San Jose GP celebrates Champ Car Fan Favorite Awards Champ Car World Series Fan Favorite Awards were presented Friday night at the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway, with memories both comical and poignant highlighting the ceremony.
Ten different drivers were up for awards in nine different categories, but the big winner of the evening at the San Jose City Hall and Rotunda was undoubtedly Cristiano da Matta, who received the trophy for Best Podium.
Fans, voting for their favorite Champ Car moments of the last 12 months, took notice that it was one year ago, in San Jose, that the likeable Brazilian scored his last podium finish before an accident, in testing at Road America, put an early end to his season. Da Matta was present at the ceremony to accept the “Best Podium” award in front of fellow drivers, team owners and fans. The former Champ Car Champion continues to recover from the serious head injury he suffered in that terrible accident in Wisconsin, and hopes that he can once again get back in the cockpit of a single seater race car one day.
Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani were also on hand to accept the “Most Interesting Confrontation” award. The pair walked up to the stage to the sound of the Rocky theme song and gave each other a few friendly “jabs” before accepting the black acrylic, steering wheel shaped 2007 Champ Car World Series Fan Favorite award trophy.
“I’ve won a lot of trophies in my life, but never for a fight,” said Tracy in his thank you speech. “I’m just glad that Alex accepted the trophy with his helmet off!”
Tagliani responded: “I’m just glad he was paying enough attention that he didn’t hit me on my way up here.”
Tracy also won the Fan Favorite vote for “Best Finish” for his win in Cleveland this year and shared the honors with Sebastien Bourdais in the “Best Pit Stop” category for their “pit exit” altercation in Toronto. The three-time Champ Car Champion also took home the award for “Best Donuts”.
“I’m really happy that the fans chose me for these awards,” expressed Bourdais. “I think it’s a spectacular idea that San Jose had to give the fans the chance to vote for their favorite racing moments.”
The first award of the evening was handed out to Champ Car Race Director Tony Cotman for “Best Start”, for the first standing start in the Series’ history that took place in Portland last month. Other winners included, Dan Clarke for the “Oops Award”, Katherine Legge for “Best Crash” and Oriol Servia for the “Best Pass” with his move on Charles Zwolsman in San Jose last season.
Champ Car World Series Fan Favorite Awards Winners:
Best Start: Portland 2007 (given to Tony Cotman)
Best Donuts: Sebastien Bourdais (San Jose 2006)
Best Pit Stop: Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy (Toronto 2005)
Oops Award: Dan Clarke (Cleveland 2006)
Best Crash: Katherine Legge (Road America 2006)
Best Pass: Oriol Servia (San Jose 2006)
Best Finish: Paul Tracy (Cleveland 2007)
Most Interesting Confrontation: Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani (San Jose 2006)
Best Podium: San Jose 2006 (given to Cristiano da Matta)