Roth/PDM Racing's Duman Earns Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 27, 2005) -- Rick Duman acquired a vast knowledge in racing growing up in the sport and working alongside some of the greats.
Duman's father competed in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on five occasions in the 1960s. He's worked on pit crews with legends like Gurney, Unser, Sneva and Foyt. He once gleaned experience on a crew headed by legendary chief mechanic Clint Brawner.
Duman put all that education to the test this month in steering Marty Roth and the Roth Racing/PDM Racing entry into the field for this year's 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. For his efforts, Duman has been awarded the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award from the Clint Brawner Foundatin. Firestone Racing underwrites the award that includes a $5,000 check, plaque and the winner's name engraved on a trophy permanently housed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
The Brawner award honors the chief mechanic on winning cars in 51 AAA- and USAC-sanctioned national championship races, and six season champions. It annually rewards a chief mechanic at Indy who "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its namesake.
Having worked with Brawner on Al Loquasto's car in 1977, Duman was thrilled to learn he'd become the award's 19th recipient.
"It means a lot to me," said Duman, 48, who grew up in the shadow of IMS. "I worked with many of the previous winners of the Brawner award and I looked up to all of them. To be named with them is a great honor for me. I can't thank the Brawner Foundation and Firestone enough."
Roth qualified last weekend in the middle of row 10 with a four-lap average speed of 219.497 mph. It culminated a hectic two weeks for the crew guided by Duman. The team received its Chevrolet engine a precious few days before practice opened and had to hastily convert its Dallara chassis that held a Toyota the year before. Nonetheless, Roth quietly built up to speed in practice and safely "put it in the show" on May 21.
"Rick definitely earned the Brawner award," said Page Mader, General Manager of Race Tire Development at Firestone Racing, who presented Duman the award today. "This small-budget team came together late and still had a smooth month under Rick's guidance. This honor serves to commend Rick and the whole crew."
For Duman, who's also guiding Roth's effort in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, it provided a brief moment to catch his breath and enjoy the moment. He's worked both on high-financed, multi-car teams and shoestring budget affairs like the Roth/PDM union.
"It's a lot more difficult with a one-car team like this," Duman said, "but it's also a lot more fun. You're not just a number here. Everybody looks out for one another. You've only got four or five guys so everybody pitches in. I just love the adversity, I think.
"When I worked with Clint in '77, it was great," added Duman, whose father Ronnie drove at Indy from 1964-68 before tragically dying in a crash at Milwaukee. "It was on a small team like this and I learned so much from him, so to win the Brawner award now is kind of fitting."
<pre> Past Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award Recipients
1987 John Buttera 1996 Billy Bignotti 1988 Phil Krueger 1997 Mark Weida 1989 Galen Fox 1998 Brad McCanless 1990 Dale Coyne 1999 Kevin Hertle 1991 Darrel Soppe 2000 Paul Murphy 1992 Bernie Myers 2001 Tom Bose 1993 Phil Casey 2002 Jamie Nanny 1994 Craig Baranouski 2003 Dan Miller 1995 Greg Beck 2004 Butch Winkle