The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association announced the Bob Russo Founders Award, to be presented annually to a member who has worked diligently to further the organization in its goals to represent the media who cover motor ...
The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association announced the Bob Russo Founders Award, to be presented annually to a member who has worked diligently to further the organization in its goals to represent the media who cover motor racing throughout the United States.
The award was announced by Bill Marvel who, together with Bob Russo, was one of the six founding members who established AAWRBA in 1955. Russo was a pioneer in modern reporting of open wheel motorsports, beginning with his coverage of a 100 mile race at Syracuse, New York, in 1949. Russo went on to a distinguished career in motorsports journalism and public relations, including working with Les Richter at Riverside Raceway and with Mickey Thompson Enterprises. He passed away in 1999, at the age of 71. AARWBA has gone on to become the largest organization of its type in the United States.
The first recipient of the award was Michael Knight. "I ran into a gypsy fortune teller who told me I would have a good surprise this month," commented Knight with a teasing smile. "The psychic was right, I just had a big surprise!"
The award is sponsored by Gary and Collene Campbell, the sister and brother-in-law of the late Mickey Thompson. "They are doing this because of Bob's efforts in racing and his work with Mickey Thompson Enterprises and Mickey would have sponsored it if he were here," said Bill Marvel, founding member of AAWRBA.
The award will take the form of a plaque bearing Russo's likeness, with plates for fifty winners in the coming years. It will be on display in the Media Center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Knight, a journalism graduate of Temple University and a member of the Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club, has had a long and honored career in motorsports journalism and public relations. He was CART's first full time Director of Communications. His work with drivers, past and present, includes open wheel stars Michael Andretti, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Paul Tracy, Gil De Ferran, and Robby Gordon, and NASCAR luminaries Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett and Johnny Benson.
The award will be formally presented on Saturday at the AAWRBA annual breakfast meeting.