TheRaceSite.com Announces 2004 Award Winners
TheRaceSite.com asked all season long teams, all officials, and a long list of members of the media to vote on the 2004 TheRaceSite.com awards. The results have been tabulated and the final awards have been announced. The award categories included Rising Star Awards in all classes of Grand American Rolex and Grand Am Cup, Crew Chief of the Year Awards in all classes of Grand American Rolex and Grand Am Cup, and Paint Scheme of the Year in Grand American Rolex and Grand Am Cup.
These awards have been given out in the past from TheRaceSite.com for the Grand Am Cup series, but in 2004 the awards have expanded to the Rolex Series.
The Rising Star Award is voted on upon the basis that these drivers are on their way to becoming stars in the sportscar racing world. Past champions of a professional North American series and past winners of a TheRaceSite.com Rising Star Award were not eligible.
Grand American Rolex Daytona Prototype Rising Star (Tie):
Max Angelelli (SunTrust) and Oswaldo Negri, Jr. (Michael Shank Racing)
Max Angelelli helped lead the SunTrust Racing effort to a second place finish in the Grand Am Rolex points. Italian born, Angelelli has enjoyed success across the Atlantic but the 2004 season was a breakout season for him in the states. Three wins in the Grand Am Rolex Daytona Prototypes as well as success in the World Challenge GT class gave Angelelli recognition for his talents in the states. The 2005 season looks to be strong for the aggressive Italian as he will be back with SunTrust Racing in a new DP in their bid for the 2005 title.
Oswaldo Negri Jr. didn't score a win in 2004 but proved very talented with two podium finishes in the Michael Shank Racing Doran. Paired with Burt Frisselle, Negri also drove with ferociousness to place himself and Frisselle twelfth in the Driver's Championship. Silly season movements have seen Frisselle move to Synergy Racing to pair with his brother in a DP leaving Negri temporarily without a ride, a situation that probably won't last for this talented Brazilian.
Grand American Rolex GT Rising Star:
Justin Marks (Team PTG)
Driving for Team PTG, Justin Marks scored four wins and took third place in the Championship. Marks started out the season paired with fellow rookie Joey Hand. Midseason he got the opportunity to pair with veteran Bill Auberlen. Marks found success in both the GT class and the World Challenge Touring class. The future looks bright for this young American as he looks to be back with PTG next season and his efforts with Turner may expand next year to other opportunities.
Grand American Rolex Super Grand Sport Rising Star:
Craig Stanton (AASCO, Planet Earth, G&W Motorsports)
Driving for various teams through the 2004 season, Criag Stanton had a break out season. Stanton found success in the Rolex Series, the Grand Am Cup series, and the GT class of ALMS. Early in the Rolex season Stanton won a race and scored a second place finish with the AASCO effort. Later in the season Stanton took on the role of driving instructor for the young driver Mae Van Wijk scoring her a season high fourth place finish as her co-driver.
Grand Am Cup Grand Sport Rising Star:
Craig Stanton (TheRaceSite.com Racing)
Voters proved that they thought Stanton is a star on the rise as they named him the Rising Star in two different classes. Driving for TheRaceSite.com Racing in Grand Am Cup, Craig Stanton had a career season. Stanton started the season out with Terry Borcheller and the duo won the first three races together. In the fourth race Stanton found himself paired with long time teammate David Murry and the duo went on to win three more races. The total of six wins and two poles scored Stanton the Driver Championship, his first professional title.
Grand Am Cup Sport Touring Rising Star:
Will Turner (Turner Motorsports)
With the dual role of both Team Owner and Driver, Will Turner had very busy weekends. In addition Turner also ran a World Challenge Touring effort that scored Bill Auberlen the Driver's Championship. In Grand Am Cup Turner and his co-driver Don Salama missed out on the Drivers title by the slimmest of margins to the SpeedSource effort. Turner's performances in his BMW didn't go unnoticed as his peers named him the Rising Star in the Sport Touring class.
The Crew Chief of the Year award doesn't necessarily go to the team with the most success, but rather to the Crew Chief that utilized the resources available to their team to get the most success out of the vehicle package they had to work with.
