Rolex Series Drivers Sweep First Team Honors in Road Racing Category of AARWBA All-America Team DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 10, 2005) -- As part of the largest team in the history of the American Auto Racing Writers and ...
Rolex Series Drivers Sweep First Team Honors in Road Racing Category of AARWBA All-America Team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 10, 2005) -- As part of the largest team in the history of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America Team, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series drivers Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz swept the 2005 First Team selections in the road racing category. The 2005 AARWBA All-America Team will be honored in a banquet next month in Indianapolis.
Founded in 1955 in Indianapolis, AARWBA is the oldest and largest association of auto racing media, and has reached the stature of football and baseball press associations. AARWBA has grown to more than 400 members, which annually elects an All-America Team honoring each year's top auto racing performers. Since 1970, AARWBA has selected two representatives from Road Racing, Open Wheel, Stock Car, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large categories to make up each year's All-America Team.
No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers Taylor and Angelelli earned First Team honors--and were the top vote-getters in the Road Racing category--on the strength of their 2005 Daytona Prototype championship-winning performance. The duo claimed five victories in the 2005 season, including a victory in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona against a field of sports car stars as well as NASCAR, Indy Racing League and Champ Car champions. It was the first time that either driver was selected to the First Team, and was the second time Taylor had been selected to the All-America Team. He earned Second Team honors in 1996, when he won his first Rolex 24 At Daytona and the IMSA World Sports Car championship.
Pruett and Diaz, who co-drove the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to three victories in 2005, were also selected to the First Team. The duo tied for third in the 2005 Daytona Prototype driver standings with a total of eight podium finishes and 13 top-seven performances in 14 races.
It was the second consecutive year that Pruett--the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion--was selected to the First Team and was Pruett's seventh First Team selection overall. He also earned Second Team honors in 1989 and Honorable Mention in 1989. It was Diaz's first-ever selection to the All-America Team, and the second-year Rolex Series pilot became the first Mexican driver to be selected to the team in its 36-year existence.
"We're obviously delighted that our drivers swept the Road Racing First Team on the 2005 AARWBA All-America Team," said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson. "We strongly believe that the Rolex Series provides the closest and most competitive road racing anywhere in the world, and we are proud that the media has recognized that by honoring four of our drivers on the First Team. On behalf of the entire Grand American community, I extend my congratulations to Wayne, Max, Scott and Luis--as well as the other members of the All-America Team--on a job well done."
Jorg Bergmeister--who was the full-time driver of the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley in 2005--and Patrick Long, who made seven Rolex Series starts in 2005, were also selected to the First Team in the At Large category. Earning At Large Second Team Honors were David Haskell and Sylvain Tremblay, who co-drove the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 to five Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring (ST) class victories in 10 starts en route to the ST team championship.
Other members of the First Team to have Rolex Series ties include NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship contenders Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, back-to-back Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais and 2005 IRL IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Stewart made three Rolex Series starts in 2005, earning a best result of third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona alongside No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford co-drivers Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers. Johnson made his lone Rolex Series appearance in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and finished second with No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford co-drivers Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson, also with Howard-Boss Motorsports.
Bourdais and Wheldon also opened their 2005 racing seasons in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Bourdais shared the No. 79 Pixar/Newman Racing Ford Crawford with team owner and Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman, 2002 Champ Car champion Cristiano da Matta and long-time sports car competitor Michael Brockman. Wheldon co-drove the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with his 2005 Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti, three-time Rolex Series race winner Milka Duno, and accomplished sports car pilot Marino Franchitti.
Stewart and Johnson were selected to the First Team as representatives of Stock Car racing, while Bourdais and Wheldon earned First Team honors in the Open Wheel category.
Since last year, AARWBA has listed sports car co-drivers with virtually identical records on the ballot as one. As a result the 17-member First Team is the largest in All-America Team history. Also earning places on the First Team are John Force and Tony Schumacher from Drag Racing, Steve Kinser and Dave Steele representing Short Track racing, Frank Kimmel and Martin Truex Jr. in the Touring Series category, and Rob MacCachren in At Large.
The All-America Team will be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet in Indianapolis on December 3. At the banquet, the driver who received the most votes will earn the prestigious Jerry Titus Award, which is the auto racing equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. The All-America Banquet is open to the public, and more information is available via e-mail to email@example.com or by calling (818) 842-7005.
The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. The 14-race 2006 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.