Grand-Am Rolex Series Stars Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty Nominated for SPEED Performer of the Year Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2007) -- The postseason award nominations continue to pour in for 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series co-champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. Hot on the heels of their record-breaking season in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, the pair has been nominated for the 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year honor.
The second annual SPEED Performer of the Year will be selected by a panel of voters including "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Sheheen, SPEEDtv.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen and versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder. The winner will receive the Mario Andretti Trophy, a one-of-a-kind bronze sculpture created by artist Elie Hazak. The winner will be announced as the crown jewel of the SPEED Performance Awards one-hour television special hosted by Kendall and Danica Patrick in February.
Gurney and Fogarty are joined as finalists on a star-studded list that includes two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who announced last week he would join the Rolex Series champs in the No. 99 machine at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Also on the list of finalists are back-to-back World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz, AMA Supercross champ James Stewart, Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, four-time Champ Car World Series titlist Sebastien Bourdais, MotoGP champ Casey Stoner, Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen, USAC National Midget Series champion Jerry Coons Jr., USAC Sprint car driver Jon Stanbrough, F1 rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series runner-up Jeff Gordon.
In addition to Gurney and Fogarty's panel-selected nomination, five Rolex Series moments have been nominated for SPEED Performance Awards. Each of the additional awards will be decided by fan vote.
Among the two nominations this week was Paul Edwards' thrilling last lap battle with Dominik Farnbacher after 1000 kilometers of racing at Miller Motorsports Park in the season finale, which earned a nomination in the "Best Finish" category. Edwards and the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R held off a charging Farnbacher in the No. 85 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 after the two caught lapped traffic with just two corners remaining.
Scott Pruett, the 2004 Rolex Series Champion, earned a "Tell It Like It Is" nomination for his assessment of his battle with eventual champions Gurney and Fogarty at the season finale at Miller.
In addition, fans may still vote for previously announced Rolex Series stars in other categories. Gurney and Fogarty are nominated for the "Biggest Upset" after capturing a series-record seven victories on their way to the team and driver championships. Entering this season, the pair was searching for the first Daytona Prototype victory for themselves and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.
Max Papis and Max Angelelli are each nominated for separate events in the "Heart Brake" category of the SPEED Performance Awards. Papis' bittersweet nomination came during an exciting race in Mexico City. After battling with and trading places with Gurney throughout the race's late stages, Papis spun the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley while leading the race with only two laps remaining. He recovered to finish second while Gurney went on to capture his and Fogarty's first victory.
Angelelli had a chance to capture the Rolex Series Championship heading into the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park. A late race flat tire, however, turned Angelelli's No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley into a ball of flames, ending the 2005 co-champ's title hopes and earning the "Heart Brake" nomination.
Fans can vote and view videos of all of the nominations at www.speedtv.com/performanceawards.