Franchitti collects $1 million champion's check
Franchitti and Firestone Indy LightsÂ® champion J.K. Vernay - along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers - were recognized during the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration poolside at the W Hotel on South Beach.
Phillips Van Heusen executives Allen Sirkin and Mike Kelly, representing series sponsor IZOD, and members of the Hulman-George family presented Franchitti with a $1 million championship bonus check and the new IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Trophy.
In addition to the championship bonus, Franchitti accepted the $10,000 Bosch Platinum Award and received a $100,000 diamond-encrusted champion's timepiece from Ritmo Mundo and the Herff Jones Champions Award, a ring valued at $5,000.
Kevin O'Donnell, chief mechanic for Franchitti's No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara, accepted the IZOD IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award.
Alex Lloyd of Dale Coyne Racing accepted the $25,000 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Award, while Simona de Silvestro won the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.
Will Power of Verizon Team Penske won the $25,000 Raybestos Road & Street Challenge for having the best average finish on road and street courses while Dan Wheldon of Panther Racing was awarded the Xtrac Championship Award and its $5,000 prize.
Vernay accepted the mini Firestone Firehawk Cup, $10,000 for Rookie of the Year, a $10,000 award for the Raybestos Road and Street Course Challenge for having the best average finish on road and street courses and the $5,000 "Securing Tomorrow Award" from Gregory & Appel Insurance for winning the most races
"I'm just proud about the work that we did together at Sam Schmidt Motorsport," Vernay said. "It was a good year, especially for being a rookie in America. Now we have to be focused on next year to go to the IZOD IndyCar Series, to find a good deal. I will be the happiest guy in the world if I go there."
Dave Higuera, chief mechanic for Vernay's No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ entry for Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing, accepted $5,000 as Firestone Indy Lights Chief Mechanic of the Year.
James Hinchcliffe of Team Moore Racing won the Greg Moore Legacy Award Presented by Firestone and the $5,000 Lucas Oil Frequent Polesitter Award while his teammate Adrian Campos Jr. was named Sunoco Most Improved Driver, earning an addition $10,000.
Rodrigo Barbosa of PDM Racing claimed the Force For Earth Hard Charger Award and its $5,000 prize for improving the most total positions during the 2009 season.
IndyCar Series award winners
Championship driver: Dario Franchitti
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring valued at $5,000): Dario Franchitti
Ritmo Mundo Championship Driver Award (diamond watch valued at $100,000): Dario Franchitti
Championship team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Championship team sponsor: Target
Championship team managers: Scott Harner and Barry Wanser
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award: Kevin O'Donnell
Rookie of the Year Award ($25,000): Alex Lloyd
Second place championship driver: Will Power
Second place championship team: Verizon Team Penske
Third place championship driver: Scott Dixon
Third place championship team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Tony Renna Rising Star Award: Simona de Silvestro
BOSCH Platinum Award ($10,000 for highest-finishing driver using Bosch spark plugs): Dario Franchitti
Raybestos Road & Street Course Challenge ($25,000 cash or product): Will Power
Xtrac Championship Award ($5,000 for driver who won most Xtrac Awards during 2010): Dan Wheldon
Manufacturer Recognition Awards: Honda, Firestone, Dallara, and Xtrac
Firestone Indy Lights award winners
Championship driver (mini Firehawk Cup): J.K. Vernay
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring valued at $4,000): J.K. Vernay
Ritmo Mundo Championship Driver Award (watch valued at $25,000): J.K. Vernay
Championship team (mini Firehawk Cup): Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Mo'sGold Chief Mechanic of the Year: Dave Higuera
Second place championship driver: James Hinchcliffe
Second place championship team: Team Moore Racing
Third place championship driver: Martin Plowman
Third place championship team: AFS Racing Inc./Andretti Autosport
Firestone Painting Award: J.K. Vernay
Firestone Indy Lights Rookie of the Year ($10,000): J.K. Vernay
Greg Moore Legacy Award: James Hinchcliffe
Gregory & Appel "Securing Tomorrow" Award ($5,000): J.K. Vernay
Lucas Oil Frequent Polesitter Award ($5,000): James Hinchcliffe
Raybestos Road & Street Course Challenge (10,000): J.K. Vernay
Sunoco Most Improved Driver ($10,000): Adrian Campos Jr.
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