BHA Crew Chief Mark Shambarger Honored with Mark Shambarger, Crew Chief of the No. 98 Integrity Energee Drink car for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian, was presented with the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The award, which is presented annually during the traditional Carb Day festivities by the Clint Brawner Foundation and supported by Firestone Racing, recognizes an Indy 500 chief mechanic who "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its legendary namesake.
Shambarger started his racing career with Gaerte Engines in Rochester, Indiana in 1984 with sprint cars on dirt tracks. He later moved to Indianapolis where he achieved great success with teams such as Hemelgarn, Patrick, Newman Haas and his current team, Bryan Herta Autosport. Shambarger's career highlights include the 1996 Indianapolis 500 win as chief mechanic for Buddy Lazier and the 2011 Indianapolis 500 win as a crew member for the late Dan Wheldon.
When asked how he felt about winning the Clint Brawner Award, Shambarger said he was confident that the BHA team could overcome Jack Hawksworth's pre-qualifying crash.
"We are a small team that has proven to be relentless in the past and I knew we could do it," said Shambarger. "With speeds approaching 230 miles per hour just days afterward, I knew we had done our job and I was very proud of everyone on the team."
Shambarger also mentioned his mentor Jim McGee, and how highly he always spoke of working with Clint Brawner. To be honored with the Clint Brawner Award (his mentor's mentor) is something he will never forget. McGee was one of the first congratulatory calls Shambarger received.
As a Clint Brawner Award recipient, Shambarger joined an illustrious group of his peers when he was presented with a $5,000 check and a plaque in honor of one of the most innovative, resourceful and successful chief mechanics ever to grace the Speedway.
Team co-owner Bryan Herta commented, "We're all so proud and happy for Mark Shambarger to win the Clint Brawner Award. It's such a tremendous recognition of his work, directly from his peers.
"In my career, I've been associated with three Clint Brawner Award winners - Craig Baranouski from AJ Foyt Enterprises when I was a rookie at IMS, then our own Don Lambert won it at our first year at the Speedway in 2010. Now to have Mark join the roll call of really legendary crew chiefs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I couldn't be happier for him and it's incredibly well deserved."
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