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Jimmie Johnson, Helio Castroneves Among Nominees for The 2009 ESPYs
NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves are among the world-class athletes nominated for The 2009 ESPYs. The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances.

Fans will determine the winner in 37 categories (excluding special awards) by voting online at www.espys.tv or via mobile phone at www.espn.mobi. Voting begins today and runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on July 11, and The 2009 ESPYs, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and co-presented by Under Armour and Land Rover, will be televised Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN HD. A one-hour nomination show will be televised Friday, June 26, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Johnson, who tied a NASCAR record by winning his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2008, is nominated in the “Best Male Athlete” category along with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Castroneves’ win in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, which came when he returned to the IndyCar Series after being found innocent of tax-evasion charges, is nominated in the “Best Moment” category. Also nominated are the thrilling victory by the U.S. swim team in the Olympic relay and University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s emotional speech in a press conference following the team’s only loss during the 2008 season.

Johnson and Castroneves also are among five nominees in the “Best Driver” category, along with IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. 

The ESPYs honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993. For the second time in several years, a limited amount of ESPYs tickets are available for public purchase through www.ticketmaster.com.  The 2009 ESPYs will be taped Wednesday, July 15, at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.

A complete list of The 2009 ESPYs nominees is available to members of the media at http://espnmediazone.com/press_kits/espys/ESPYs_Best_Sport.htm and for voters at www.espys.tv

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