Gordon, Earnhardt, Martin nominated for ESPYs

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 17, 1998) Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, and Mark Martin headline key 1999 ESPY Award nominations announced recently. Gordon has been nominated for three separate awards including: Male Athlete of the Year, Showstopper of the Year, and Auto Racing Performer of the Year. He will face stiff competition from baseball sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and basketball great Michael Jordan for the Male Athlete of the Year award. Gordon's performance during the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season in tying the circuit record with 13 wins earned him the Showstopper of the Year nomination against hockey star Dominick Hasek, McGwire, and Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. Gordon and Martin both received nominations for the Auto Racing Performer of the Year award as well as open-wheeled racer Alex Zanardi. Earnhardt garnered an ESPY nomination for the Dramatic Individual Performance of the Year by nabbing his first Daytona 500 crown in 1998. He will match up against hurler David Wells, collegiate standout running back Ricky Williams, and rookie fireballer Kerry Woods. Nominees are chosen by the ESPY Select Nominating Committee, a blue-ribbon panel of sports executives, journalists, and retired athletes. Winners will be selected by the ESPY Finalist Committee made up of top athletes and ESPN/ABC personnel. Winners will be announced at the seventh annual ESPY Awards on ESPN Monday, Feb. 15, 1999 at 8 p.m. EST. The breakdown of the nominations involving NASCAR drivers is as follows:

AUTO RACING PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Mark Martin, NASCAR Alex Zanardi, CART

OUTSTANDING MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals

SHOWSTOPPER OF THE YEAR: Jeff Gordon ties NASCAR Winston Cup record with 13 wins in 1998 campaign Dominick Hasek of the Czech Republic beats Canada in an Olympic hockey shootout St. Louis Cardinals basher Mark McGwire breaks the all-time MLB home run record Victory Gallop wins the Belmont Stakes and ends Real Quiet's Triple Crown bid

DRAMATIC INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Dale Earnhardt wins the Daytona 500 David Wells pitches a perfect game for the New York Yankees University of Texas rusher Ricky Williams sets the all-time NCAA rushing record Kerry Wood strikes out 20 batters for the Chicago Cubs

Source: NASCAR Online