Champ Car announces Greg Moore award nominees The close to any season provides a time for reflection as consideration is given to the recipients of various awards that are presented following the final race. The 2007 Champ Car World Series offers a number of year-end awards, but perhaps the one that carries the most emotion is the one that recognizes those who helped make Champ Car one of the world’s most popular form of auto racing.
Remembering Greg Moore
With that in mind, the annual Greg Moore Legacy Award allows the Champ Car organization to honor the late great Canadian star who lost his life during the 1999 California 500, as well as pay tribute to its past. Now in its eighth year, the award honors the driver “who most typifies Moore’s distinctive combination of on-track talent and dynamic personality” that led him to become a favorite among the fans, media and members of the Champ Car community. The award winner is determined by a select board of Champ Car personnel, along with media and fan voting, with the honoree being chosen from a list of four nominees.
Nominated to represent the Champ Car World Series for this year’s award are Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Graham Rahal (#2 Medi/Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), with James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/Proworks) as nominee for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Wilson, in his fourth season of Champ Car competition, was last year’s recipient. In his bid to become the first repeat winner of the award, the British standout can look back on a season in which perseverance played in a major role in his vault to one of the top positions in the final championship standings. Following a slow start to the 2007 season, Wilson put together a string of five straight top-five finishes and then scored a victory in the inaugural event at Assen, Holland, to put him within striking distance of Series leader Sebastien Bourdais and the championship. At Surfers Paradise, Wilson wound up second, but Bourdais won the race to clinch an unprecedented fourth straight title. Even with the title out of reach with one race to go, Wilson still had a battle with rookie Robert Doornbos for the runner-up honors in the final championship.
Much was expected of Rahal, son of three-time Champ Car titlist Bobby Rahal, and the Ohio teen generally lived up to those expectations. After getting a baptism by fire in the season opener at Las Vegas, Rahal rebounded with a steady drive to eighth place at Long Beach and then scored his first podium finish with an impressive second-place run behind Newman/Haas/Lanigan teammate Bourdais at Houston. Rahal continued to score top-10 finishes and reached the podium at Edmonton, Elkhart Lake and Zolder to move up to fifth in the standings. The promising American driver was also heavily involved in the promotional effort to launch Champ Car’s “Hands of the Wheel” project, making a number of appearances and appealing to fellow teens about the need to adopt sensible driving practices.
Like Rahal, expectations were also high for Pagenaud, the 2006 Atlantic champion. And like Rahal, the French driver rebounded from a slow start to his season to emerge as a picture of consistency. Pagenaud was fifth at Houston, eighth at Portland and fifth at Cleveland before putting together a string of three straight fourth-place finishes in three Canadian events that were instrumental in helping his Team Australia capture the first Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown. He followed up with a 10th-place finish at San Jose before recording an 11th-place finish—his first time out of the top 10 since Long Beach. Pagenaud then finished sixth at Assen and fifth at Surfers Paradise to move to eighth place in the standings, only seven points behind fifth-place Rahal with one race to go.
Hinchcliffe, the Atlantic nominee for 2006, more than lived up to his promise shown during last year’s season. The 2007 season saw the Canadian driver move up from 10th overall to fourth in the final championship standings that reflected a number of strong performances in both qualifying and the races. Hinchcliffe finished no lower than seventh in the first seven races of 2007 with podiums at Houston, both Portland events and Mont-Tremblant. He also scored podium finishes at both Edmonton races and was the polesitter at the double-headers at Portland and Edmonton. In addition to racing, Hinchcliffe also continued to serve as a color analyst for international Champ Car races.
Fans can participate in the voting for this year's Greg Moore Legacy Award by visiting the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws. The voting will take place in the “fan poll” section on the front page of the website. Voting will close on the website Monday, Nov. 12, at noon ET.
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