American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.
"Dedicated To Increasing Media Coverage of Motor Sports"
2008 AUTO RACING ALL-AMERICA TEAM SELECTED
The polls have closed for voters choosing 2008 All-America Auto
Racing Team and five drivers with landslides of more than 70 percent
of the vote are contenders for the Jerry Titus Award -- the teamís
Driver of the Year.
Who those five are is not revealed until the All-America ceremonies
in Ontario, Calif., on Jan. 10 but they will come from among the 17
drivers named to the First Team by the voting members of the
American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
Three former Titus winners are on the team this year -- Indy Car
champions Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005), and NHRA Top
Fuel driver Tony Schumacher (2006) but only Schumacher bids to
repeat this year.
The Titus, given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist,
signifies the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of
category, is announced at the conclusion of the annual AARWBA
banquet Jan. 10 at the Hilton Hotel in Ontario, Calif., which is
open to the public. Two drivers from each of seven categories are
elected to the First Team, two more to the Second Team, and all
drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote earn honorable
Schumacher won his sixth NHRA Powerade Top Fuel championship this
year, his fifth in a row. With a dominating 15-victory season he won
his sixth selection as an All-America in the Drag Racing category,
every one of them First Team. He is joined by NHRA Funny Car champ
Cruz Pedregon in only his second All-America appearance -- his
previous being on the Second Team16 years ago when he interrupted
John Forceís streak of championships in 1992.
Jimmy Johnson won his third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup but he and
Carl Edwards -- runner-up in both of NASCARís top two championships,
Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series -- raced figuratively
wheel-to-wheel through the vote tally in the Stock Car category.
While Johnson achieved a three-peat only accomplished once before in
Cup history, Edwards posted the most victories (9) on the season in
addition to another seven in the Nationwide Series. Johnson makes
his seventh All-America team, five in a row on First Team. Edwards
is First Team for the first time after two earlier appearances on
the Second Team.
Donny Schatz also scored a championship three-peat this year in the
World of Outlaws Sprint Car series, becoming only the second driver
in WoO history to win as many as three in a row. It was not his only
hat trick as he also won the prestigious Knoxville Nationals for a
third consecutive year in addition to 18 wins on the WoO circuit.
Joining Schatz in the Short Track category is U.S. Auto Club double
champion Jerry Coons Jr., who won both the Silver Crown and Sprint
series. Added to his USAC Midget championships in 2006 and 2007, he
is only the fifth driver in USAC history to win all three
championships. Both drivers are now three-time All-Americans from
the past three seasons, Schatz First Team each time and Coons the
past two years.
Scott Dixon, the Indianapolis 500 winner and champion of the Indy
Racing League, added another five victories for his championship
season. Yet he was still only 17 points ahead of series runner-up
and two-time winner Helio Castroneves who set a series record with
eight second-place finishes. The two of them easily outdistanced the
other nominees in the Open Wheel category. Both are now four-time
All-Americans, the third time for Dixon on First Team but the first
time Castroneves has achieved the top rung.
In the Road Racing category, drivers racing as teammates in the
same car are voted on as a single entity resulting in pairs from
both the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car
Series being chosen to the team. From Grand-Am comes the Daytona
Prototype champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, whose six victories
included the 24 Hours of Daytona. From ALMS came the runners-up in
the P2 category, David Brabham and Scott Sharp, whose four-win
season included an overall victory at Lime Rock outrunning the
supposedly faster P1 cars.
Pruett, with his 10th First-Team selection and 12th overall, is now
tied with drag racing legend Don Garlits for the third-most times on
the First Team, and behind only Steve Kinser and John Force. He is
also the 15th driver to be voted an All-American as many as 12
times. His teammate Rojas is an All-American for the first time
ever. Sharp makes the team for a fifth time, three as First Team,
while Brabham is First Team for his first time in three appearances.
In Touring Series it was NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion
Johnny Benson and young ARCA champion Justin Allgaier who dominated
the category. Both achieved nail-biter finishes to their seasons,
Benson winning by just 7 points in the final Truck Series race while
Allgaierís come-from-behind title was a result of winning the final
three races of the ARCA season. It is Allgaierís first time as an
All-American and Bensonís second -- his first coming 15 years ago
when he was ASA champion.
The tight vote in the At Large category finally produced IRL Indy
Lights champion Raphael Matos and ALMS GT2 champions Jorg
Bergmeister/Wolf Henzler for the First Team. Matos not only won
three times in the IRL junior series but also twice in sports car
races. He was an honorable mention last year when he won the
Atlantic Series championship. Bergmeister is First Team for a third
time, while his teammate Henzler makes his first appearance.
Information on the All-America Banquet, presented by the A1GP World
Cup of Motorsport, is available at
The banquet and ceremony is open to the public.
OPEN WHEEL: Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon
STOCK CAR: Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson
ROAD RACING: David Brabham/Scott Sharp, Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas
DRAG RACING: Cruz Pedregon, Tony Schumacher
SHORT TRACK: Jerry Coons Jr., Donny Schatz
TOURING SERIES: Justin Allgaier, Johnny Benson
AT LARGE: Jorg Bergmeister/Wolf Henzler, Raphael Matos
OPEN WHEEL: Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan
STOCK CAR: Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch
ROAD RACING: Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas, Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney,
Lucas Luhr/Marco Werner (3-way tie)
DRAG RACING: Jeg Coughlin, Tim Wilkerson
SHORT TRACK: Tracy Hines, Jason Meyers & Cole Whitt (tie)
TOURING SERIES: Ted Christopher, Benny Gordon
AT LARGE: Frank Manzo, Travis Pastrana
(At least 5% of the vote)
OPEN WHEEL: Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon
STOCK CAR: none
ROAD RACING: Jan Magnussen/Johnny OíConnell
DRAG RACING: Greg Anderson, Spencer Massey
SHORT TRACK: Darrell Lanigan
TOURING SERIES: Eric Holmes, Matt Kobyluck
AT LARGE: Laurie Cannister, Rob MacCachren