Job well done -- Kyle and Pattie Petty receive Myers Brothers Award
Champions say cheese -- Kurt Busch joins other NASCAR titlists for signature photo
NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2004) -- Giving back is a Petty family theme, but on Friday, Kyle Petty (No. 45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge) and his wife Pattie got a little something in return.
That little "something" carries a lot of prestige. During the Myers Brothers Breakfast at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, Kyle and Pattie received the 45th annual Myers Brothers Award for their Victory Junction Gang Camp -- a recreational retreat for children with life-threatening illness in Randleman, N.C. A labor of love that honors the Pettys' late son Adam, the camp opened this summer.
Voted upon by National Motorsports Press Association members, the Myers Brothers Award honors outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing. The Myers Brothers Breakfast, hosted by the NMPA and Sunoco, is the first stop of the day on Friday during Champion's Week. The early-morning gathering also is where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season-ending contingency award winners are honored.
Later Friday evening, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Tools Ford) will be formally crowned during the annual awards ceremony in the Waldorf=Astoria's Grand Ballroom. But earlier in the day, on the Waldorf's historic 18th-floor Starlight Roof, the Pettys were honored for their ceaseless efforts to offer fun and recreation to seriously-ill children.
"There's no way, I think, that we could have brought in the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we have without the help of everyone in this room," said Pattie Petty, who accepted the Myers Brothers Award.
The morning's most poignant moment came when Diane Dorton accepted the Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award for her late husband, Randy Dorton, one of 10 Hendrick Motorsports employees killed in an Oct. 24 team plane crash; Dorton oversaw Hendrick Motorsports' engine department.
"Randy probably would be the first to say that he shouldn't be up here accepting this award," said Diane Dorton, who also accepted a $77,000 check on behalf of HMS engine-builders. "He would want all 105 of his specialists to do that."
Leading off the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver honorees was Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge), who received his third consecutive Bud Pole Award ($100,000).
"I really look forward to the new year and making it four-in-a-row in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," Newman said.
Also recognized was Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), who won his second consecutive Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. Earnhardt Jr. joked that "I've been trying to make this a lunch for two years in a row, now." He also won $100,000 for the Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year Award. Other Myers Brothers Breakfast award winners include:
• Tony Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) won $85,000 for the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award. He also won the USG Driver of the Year Award, which allocates $50,000 to the winner and $50,000 to the charity of the winner's choice; Stewart immediately announced he would donate his portion of the award to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
• Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) was the third driver to win two awards Friday. He won $75,000 for the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award and $75,000 for the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award. Gordon, who was unable to attend Friday's breakfast, was represented by his crew chief, Robbie Loomis.
• The 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch, won $75,000 for the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award.
• Busch's Roush Racing teammate, the 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford), won $75,000 for the Waste Management Picking up Places Award.
• Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) won $75,000 for the Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Favorite Driver of the Year Award. Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, accepted $75,000 and the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award, an honor voted upon by other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series pit crews.
• Stewart's No. 20 team won $200,000 for the McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship Award. The team's pit-crew coach, Paul Alepa, accepted the award.
NASCAR champions pose for commemorative photo ... Following the Myers Brothers Breakfast, Kurt Busch joined NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr., NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion Greg Pursley, Busch North Series champion Andy Santerre, West Series champion Mike Duncan, Midwest Series champion Justin Diercks, Northwest Series champion Jeff Jefferson, Southeast Series champion Jeff Fultz, Southwest Series champion Jim Pettit II and Featherlite Modified Series champion Tony Hirschman for a special photo at New York's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The once-a-year gathering of current NASCAR champions took place aboard the former U.S.S. Intrepid, with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
What: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
Where: Grand Ballroom, Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, New York City.
When: 7-10:30 p.m. (ET). Friday, Dec. 3.
TV: TNT, 9 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Kurt Busch 6,506. 2. Jimmie Johnson 6,498. 3. Jeff Gordon 6,490. 4. Mark Martin 6,399. 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6,368. 6. Tony Stewart 6,326. 7. Ryan Newman 6,180. 8. Matt Kenseth 6,069. 9. Elliott Sadler 6,024. 10. Jeremy Mayfield 6,000.
11th-place driver: Jamie McMurray.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Kasey Kahne.
Special Guest: Comedian Jay Mohr, host of NBC's "Last Comic Standing."
Musical Entertainment: Scott Stapp, former lead singer of Creed, and R&B vocalist Brian McKnight.