NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart was named winner of the 2011 Driver of they Year Award today.
Stewart, the 2011 Cup champion, was awarded the honor by a panel of leading motorsports journalists and broadcasters.
Stewart, who is also co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing team for which he drives, was also the leading vote-getter in balloting for the separate Fourth Quarter Driver of the Year Award it was announced Tuesday.
“I have a lot of pride in this,” Stewart said of being named winner of the DOTYs. “This is an award that comes from a highly esteemed group. These are the awards that mean the most.”
Stewart won the Cup championship with dramatic flair. Winless heading into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff, the Indiana-native won five times during the Chase.
He started the final race of the year in second place – three points behind Carl Edwards. In that race – the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway – Stewart finished first and Edwards finished second. They tied in points but Stewart won the championship on tie-breaking criteria as he had won more races during the season than had Edwards.
The DOTY is the oldest and most prestigious award of its kind.
In its 45 year, the DOTY Award encompasses all racing series and drivers in the United States. A panel of 19 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the country cast votes this year.
Stewart won the vote in a landslide.
Those who voted in a secret ballot, gave Stewart 15 votes. Edwards, Dario Franchitti of the IndyCar Series, Jason Meyers of the World of Outlaws Series and NHRA Top Fuel champion Del Worsham all received one vote.
In the quarterly voting, Stewart beat Edwards and Meyers, getting all but one of the first-place votes.
“The last quarter was a history-maker, for sure,” Stewart said. “There are so many champions honored this way (the Award). It’s just amazing I don’t know how to put it words. It’s truly an honor.”
Barry Schmoyer, president of the of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said, “It’s certainly ironic that last year’s vote involved a spirited debate, but this year’s was a slam dunk.
“Stewart’s come from behind victory at Homestead will thrill fans for ages.”
Stewart will receive trophies and Tissot wristwatches as part of the award.
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