FORCE NOMINATED FOR ECONOMAKI CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS AWARD
YORBA LINDA, CA (November 30, 2010) -- 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force was announced as one of eleven finalists for the Economaki Champion of Champions award today. The award presented by National Speed Sport News will announce the winner in its year-end issue due December 15. Force is one of two drag racers nominated. He is joined on the finalist list by fellow Full Throttle champion Larry Dixon.
"This is a huge honor. Anytime your name is mentioned along with a name like Economaki that is a big deal. I am excited to be nominated with Larry Dixon. I know he had a great season so did Jimmie Johnson who just won his fifth NASCAR championship in a row. I saw Jimmie in Homestead and I wished him luck before the race. He is a great champion and when you look at the list of finalists National Speed Sport News has a tough call to make. I am glad they are making the decision and not me," said Force.
The award is annually given to the North American racing champion judged to have had the best season on and off the track. It is named after legendary motorsports journalist and publisher Chris Economaki who began editing National Speed Sport News in 1950. National Speed Sport Newsis often and accurately described as "The bible of Motorsports." It is the weekly must-read for serious fans, drivers and crew, and industry leaders alike.
The NSSN staff selected 11 deserving finalists for this year's honor, which goes to the champion who is judged to provide the best combination of on-track success and dedication to the sport.
NASCAR 2010 Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is the only former winner of the award nominated this season. NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher is the only two-time winner of the honor and other winners are Johnson, J.J. Yeley, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz and Kyle Busch.
The eleven finalists are presented below:
John Force -- NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Funny Car
The 61-year-old veteran Funny Car racer made his case for the championship, rallying from 37 points behind entering the season finale at Pomona, Calif., to win the event -- his sixth victory of the season -- and secure his 15th NHRA Funny Car championship.
Larry Dixon -- NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Top Fuel
After losing the championship by two points in 2009, Dixon and his Al-Anabi Top Fuel team were the dominant force in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Dixon earned his third Top Fuel championship after winning 12 times and dethroning six-time defending champion Tony Schumacher.
Jimmie Johnson -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Johnson won six races en route to his fifth-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. But he did it in unusual Johnson fashion, rallying from 33 points behind with two races to go to claim the title. Johnson was the 2006 winner of the Economaki Champion of Champions.
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas -- Grand Am Rolex Series
Fifty-year-old Pruett teamed with Rojas to win nine of the 12 Grand Am Rolex Series races and picked up his third series championship for Chip Ganassi Racing. Pruett/Rojas finished outside the top two only once all season.
Tim Shaffer -- O'Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions
Shaffer charged to his second-straight O'Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions title on the strength of 16 All Star triumphs. Shaffer, however, won 21 overall feature events, including his popular victory in the 50th annual Knoxville Nationals. He also won a World of Outlaws feature.
Jason Meyers -- World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series
Meyers swept the final two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series races of the season during the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte to cap off his first championship in style. Meyers drove his Elite Racing No. 14 to 12 triumphs along the way.
Scott Bloomquist -- Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
The veteran late-model racer earned his second-straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship and his eighth overall championship on the strength of nine victories in Lucas competition alone. Bloomquist also posted the 500th victory of his illustrious career.
Dario Franchitti -- IZOD IndyCar Series
Franchitti picked up his second-straight and third overall IZOD IndyCar Series championship in the past four seasons. Though he won only three times during the 17-race campaign, one of the victories was his second in the world's most famous race -- the Indianapolis 500.
Levi Jones -- USAC Sprint Car, Silver Crown Series
Jones tied Steve Butler with his fourth-career USAC National Sprint Car Series championship, but also added his first Silver Crown title to the mix and narrowly missed winning the USAC National Driver's Championship. He won eight sprint-car races and two in the Silver Crown division.
Bryan Clauson -- USAC Mopar National Midget Series
Clauson earned the USAC Mopar National Midget Series title and claimed the inaugural USAC National Driver's Championship to earn a ride in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Clauson won six midget races -- including the Turkey Night Grand Prix -- three sprint-car events and one in the Silver Crown Series. Clauson also earned the National Midget Driver of the Year award.
Chip Ganassi -- IZOD IndyCar, NASCAR, Grand Am
The first team owner nominated for this award, we did not think Ganassi's unique season could be overlooked. Ganassi's cars won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. As well, he claimed the IZOD IndyCar Series championship with Franchitti and the Grand Am Rolex Series crown with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.