Vote for Tony Schumacher, ESPY Best Driver award by July 7
July 2, 2007
U.S. Army Driver and four-time NHRA POWERade Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher has been nominated for the ESPY Best Driver award. The ESPY Awards, for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, was created by ESPN in 1993.
Cast your vote for Schumacher at <a href="http://espn.go.com/espy2007/#">ESPN ESPY Awards</a> by 7 July 2007. <a href="http://www.army.mil/privacy">(External Link Disclaimer)</a>
Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army dragster, finished the 2006 season in dramatic fashion by winning his third consecutive and fourth overall Top Fuel championship on the final run of the season. On that final pass at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Schumacher set a national elapsed time record of 4.428 seconds and defeated final-round opponent Melanie Troxel to claim the championship title by 14 points over rival Doug Kalitta. Media quickly labeled his effort "The Run" and called it the most meaningful and memorable single performance in NHRA history.
Schumacher's historic championship-winning run put the finishing touches on an unbelievable comeback; he was more than 330 points behind the championship leader and basically written off of the championship list with fewer than 12 races remaining. He then reeled off five victories in eight final-round appearances to clinch the world championship. Schumacher, from Chicago, joins John Force, Tony Pedregon, Greg Anderson, and Troxel as the only Professional drag racers to be nominated for the prestigious ESPY Awards. No drag racer has ever won the ESPY Best Driver award.
"This is a real honor to be singled out for such a prestigious award as Best Driver," said Schumacher. "I hope I do the NHRA family proud and win it. I really look forward to representing the U.S. Army and all of our soldiers on the big stage in Hollywood next month."
Joining Schumacher on the ESPY Best Driver ballot are NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Jeff Gordon and IRL drivers Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. Past ESPY Best Driver winners include stock car racers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Gordon, a three-time winner, Bobby Labonte, and Dale Jarrett, and open-wheel drivers Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell, and Michael Schumacher. The 2007 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles July 11. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN July 15 at 9 p.m. ET and co-hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel and basketball star LeBron James.
Tony Schumacher career highlights:
* Four-time NHRA POWERade Series world champion, including last three in a row (1999, 2004-'06)
* Only second driver in NHRA history to win three consecutive Top Fuel championships (also Joe Amato)
* Five-time winner of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race
* Winner of the 2006 Fourth Quarter Driver of the Year Award for all of motorsports
* Holds national records for time (4.428 seconds) and speed (336.15 mph) in Top Fuel * Has earned 36 NHRA victories * Has earned 40 NHRA No. 1 qualifying awards
* Son of Funny Car pioneer Don Schumacher Past ESPY Best Driver winners 2006 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR 2005 - Michael Schumacher, F1 2004 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR 2003 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR 2002 - Michael Schumacher, F1 2001 - Bobby Labonte, NASCAR 2000 - Dale Jarrett, NASCAR 1999 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR 1998 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR 1997 - Jimmy Vasser, IRL 1996 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR 1995 - Al Unser Jr., IRL 1994 - Nigel Mansell, F1 1993 - Nigel Mansell, F1