AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPION SPIES EARNS AMA PRO RACING SPEED ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINATION PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 23, 2006) -- Fresh from winning the 2006 AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, Ben Spies has learned that he is...
AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPION SPIES EARNS AMA PRO RACING SPEED ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINATION
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 23, 2006) -- Fresh from winning the 2006 AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, Ben Spies has learned that he is one of the honored nominees for the 2006 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year Award.
Spies earned the AMA Superbike title in only his second full year in the series and now the young rider from Longview, Texas, has earned his first nomination for AMA Pro Racing's highest award.
"It's a real honor to be nominated for the Athlete of the Year," said Spies, who is the second youngest rider ever to win the AMA Superbike Championship. "It would be nice to win the award, but being only 22 and in my second year of Superbike, I'm sure that it's going to be tough considering who some of the other nominees might be. Still, I'm happy to be considered among the best in all of American motorcycle racing this year."
Spies has built an impressive list of accomplishments, well beyond what one would expect from such a young athlete. He was named AMA Horizon Award winner in 2000 as the country's leading amateur road racer. In 2003 Spies won the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship. This year Spies had a record-setting season in Superbike riding for Yoshimura Suzuki. In 19 rounds Spies won a series leading 10 races and only finished off the podium twice. He also won a best-in-series seven poles at the 11 racing venues.
Spies also tied the mark of six consecutive AMA Superbike wins established by Miguel Duhamel in 1995.
"It was an awesome season," Spies allowed. "The bike was great and my team worked awesome together. Next year I know what to expect and I plan on coming back more ready than I've ever been."
Spies hopes to follow in the footsteps of teammate Mat Mladin, who was the last road racer to win the Athlete of the Year Award. Mladin took the honor in 2000.
The 2006 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year will be named at the 32nd annual AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, Nov. 19 at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Spies is the third nominee announced for 2006 and joins Josh Hayes and Ricky Carmichael. The remaining nominees will be announced over the next few days.
About the AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year Award The AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor an AMA competitor can receive. Past recipients include such legendary racers as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker and Kenny Roberts, among others. The award goes to the rider judged to have had the most successful racing year. The rider's career achievements can also be considered if the season complements a remarkable career. A selection panel made up of AMA and AMA Pro Racing staff, field staff and volunteer leadership is named by the AMA CEO and that panel evaluates nominations and determines the final winner.