CLEARWATER, FL (October 11) Herb Johnson, director of motorsports for BFGoodrich Tires, has been named the first recipient of the Chairman's Award by the Panoz/Sanchez Group and the Trans-Am Series.

"Once we decided that a prestigious award of this magnitude was long overdue in North American road racing, the difficulties and fun of a selection process began," said Panoz/Sanchez Group President Dennis Huth. "We were blessed with four very deserving candidates, but in every way Herb represented what we sought in an inaugural winner. His commitment to and vision of road racing has been apparent since the mid1980s," Huth continued.

Huth went on to say that Johnson was selected as both a representative of a company, BFGoodrich, that made a major commitment to Trans-Am years ago and stayed the course, and as an individual who is always available to provide guidance and counsel about the series and its bright future.

The popular Johnson, a BFGoodrich employee for 22 years, is a Malone College graduate with a wife, Cheryl, and two daughters.

In an emotional acceptance speech at the Trans-Am banquet that was held in conjunction with the recent Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, Johnson accepted the award on behalf of all the employees and management of BFGoodrich, "without whose commitment and dedication, all we do in motorsports would not be possible," he said.

Panoz/Sanchez Group holds the promotional and marketing rights to the Trans-Am Series. The Houston Trans-Am event will be aired on Speedvision, Saturday, October 13 at 2pm EST.