Colin Braun honored at AARWBA Banquet

OVALO, Texas, Jan. 19 - Colin Braun, who at 16 has already won more championships than many race car drivers ever will, was honored at the 50th annual American Auto Racing Writers, Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) banquet Saturday night at the ...

OVALO, Texas, Jan. 19 - Colin Braun, who at 16 has already won more championships than many race car drivers ever will, was honored at the 50th annual American Auto Racing Writers, Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) banquet Saturday night at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona, Calif.

Braun was recognized for being the recipient of the Gorsline Scholarship, which is given annually to a young, aspiring driver who consistently displays exceptional talent and is poised for superstardom. Showing the international status of this award, Sir Stirling Moss presented the scholarship to Braun prior to Autosport magazine's awards banquet in London in December.

Also being recognized by the American racing press corps at the AAWRBA banquet is a great honor for any driver but it was especially nice for Braun, since he is an American through and through. He resides in Ovalo, Texas.

Saturday night's function was a highlight of a whirlwind off-season for Braun. In 17 days the teen will become one of the youngest drivers ever to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., the most prestigious endurance sports car race in North America. Veteran Ross Bentley will share The Racer's Group's Team16 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with three 16-year-olds: Braun, Adrian Carrio and Brad Coleman. Bentley is also the head of the Speed Secrets Driver Development program, which will provide training to Braun as part of the Gorsline Scholarship.

The Rolex 24 will be held Feb. 5-6 and will be televised live on SPEED.

The scholarship is presented annually by John Gorsline of the Gorsline Agency, which provides insurance and financial services for corporate and professional clients, including many in motorsports.

Other drivers honored Saturday night included Tony Kanaan, the 2004 Indy Racing League champion; six-time NHRA titlist Kenny Bernstein; Sebastian Bourdais, the 2004 Champ Car World Series titlist; Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion; Jimmy Johnson, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup runner-up; Ron Fellows, the 2004 ALMS GTS co-champion; Max Papis and Scott Pruett, the 2004 Grand American Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions; John Force, the 2004 NHRA funny car champion; Tony Schumacher, the 2004 NHRA top fuel champion; Bobby East, the 2004 USAC midget champion; Steve Kinser, 19-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion; Bobby Hamilton, the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman truck series champion; Martin Truex Jr., the 2004 NASCAR Busch series champion; Bill Auberlen, the 2004 Grand American Rolex Series GT champion; Thiago Medeiros, the 2004 IRL Infiniti Pro Series champion; and two-time Toyota Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty.

Present to receive their awards were Auberlen, Bernstein, East, Fellows, Force, Kanaan, Medeiros, Papis and Fogarty.

"It was great to be standing there after the banquet with the Gorsline scholarship award in my hand, waiting for the group picture to be taken, and have John Force walk over and congratulate me on it and tell me to keep up the good work," Braun said. "I got to also meet some really great writers and broadcasters that I hope will be writing about me in the years to come."

Braun is the youngest American to ever win a professional open-wheel championship, as he topped the point standings in the Fran-Am 1600 Pro series when he was 14. He won the Formula TR 2000 Pro championship in 2004.

He turned 16 on Sept. 22.

For more information see www.tracc5.com, www.gorsline.com, www.speed-secrets.com, www.theracersgroup.com, www.grandamerican.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

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Series Formula Renault , Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Kenny Bernstein , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Kurt Busch , Max Papis , Tony Kanaan , Jon Fogarty , Ron Fellows , Scott Pruett , Colin Braun , Bill Auberlen , Steve Kinser , Stirling Moss , Brad Coleman , Bobby East , John Gorsline , Adrian Carrio , Thiago Medeiros