Series announces Future Award nominees

FOUR ROOKIE DRIVERS HEADLINE NOMINEES FOR 2009 AUTO CLUB ROAD TO THE FUTURE AWARD GLENDORA, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2009) -- Four NHRA rookie drivers, representative of three pro categories, have been selected as nominees for the 2009 ...

FOUR ROOKIE DRIVERS HEADLINE NOMINEES FOR 2009 AUTO CLUB ROAD TO THE FUTURE AWARD

GLENDORA, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2009) -- Four NHRA rookie drivers, representative of three pro categories, have been selected as nominees for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, it was announced today by officials from NHRA and the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The nominees for the prestigious award include, in alphabetical order, Matt Hagan (Funny Car); Doug Horne (Pro Stock Motorcycle); Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel); and Spencer Massey (Top Fuel).

The award, which recognizes the top rookie competitor in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and offers a $20,000 prize and traditional trophy to the winner, will be presented during NHRA's annual championship awards ceremony on Monday, Nov. 16 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

"For more than 100 years the Automobile Club of Southern California has represented outstanding commitment and professionalism to our millions of members. The Road to the Future Award has come to symbolize these same attributes in the sport of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing," said Thomas V. McKernan, chief executive officer of the Automobile Club of Southern California. "To be nominated recognizes not only that a rookie driver had a noteworthy first season, but also that they demonstrated exceptional potential for the future. We congratulate all four of the nominees for this year's award and look forward to enjoying their achievements both on and off the race track for many years to come."

Hagan, 26, from Christiansburg, Va., drove his Valvoline/Shelor.com Dodge Charger to runner-up finishes at Las Vegas 1 and Charlotte. He also posted a No. 1 qualifying effort at Sonoma.

Horne, 21, from Aberdeen, Md., rode his Horne Concrete Buell to back-to-back runner-up finishes at Houston and Atlanta and claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of his career at Chicago. He qualified for the Countdown to 1 in Pro Stock Motorcycle and is currently sixth in the point standings with two bike races remaining.

Langdon, 27, from Mira Loma, Calif., powered his Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster to a runner-up finish at Charlotte and a No. 1 qualifying performance at Las Vegas 1. Langdon qualified for the Countdown to 1 in Top Fuel and is currently sixth overall in the standings with three races to go.

Massey, 27, from Fort Worth, Texas, raced to three final rounds, including a victory at Chicago, in his U.S. Smokeless dragster. Massey was the No. 1 qualifier at Atlanta and went on to post a runner-up finish at that event. He also was runner-up at Reading. He qualified for the Countdown to 1 and is currently eight in the point standings with three races to go.

In 2002 the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award and the NHRA Rookie of the Year Award were combined to create one award recognizing the future stars of the sport. Past winners of the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award have developed into some of NHRA's biggest stars, including Tony Pedregon (1996, Funny Car), Ron Capps (1997, Funny Car), Doug Kalitta (1998, Top Fuel), Antron Brown (1999, Pro Stock Motorcycle), Melanie Troxel (2000, Top Fuel), GT Tonglet (2001, Pro Stock Motorcycle), Gene Wilson (2002, Pro Stock); Brandon Bernstein (2003, Top Fuel); Jason Line (2004, Pro Stock); Robert Hight (2005, Funny Car); J.R. Todd (2006, Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (2007, Funny Car); and Mike Neff (2008, Funny Car).

NHRA Rookie of the Year winners prior to the merger of the two awards included the late Darrell Russell (2001, Top Fuel), Don Lampus (2000, Top Fuel), Scotty Cannon (1999, Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (1998, Pro Stock), Gary Scelzi (1997, Top Fuel) and co-winners in 1996, Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Rookie drivers in all four of NHRA's professional categories are eligible to win the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award. More than 125 of the nation's most distinguished auto racing journalists will select the winner through a voting system based on the following criteria: number of events participated, performance on and off the race track, participation in NHRA promotions and relationships with fans, sponsors and media.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Scotty Cannon , Ashley Force , Brandon Bernstein , Don Lampus , Jason Line , GT Tonglet , Robert Hight , J.R. Todd , Matt Hagan , Shawn Langdon , Mike Neff , Spencer Massey