A quartet of racing champions was named as the nominees for the Best Driver Award to be given at the 2012 ESPY Awards, with titlists from NASCAR, Formula 1, Indy Car and the NHRA selected as the category finalists.
NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Tony Stewart is already a two-time recipient of the award, and is the only former ESPY winner of the four pilots chosen. Formula 1 titleholder Sebastien Vettel, IZOD Indy Car king Dario Franchitti and now-retired NHRA Top Fuel champion Del Worsham completed the list of nominees.
The award will be given on July 11 as part of ESPN’s self-created sports awards show. The Best Driver ESPY has gone to NASCAR drivers in 12 of the last 14 years, including each of the last six. The only driver to break up that streak of stock-car winners is the legendary Michael Schumacher, who won in 2002 and 2005.
CART/Indy Car drivers won three of the first five awards given, but the last winner from any form of American open-wheel racing was Jimmy Vasser in 1997. No drag racer has ever won the award.