Top Sportsman awards announced

Grala and Nonnamaker Leave Mexico City as Top Sportsman Drivers; Claim Jim Trueman & Bob Akin Awards DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 8, 2005) -- As the Rolex Sports Car Series wrapped up an outstanding 2005 season in La Gran Final de la...

Grala and Nonnamaker Leave Mexico City as Top Sportsman Drivers; Claim Jim Trueman & Bob Akin Awards

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 8, 2005) -- As the Rolex Sports Car Series wrapped up an outstanding 2005 season in La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car last weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Darius Grala and Will Nonnamaker emerged from Grand American Road Racing's first trip south of the border as sports car racing's top sportsman drivers, claiming the inaugural Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards, respectively.

Grala, co-driving with Shane Lewis throughout the season, powered the No. 3 PAP-Parts/OZEXE BMW Riley for Southard Motorsports to a 13th-place finish during two separate stints in Mexico City to edge Doug Goad in the No. 09 Sprit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford by six points in the final Jim Trueman Award standings (3,707-3,701). JC France, who co-drove the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar with legendary sports car driver Hurley Haywood, finished third with 3,513 points.

Grala drove in all 14 Rolex Series races in 2005, finishing in the top-11 positions six times. His best finishes were a sixth-place run at Virginia International Raceway in October and an eighth-place result at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. The eight laps he drove in his second stint in Mexico City gave him enough points to win the award.

Nonnamaker shared the No. 81 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup with eventual GT class champion Craig Stanton in Mexico City, and with 4,778 Bob Akin Award points, bested Marc Bunting--co-driver of the GT team champion No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R--by 114 points. Nonnamaker finished seventh in class in the season finale, equaling his best result of the year.

Nonnamaker drove most of the season with Team Sahlen, and logged eight top-10 GT class finishes. He also finished seventh in Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June, the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in July and in the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen in September. Jim Tafel Jr., co-driver of the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, finished third in the Bob Akin Award standings with 3,324 points.

The Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards recognize individuals in the Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring classes who, while not professional drivers, have established their driving credentials in the racing community through their talent and commitment to the sport. The Jim Trueman Award is presented to the top Daytona Prototype sportsman driver, while the Bob Akin Award goes to the top sportsman driver in the GT category. Drivers earn points based upon their car's finishing position as well as accumulating one point for each mile driven. Only drivers whose primary income does not come from racing are eligible for the awards.

Trueman, a legendary sports car racer, was the driving force behind the rejuvenation and renovation of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course--where the Rolex Series visited in August--buying the course in 1981 and turning it into a world-renowned circuit. Trueman's daughter, Michelle Trueman-Gajoch, owns and operates the track today.

Akin was also a passionate racer, recording victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1979 and 1986, in addition to numerous other IMSA Camel GTX and GTP victories. He was also the president of the Hudson Wire Company and was a board member and president of Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y.

<pre> Jim Trueman Award -- Final Standings 1. Darius Grala 3,707 2. Doug Goad 3,701 3. JC France 3,513 4. Tracy Krohn 3,186 5. Hugo Guenette 3,027 6. Bob Stallings 2,137 7. Paul Mears Jr. 1,761 8. Justin Pruskowski 661 9. Jacques Guenette Sr. 496 10. Joe Pruskowski 440 11. Zach Arnold 360 12. Rick Skelton 123

Bob Akin Award -- Final Standings 1. Will Nonnamaker 4,778 2. Marc Bunting 4,664 3. Jim Tafel Jr. 3,324 4. Mae Van Wijk 3,241 5. Michael Levitas 2,462 6. Steve Johnson 2,446 7. Joe Nonnamaker 2,092 8. Manuel Matos 1,827 9. John Littlechild 1,761 10. Mike Weinberg 1,589 11. Zach Arnold 1,077 12. Tom Soriano 993 13. Michael Baughman 413

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Hugo Guénette , Jacques Guénette , Shane Lewis , Darius Grala , Will Nonnamaker , Joe Nonnamaker , Doug Goad , JC France , Joe Pruskowski , Justin Pruskowski , Michael Levitas , Craig Stanton , Paul Mears Jr. , Michael Baughman , John Littlechild , Marc Bunting , Rick Skelton , Mae Van Wijk , Tracy Krohn , Manuel Matos , Zach Arnold , Steve Johnson , Jim Tafel , Bob Akin , Bob Stallings
Teams Team Sahlen