Castroneves Wins Second Quarter DOTY Vote
By Lewis Franck
Driver of the Year
Indianapolis 500-winner Helio Castroneves won a hotly-contested vote for the 2009 second-quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR Award.
The native Brazilian, who won his third Indy 500 – from the pole – in May, narrowly edged NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, who is the co-owner and a driver for Stewart Haas Racing. The vote was 119-116 points in Castroneves’s favor.
It was the closest margin of victory since Stewart lost the overall award in a tie-breaker in 2002.
Castroneves, who drives a Team Penske Racing Dallara-Honda in the IndyCar series, backed up the Indy 500 win with a victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the quarter, which ended on June 21.
The ebullient Castroneves, also known as Spiderman for his fence-climbing antics after his victories, said, “I’m really honored with the prestige to be included in such an incredible group of drivers.”
He continued, “honestly it’s an honor to be in an amazing group. Mark Martin is an incredible driver – nothing against Tony Stewart – I want to be like him (Martin) when I grow up.”
Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said “ I’m amazed at the coincidence that Tony Stewart was beaten again in such a close vote and that Stewart also is a fence-climber after a race win.”
In the voting Castroneves took eight first-place votes and was on every ballot. Stewart, who drives the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, also garnered eight first-place votes.
The 50-year old Martin, who drives for No. 5 Kelloggs Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series was third in the voting with 42 points.
Kyle Busch received one first-place ballot.
A total of 19 drivers scored points in the first-quarter voting.
In its’ 42nd year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique and the oldest award of its’ type. A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Castroneves received a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch.
“I want to thank my Penske team,” he said. “Without them I couldn’t do what I’m doing. And I want to thank my loyal fans.”
Racintoday.com is the official news outlet of DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD PROGRAM.
Schmoyer is a businessman and sportsman living in 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 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org