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

Kenseth Wins First DOTY

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 23 2013

Matt Kenseth smoked the field in the Driver of the Year's first-quarter vote. (RacinToday.com file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Matt Kenseth’s offseason race shop move from Concord to Huntersville, N.C., continues to pay dividends, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star emerged as first quarter 2013 winner of the Driver of the Year award.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, crushed the opposition in voting among a nationwide panel of 18 print/website journalists and broadcasters, scoring twice the points of his nearest rival in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing.

During the quarter that ended on May 12th, Kenseth scored wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway before notching his first career win in the Southern 500 at historic Darlington Raceway. Kenseth also posted two poles and led 781 laps.

The quarter was not without controversy, however, as Kenseth, crew chief Jason Ratcliff and owner Gibbs were penalized by NASCAR after the win at Kansas Speedway, when post-race inspection of the engine in the No. 20 Dollar General/Husky Toyota Camry revealed a piston rod out of specification (too light). Originally docked 50 championship points, that penalty subsequently was reduced to 12 points by the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel. All other components of Kenseth’s original penalty also were rescinded.

The Wisconsin native was taken aback when informed of his selection by the DOTY panel. “It’s always an honor whenever you’re selected for any kind of award from the media or the fans,” said Kenseth, who finished seventh in the final 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup standings. “I never even thought of receiving this award, so it’s pretty cool to have been selected for this.

“There’s really not a lot that I can take credit for though, because it’s truly a testament to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and how fast the cars are that they’ve given us to start the season off with. I feel like all three of our JGR teams have been fast and competitive at every track this year and capable of winning each week. We have a really great group and I think that we learn a lot and work together in order to be successful.”

Kenseth, 41, moved to JGR after a stellar 14-year career at Roush Fenway Racing, where he was the de facto franchise driver for team-owner Jack Roush. Kenseth won 24 Cup races in Roush Fenway Fords, including Daytona 500 titles in 2009 and 2012.

“Usually it takes a little while for a team to jell, but Kenseth and the entire JGR team behind him have hit the ground running – and running for another Sprint Cup championship,” said Barry Schmoyer, president of the DOTY Foundation.

Kenseth earned 10 first-place votes and totaled 110 points under the DOTY point system. IZOD IndyCar Series regular James Hinchcliffe, a two-time winner in the No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Dallara/Chevrolet fielded by Andretti Autosport, received one first-place vote and 55 points.

Kyle Busch, one of Kenseth’s JGR teammates, finished third with two first-place votes and 50 points following strong performances in NASCAR’s Cup and Nationwide series. Takuma Sato, first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar Series race, was recognized with one first-place vote following his victory on the Streets of Long Beach for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Fifteen drivers scored points during the quarter, with four panelists failing to vote. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis.

Originally known as the Martini & Rossi and in its 47th season, Driver of the Year is the oldest award of its kind for motorsports in North America. In addition to the quarterly votes, the Driver of the Year is determined via secret ballot at season’s end. Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Cup champion for Penske Racing, added his name to the list of award-winners last year.

Kenseth will receive a trophy and Tissot wristwatch at a race weekend to be determined.

Further information on the award may be obtained from the Driver of the Year Foundation, P.O. Box 49827, Sarasota, Fla., 34230; by calling Schmoyer at (941) 379-2318 or via email at barrydoty@yahoo.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 23 2013
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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