2012 Best Driver ESPY
Tony Stewart is a 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. His run for the Cup title in 2011 was epic as he took the lead in 5 of the final 10 races during the Nascar Chase and won. An unprecedented feat that brought the point standings to a tie with rival driver Carl Edwards. Tony’s 5 wins for the year (all of which were gained in the Chase) broke the tie and gave the 2011 Cup Title to Stewart.
Last night in Los Angeles, California he was honored for that stellar effort with the 2012 ESPY for “Best Driver” at the 20th annual ESPY Awards on ESPN. Other drivers in the category were four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and NHRA champion Del Worsham. All great drivers and champions in their own series events.
Tony was not present at the awards in Los Angelese, but he did release a statement. “I am thrilled to win the ‘Best Driver’ award after what turned out to be a great NASCAR season last year. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the checkered flag when it mattered most,” said Stewart. “There were some great drivers and great champions in this category, so I cannot thank the NASCAR fans and everyone who voted enough for their unbelievable support.”
Winners for the ESPYs are determined by fan vote and who they want to win in each category. This is the 3rd time our Anthony has won the “Best Driver” honors from the ESPYs. He also won in 2003 and 2006.
This year he was nominated in a 2nd category for the “Best Championship Performance”. That award however went to LeBron James of the Miami Heat.
Of course NASCAR fans believe Tony’s run for the Cup Title is more impressive, but James too had a great performance and overcame a great deal of controversy on his road to his teams win. And maybe that’s why NASCAR fans are disappointed this award didn’t go to Stewart. While racing is a team effort, the individual skill of the driver on the track is what makes the difference. Tony didn’t have to step it for the best of 7 games, he had to perform in all 10 of the final races of the season. And he did by winning 5 of those 10.
At least Tony’s win didn’t go unnoticed by his peers. NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps said, “I want to congratulate Tony on winning the ESPY for ‘Best Driver’ last night,” adding “His dramatic run to the championship highlighted his overall performance on the track last season, and we’re thrilled the sports world recognized this achievement. Hats off to Tony Stewart and the entire Stewart-Haas Racing organization.”
Indeed Mr. Phelps! Tony is a great champion both on and off the track. Yesterday Jeff Gluck was asked to pick a “Larger Than Life” character in Nascar and explain why he choose that person. He picked Tony Stewart.
Two awards in one day! Three wins in a week, winning in Daytona at the Coke Zero 400, The ESPYs and Glucks Larger Than Life award. Now that’s a good omen for one of our favorite drivers leading into the race in New Hampshire this weekend. Let’s hope this trend continues and our Anthony Stewart takes the checkered flag in Loudon!
Way to go Smoke and a big congratulations!!
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