Grand Am Rolex Daytona Prototype Crew Chief of the Year:
Kent Holden (#01 CompUSA)
When the 2004 season started everyone expected CompUSA to be a force in the Grand Am Rolex Series. With ownership shared by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, it seemed as if the team would be a sure thing to win races. However even with the right budget and equipment, no team can have success without the right people behind the project. Coming into a new situation with no previous Daytona Prototype experience for the team, Kent helped Scott Pruett and Max Papis win eleven pole positions, three wins, and the DP Championship in the CompUSA Riley and Scott Lexus.
Grand Am Rolex GT Crew Chief of the Year:
Pascal Bussy (Orbit Racing)
The Crew Chief award is supposed to go to the person who utilized their resources to secure the highest level of performance from their team. Orbit Racing certainly didn't have the largest budget, but they certainly scored success on the track. The 2000 Porsche Cup Champion, Mike Fitzgerald, led the driving lineup that included the progressing talents of Jay Policastro and Joe Policastro. Bussy helped lead the team to a GT class win at the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, three podiums, and five top fives. In a season dominated by the factory backed BMW effort, the results from Orbit Racing were enough to earn Pascal Bussy the Rolex GT Crew Chief of the Year from his peers.
Grand Am Rolex Super Grand Sport Crew Chief of the Year:
Tom Chan (TPC Racing)
TPC Racing had a banner year in Super Grand Sport this season. The team ran three Porsche GT3 Cups all season long (except for the 24 Hours). Every one of the three cars won and the team ended up with seven wins, twenty three podiums, and the Team, Driver, and Manufacturer Championship. The success of the TPC Racing effort was recognized by their peers as the team earned the Super Grand Sport Crew Chief of the Year Award for Tom Chan.
Grand Am Cup Grand Sport Crew Chief of the Year:
Mike Thomas (TheRaceSite.com Racing)
The Phoenix ProMotions effort ran the Grand Am Cup TheRaceSite.com Racing Porsche effort as well as the Grand Am Rolex Orison Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche effort. By season end the team had racked up sixty seven entries in the two series and their Grand Am Cup effort scored the Driver, Team, and Manufacturer Championship. Thomas has been with the team since 1993 and has helped lead the team to five of the team's seven professional Team Championships since the team inception in 1984.
Grand Am Cup Sport Touring Crew Chief of the Year:
Bobby Khavidi (SpeedSource Race Engineering)
SpeedSource Race Engineering entered the 2004 season with thoughts of winning races and visions of a Championship. With a brand new Mazda RX-8 that needed developing, the Florida based effort embarked upon a season long venture that saw them wrap up the Driver Championship in the last race of the season. Four wins and a reputation of reliability in their first year with the rotary Renesis engine helped earn Khavadi the Sport Touring Crew Chief of the Year.
The Best Paint Scheme of the Year Award was voted on by teams, members of the media, and series officials as well. The voting was very tight in this category as the Rolex winner had only one vote more than the three way tie for second and in Grand Am Cup the winner only had two more votes than second.
Grand Am Rolex Best Paint Scheme:
Orison Planet Earth Motorsports
Sporting the earth on the Porsche silhouette, the Orison Planet Earth Motorsports effort's Porsche GT3 Cup won the Grand Am Rolex Best Paint Scheme Award. The effort finished in first only one vote ahead of a three way tie for second that included Brumos Racing, CompUSA, and TPC Racing. The scheme was the brainchild of Will Nonnamaker and has been in the sportscar racing world since 1996 when it debuted on the team's Mazda MX-6.
Grand Am Cup Best Paint Scheme:
With a distinctive Black and Red car combined with a lightening bolt on the side of the car, TheRaceSite.com Racing took home the Grand Am Cup Best Paint Scheme. With only two more votes than past winner of the award, SpeedSource Race Engineering, the voting was tight in the Grand Am Cup series as well.
With the 2005 season coming less than six weeks from now the coming season will be an exciting and challenging one for teams and drivers. Increased competition in every class of the two series will force teams to double their development efforts in the off season if they want to stay on top. The Grand American Rolex and Grand Am Cup season get kicked off at the newly renovated Daytona International Speedway on February 4th through the 6th.