DONNY SCHATZ NAMED NORTH AMERICAN 410 SPRINT CAR POLL "DRIVER OF THE YEAR" FOR 2006 KNOXVILLE, IOWA (December 13, 2006) - For the first time ever, Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota, was voted the 2006 "Driver of the Year" by...
DONNY SCHATZ NAMED NORTH AMERICAN 410 SPRINT CAR POLL "DRIVER OF THE YEAR" FOR 2006
KNOXVILLE, IOWA (December 13, 2006) - For the first time ever, Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota, was voted the 2006 "Driver of the Year" by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll voting panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers. The World of Outlaws (WoO) point champion and Knoxville Nationals winner earned twenty-five (25) of the twenty-eight (28) first place ballots cast in the year-end poll. His car owners and parents, Danny and Diane Schatz, also received the 2006 "Team of the Year" award for the first time.
Those drivers ranked second through fifth, respectively, are National Sprint Tour (NST) point champion Danny Lasoski of Missouri, Tim Kaeding of California, Craig Dollansky of Minnesota, and Steve Kinser of Indiana. Rounding out the 'top ten' for the season are Joey Saldana, Williams Grove Speedway and Central Pennsylvania Series point champion Fred Rahmer, Daryn Pittman, Brooke Tatnell, and Lance Dewease, respectively. In addition to Schatz, others receiving first place votes were Lasoski (two), and Kaeding (one).
According to poll founder Tom Schmeh, "With Donny Schatz claiming all but three of the first place ballots, clearly the voters are saying that there needs to be no asterisk next to his name with regard to the fact that there were two national tours this year. The voting panel, all industry insiders, agrees his 21 wins, his WoO championship, and the fact that he beat the best-of-the-best at the open-competition Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals in mid-August, means that he alone deserves the title of 'Driver of the Year'."
Other first time winners are Scott Boyd, Larry Hillerud and Steve Sinclair of SLS Promotions, who combined to claim the "Promoter of the Year" title. Neil Shepherd of Indiana received the "Rookie of the Year" award in the '410' division. Brian and Jeannie Butler of ButlerBuilt Seats again received the "Builder/Manufacturer of the Year" award, just as they had done in the '360' poll voting. Harrisburg Patriot-News motorsports writer Jerry Reigle earned his first-ever "Media Member of the Year" honors. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., claimed the "Wild Card Award" for his exciting sprint car performances in 2006, marking the first time since 2003 that one driver has claimed that honor in both the winged 360- and 410-cubic-inch sprint car polls in the same year. Current NASCAR driver Erin Crocker first performed that feat in '03.
The North American 410 Sprint Car Poll is an annual awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation, Inc., of Knoxville, Iowa. All awards will be distributed in the spring of 2007 at tracks throughout North America.
<pre> Final 2006 North American 410 Sprint Car Poll rank, driver (first place votes), hometown, state, points
1. Donny Schatz (25) Fargo, ND 2525 2. Danny Lasoski (2) Higginsville, MO 1295 3. Tim Kaeding (1) Campbell, CA 1055 4. Craig Dollansky Elk River, MN 622 5. Steve Kinser Bloomington, IN 609 6. Joey Saldana Brownsburg, IN 562 7. Fred Rahmer Salfordville, PA 434 8. Daryn Pittman Owasso, OK 324 9. Brooke Tatnell San Souci, NSW, AUS 260 10. Lance Dewease Fayetteville, PA 239 11. Doug Esh Lancaster, PA 176 12. Jason Solwold Mt. Vernon, WA 161 13. Jac Haudenschild Wooster, OH 157 14. Terry McCarl Altoona, IA 148 15. Jason Meyers Clovis, CA 119 16. Greg Wilson Benton Ridge, OH 95 17. Billy Alley Lincoln, NE 64 18. Greg Hodnett Memphis, TN 61 19. Jonathan Allard Chico, CA 44 20. Brian Brown Higginsville, MO 35 21. Chad Kemenah Fremont, OH 24 22. Paul McMahan Oroville, CA 19 23. Kerry Madsen Sydney, NSW, AUS 14 23. Travis Whitney Champlin, MN 14 25. Dale Blaney Fowler, OH 7 25. Ed Lynch, Jr. Apollo, PA 7
Also receiving multiple votes: Mark Dobmeier, Andy Forsberg, Jason Sides, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.