Jarrett named Spirit Award nominee

HARRISBURG, N.C. (Dec. 7, 1998) NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett has been selected as the fourth-quarter nominee for the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA)/Pocono Spirit Award.

Now in its sixth year, the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize sportsmanship, determination, extraordinary performance in the face of adversity, consideration of others and the promotion of motor sports. During the 1998 season, four quarterly nominees were selected by the membership of the NMPA. The annual winner will be announced at the association's banquet Jan. 17.

Jarrett was selected after he drove the 1998 season's last two races with severe pain due to gallbladder problems. Although this condition made him ill throughout the season, Jarrett posted three wins and 19 top-five finishes to finish third in the final NASCAR Winston Cup points standings.

"Dale Jarrett's efforts in 1998, despite a season-loong bout with health problems exemplify his strong competitiveness and determination despite adversity, which is paramount to the meaning of the NMPA Spirit Award," said Steve Waid, president of NMPA.

Jarrett was so ill during the Dura Lube/Kmart 500 at Phoenix International Raceway that he was airlifted to a local hospital. However, he returned to complete the season, finishing second one week later in the AC Delco 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Jarrett had surgery after the season to remove his gallbladder.

Other nominees for the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award this year are Dale Earnhardt, Junie Donlavey and Mark Martin. Past winners of the NMPA Spirit Award include Davey Allison and the Allison family in 1992, the families of Allison and Alan Kulwicki as co-winners in 1993, Ernie Irvan in 1994 and 1995, Dale Earnhardt in 1996, and Dave Marcis in 1997.

Source: NASCAR Online