LAKELAND, FL (December 22) -- Five prominent race drivers were selected by thousands of race fans in the first annual "Open Wheel Magazine Driver of the Year" balloting. The poll is unique in that the selection process is based solely on...
LAKELAND, FL (December 22) -- Five prominent race drivers were selected by thousands of race fans in the first annual "Open Wheel Magazine Driver of the Year" balloting. The poll is unique in that the selection process is based solely on votes directly from race fans.
"When we announced the program this past spring, we weren't really sure how interested the fans would be," admitted Open Wheel editor Doug Auld. "But toward the end of the season it was obvious people wanted to be a part of this, because we were flooded with ballots. And as it turns out, the fans made some excellent choices in each of the categories."
Sixteen-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser was selected as the Overall Driver of the Year, as well as leading the 410ci Winged Sprints category. Kinser captured the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series title in 2000, winning 10 feature events in the process.
Veteran Jim Childers topped the 360ci Winged Sprint Car category. Childers was the champion of the Florida-based TBARA series, winning five feature events en route to the title. Childers also won his third Little 500 sprint car classic in May at Indiana's Anderson Speedway, earning over $35,000.
Jay Drake led the voting in the Non-Winged Sprint Car category. Drake had a spectacular season in 2000, tying A.J. Foyt's single- season record of 19 overall wins in USAC competition. Drake won 26 races in 2000, including 14 sprint car features, and was a close runner-up for the USAC Stoops Freightliner sprint car title.
Twenty-year-old Kasey Kahne earned top honors in the Midget Racing category. Kahne was the USAC MCI WorldCom midget champion, and won several prominent midget events including the Night Before the 500, the 4-Crown Nationals and the Belleville Nationals. Kahne was the youngest USAC National champion since 1990.
Sarah Fisher, a 20-year-old sensation from Commercial Point, Ohio, led the balloting in the Indy Racing League category. Fisher, who spent several seasons as a teenager driving midgets and sprint cars in the Midwest, just completed her first full season in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, finishing 18th in the final standings. She became the youngest woman in history to qualify for the Indy 500 in May (19), and is also the third-youngest driver in history to qualify for the 500.