CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Australia Awards dinner notes

TEAM AUSTRALIA COLLECTS AWARDS AT CHAMP CAR GALA BANQUET Team Australia has collected numerous awards at this year's Champ Car Gala Banquet in Indianapolis over the weekend. Fresh from his debut Champ Car podium in Mexico City, Will Power ...

TEAM AUSTRALIA COLLECTS AWARDS AT CHAMP CAR GALA BANQUET

Team Australia has collected numerous awards at this year's Champ Car Gala Banquet in Indianapolis over the weekend.

Fresh from his debut Champ Car podium in Mexico City, Will Power collected three accolades over the night.

The Australian driver received his Roshfrans Rookie of the Year trophy and US$15,000 cheque, becoming the first Australian to win the prestigious award. Previous recipients include Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferren, Jacques Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, Arie Luyendyk and Bobby Rahal.

Power also collected the Bridgestone Passion for Excellence Award for completing the fastest aggregate race lap around every circuit on the 2006 Champ Car World Series schedule.

That is, if all 14 tracks were laid end to end, the driver with the fastest cumulative lap, based on his or her best race lap at each track, earns the Bridgestone Passion for Excellence Award.

Power received a custom-made painting by Jim Swintal, motoring artist and Champ Car Clerk of Course, depicting the Toowoomba-born driver's brilliant pole position at his home event, the Lexmark Indy 300.

"This is certainly the most unique trophy I have ever received and I have to thank Bridgestone and Jim Swintal for this great painting," said Power.

"The picture will remind me of one of the most special weekends in my life and I'm grateful to have won this award.

"I will never forget my first Champ Car pole at Surfers Paradise and my rookie season in Champ Car and this painting will always be a reminder of this season."

Power also received his trophy for sixth in this year's Champ Car World Series, making Power the highest placed Australian in the history of the championship.

Alex Tagliani was presented with his eighth place trophy in this year's championship. The Canadian's efforts this year represent the fifth-consecutive season that Tagliani has finished in the top 10 in the Champ Car World Series.

Power and Tagliani were joined by Team Australia Co-Owner Derrick Walker and the Aussie Vineyards squad's 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion Simon Pagenaud to receive the Sherwin-Williams Best Paint award.

Team Australia's striking green and gold Aussie Vineyards Champ Cars won US$10,000 best presented car awards at the Houston, San Jose and Montreal events as well as taking the overall award of US$20,000.

Team Australia's paint shop manager Scott Turner has already had his superb talents and efforts recognised once this year when he was asked to paint the first new Panoz DP01 Champ Car for its unveiling in San Jose.

Turner says that the Sherwin-Williams Awards help spur on teams to keep outdoing each other in terms of car presentation.

"What can I say, I'm very excited," said Turner.

"It's great that Sherwin-Williams has given painters this initiative.

"It gives us something extra to shoot for. I hope that this continues.

"It's been great for the series and it adds more competition for the series. I'm really excited that our hard work has paid off and is noticed."

-credit: www.teamaustraliamotorsport.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams