SCHUMACHER CAPTURES SPEED PERFORMER OF THE YEAR AWARD CHICAGO, Ill., January 21 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher was awarded the Mario Andretti Trophy here today after being named the 2009 SPEED Performer of the ...
SCHUMACHER CAPTURES SPEED PERFORMER OF THE YEAR AWARD
CHICAGO, Ill., January 21 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher was awarded the Mario Andretti Trophy here today after being named the 2009 SPEED Performer of the Year.
Andretti, a racing legend, personally delivered the trophy to Schumacher during a surprise meeting near the latter's home.
Schumacher, who last November earned his sixth straight world championship, edged out NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson and Superbike rookie Ben Spies to become the first NHRA recipient of the prestigious trophy.
"I'm honored to be chosen for this award," said Schumacher. "Of course, having the man himself (Andretti) take part in the presentation was an incredible experience on its own.
"As always, any trophy I get is because of the dedication and determination by my entire team. This truly is the team's award, not my personal award. And, to be sure, we continually race and win for our Army Strong Soldiers. Without their hard work every day to keep us free and safe, we're not doing what we love to do."
Schumacher received six first-place votes from the voting panel, while Johnson and Spies each collected four votes. MotoGP ace Valentino Rossi, IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and Formula One winner Jenson Button rounded out the top vote-getters.
"What made this year's Top Fuel title special is the fact that Tony proved all the pundits wrong," offered SPEED Performer of the Year voting panelist Dave Despain.
"He not only won the crown without Alan Johnson (his former crew chief) but, in fact, defeated Johnson's driver (Larry Dixon) when the chips were down."
The presentation of the Mario Andretti Trophy will be part of the fourth annual SPEED Performance Awards one-hour special on Thursday, February 4, at 10:30 p.m. ET on SPEED.