CHAMPCAR/CART: Second quarter "Driver of the Year" report

Dixon receives 2nd quarter Driver Of The Year vote. Larry Dixon, who has been tearing up the quarter-mile tracks in the NHRA top fuel division in drag racing, edged NASCAR rookie Jimmie Johnson in close voting for the second Quarter 2002 DRIVER...

Dixon receives 2nd quarter Driver Of The Year vote.

Larry Dixon, who has been tearing up the quarter-mile tracks in the NHRA top fuel division in drag racing, edged NASCAR rookie Jimmie Johnson in close voting for the second Quarter 2002 DRIVER OF THE YEAR.

Dixon, 35, driving for legendary Don "the Snake" Prudhomme in the Miller Lite car has amassed a dominant record, with four wins and two runner-up finishes in six events during the second quarter. As a result he has a commanding lead in the PowerAde NHRA standings. He collected eight first place votes and totaled 96 points in the DRIVER OF THE YEAR balloting.

Johnson, driving the Lowe's Chevrolet, won two races and one pole and is fourth in the Winston Cup Standings. With six first place votes, he totaled 88 points. Indianapolis 500 winner and current Indy Racing League points leader Helio Castroneves, driving the Marlboro Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, was third in the voting with 69 points.

Explaining his accomplishments this year Dixon said, "It's a byproduct of last season" when he narrowly lost the championship when it went down to the semi-final round of the final event. He noted that the team has improved and "I'm driving a little better, not a lot better. For me it's a reflection on how well the team has performed."

Not since John Force won the 1996 DRIVER OF THE YEAR Award has someone from the NHRA had a similar result in the voting.

"I'm very proud we got a drag racer to win the second Quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR," he said adding, "That says a lot for the growth of our sport. I'm kind of waving the banner for drag racing, pumping it up."

Pumping up? More like blowing away the competition.

No other driver in his series has had a start like he has, and during the second quarter voting period, his record is 22 wins to 2 losses out of 24 total rounds of competition. His results work out to an eye-popping batting average of .916 for the second quarter and .905 for the first half of the year. Overall he's got a comfortable points lead.

Dixon is one driver not content with his statistics. "We've had an unbelievable start, but that's history. Now the focus is on the second half of the season," he said.

The DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique because it is the only American award that encompasses all of the racing series here. A blue-ribbon panel of 16 leading journalists from across the United States and a fan vote on ESPN.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis.

CART points leader Cristiano da Matta finished fourth, followed by World of Outlaws driver Steve Kinser in fifth. Winston Cup driver, Tony Stewart was sixth. A total of 21 drivers received votes.

President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.

Further information on the award may be obtained from the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation.

-DotYf-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force , Helio Castroneves , Jimmie Johnson , Steve Kinser , Cristiano da Matta