever sit in a race car.”
Keselowski, driver of the famed No. 2 “Blue Deuce” Dodge Charger of Penske Racing, won five Cup races in 2012. During the 10-race, season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff, he refused to buckle to
pressure put on him by five-time champion Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports.
At season’s end, Keselowski helped give legendary team-owner Roger Penske his first Sprint Cup championship.
“It was a terrific 2012 season by Brad and the entire Miller Lite Penske Racing team,” said Penske, who also owned the car driven by Mark Donohue, second person to win Driver of the Year.
“With five race victories and consistent and productive finishes over the course of the long season, the team put itself in a good position for the Chase,” said Penske, at 75 the winner of a record 15 Indianapolis 500s. “Over the final 10 races of the year, Brad and the team raised the bar and ran aggressive, smart and disciplined races to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. We are proud of all Brad has accomplished this season and we certainly congratulate him on winning the 2012 Driver of the Year award.”
Penske Racing, which began running Cup races in 1972, ended the longest non-championship streak among current ownership. Best previous finish for teams fielded by “The Captain” in the Cup championship standings was second in 1993 with Rusty Wallace, the 1989 champion for car-owner Raymond Beadle.
In addition to his five wins, Keselowski posted 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes during the 36-race schedule.
After winning the championship, Keselowski stood in Victory Lane at Miami-Homestead Speedway guzzling down beer from an oversized glass and would later admitted to having a bit of a “buzz” through his many rounds of interviews with the media.
Keselowski, who said he likes to do things a little bit differently than other drivers, repeatedly put his human side on display after winning his championship. He said his post-season goals included dating a celebrity and purchasing a military tank.
Keselowski also was named winner of the fourth quarter DOTY on Thursday in a separate vote.
The Driver of the Year award, originally known as the Martini & Rossi, is the oldest of its kind for motorsports in North America. It is presented annually, as are the four quarterly DOTYs.
Voting members are selected from the ranks of top journalists and broadcasters. Voting currently is conducted under the stewardship of Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation.
In September 2012, the last founding media member of the award, Chris Economaki, passed away at age 91.
Keselowski will be presented with his DOTY trophies and Tissot watches that go to winners during a ceremony to be held next year.
Information on the award may be obtained from the Foundation at PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Fla., 34230; by calling Schmoyer at (941) 928-3033 or emailing him 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
Dr. Dick Berggren, executive editor, Speedway Illustrated and FOX Sports NASCAR racing analyst; Eli Gold, TV and radio broadcaster; Bob Jenkins, retired TV broadcaster; Ken Squier, TV broadcaster; Lewis Franck, correspondent for Reuters; Mike Harris, senior writer, RacinToday.com; John Sturbin, senior writer, RacinToday.com; Mike Vega, sports writer, Boston Globe; Steve Waid, retired editor, Winston Cup Scene Illustrated; Jim Pedley, managing editor, RacinToday.com; Bob Varsha, TV broadcaster, SPEED; Mike Brudenell, sports writer, Detroit Free Press; Nate Ryan, motorsports writer, USA Today; Terry Blount, motorsports writer, ESPN.com; Dustin Long, motorsports writer Media Group USA, National Motorsports Press Association president; Tom Jensen, senior NASCAR editor, speed.com; Jenna Fryer, motorsports writer, The Associated Press; Holly Cain, writer, NASCAR.com; Marty Reid, TV broadcaster, ESPN.No Comment