CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2005) -- NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson was named the 2004 SPEED Channel Driver Of The Year today, marking the second time that the most prestigious individual honor in American motorsports has been presented to an...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2005) -- NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson was named the 2004 SPEED Channel Driver Of The Year today, marking the second time that the most prestigious individual honor in American motorsports has been presented to an NHRA drag racer.
Anderson, 43, who drove his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am to a record-breaking season in 2004 en route to claiming his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Series world championship, joins John Force (1996, NHRA Funny Car), as the only professional drag racers to win the highly-coveted Driver of the Year award.
"During this amazing run we've had a lot of neat things happen, but this definitely tops them all," Anderson said. "It's great for me personally and especially for the sport of NHRA drag racing. Not only does this award mean that my team had an outstanding year on the race track, but it also means that people are taking notice of NHRA drag racing."
In its 38th year, the Driver of the Year award is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the major racing series in the United States. A select panel of 18 prominent American auto racing journalists, along with a fan vote on Speedtv.com, determined the 2004 winner. Open wheel standout Mario Andretti received the first Driver of the Year award in 1967, and other past winners have included such racing legends as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, A.J. Foyt and Bobby Rahal, among others.
"The outstanding Pro Stock season that Greg Anderson enjoyed in 2004 certainly ranks among the greatest individual performances in NHRA history," said Tom Compton, NHRA president. "It is fitting that he is rewarded for his accomplishments with the distinguished honor of being recognized as the Driver of the Year for all of motorsports. Like John Force in 1996, we are extremely pleased that Greg's efforts were recognized by the elite panel of motorsports journalists responsible for selecting the Driver of the Year. Further, it speaks volumes to the continued growth in popularity we are experiencing in the sport of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing."
What many drag racing experts are declaring as the greatest single season by any NHRA professional driver in the history of the sport, Anderson's 2004 run was highlighted by breaking many longstanding NHRA records, including wins in a season (15), final-rounds in a season (19), No. 1 qualifying awards in a season (16), most elimination rounds won in a season (76), largest championship win margin (742 points) and most points accumulated in a season (2,402).
He put an exclamation point on his 15 season victories by winning the Pro Stock title at the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the world's most prestigious drag race. He also earned the $50,000 King Demon Crown victory and became the first Pro Stock driver in NHRA history to sweep the fabled Western Swing (trio of consecutive races in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.).
Anderson also set NHRA national performance records, including bests for elapsed time (6.661 seconds) and speed (207.75 mph) for his category, and also posted 24 track performance records along the way.
"I have set some pretty lofty goals for my racing career, but heck, I never dreamed this big," Anderson said. "I'm just numb. It is an individual honor, but I was able to win it because of the great team I have assembled. I am just so proud of my team and I am going to share this award with them, because we did it together."
Other nominees for the award, which is maintained by the Driver of the Year Foundation, included NHRA Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher, NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch, IRL driver Tony Kanaan, World of Outlaws driver Steve Kinser and CART's Sebastien Bourdais.
The Speed Channel will highlight Anderson's record-breaking season during a SPEED Driver of the Year special that airs tonight at 8 p.m. (ET).