"This is crazy, what an honor, it's very humbling." Those were the sentiments stated by a stunned, and emotionally charged, Tony Stewart after being named as the recipient of the prestigious National Motorsports Press Association's, (NMPA), Myers Brothers Award.
The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Award Luncheon was held on December 5th at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The annual event was part of the NASCAR Champion's Week. The NMPA Myers Brothers Award is presented in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers. Past recipients are a virtual who's-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The Myers Brothers Award was presented by NMPA President Kenny Bruce who cited Stewart as being a "fierce competitor, a championship team owner and race track promoter. But he's also helped others on many occasions; quietly and without recognition," said Bruce. "The stories of our winner's big heart have gotten around; much to his dismay, I'm sure. Trust me, they're endless."
"I don't know of anyone more passionate about what they do than Tony Stewart," Bruce went on to say adding "before an injury sidelined him during the second half of the season, he was on pace to compete in more than 100 races in 2013. Tony eats, sleeps, lives and breathes racing and he understands the importance of the local weekend shows better than most. It's where he came from, and he's never forgotten that or those who made it possible."
Stewart was cited for a longtime body of work and specifically for his role in taking NASCAR back to its roots. He and his staff at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, produced the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "Mudsummer Classic," the sanctioning body's first national points competition on a dirt surface in more than four decades. This event was incredibly well received and will be returning to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule in 2014.
The NMPA staff did an outstanding job in keeping this particular award a secret. Stewart was totally stunned when he realized he had won the Myers Brothers Award. Still recuperating from a broken leg, sustained in a sprint car racing accident last August, Stewart arrived in Las Vegas just for the day. His plan was to take care of some Stewart-Haas Racing business while thanking the members of his racing teams for their hard work during the 2013 season. In fact, according to reports by "The Associated Press," Stewart was literally on his cell phone with his pilot to make arrangements for his return to North Carolina when he realized he was going to receive the award.
Here is the complete list of Thursday's award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
â€¢ NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Tony Stewart
â€¢ NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
â€¢ Buddy Shuman Award: Chevrolet Division of General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Toyota
â€¢ NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Coca-Cola
â€¢ 3M Lap Leader Award: Matt Kenseth
â€¢ American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kyle Busch
â€¢ Coors Light Pole Award: Denny Hamlin
â€¢ Duralast Brakes "Brake in the Race" Award: Jimmie Johnson
â€¢ Freescale "Wide Open" Award: Matt Kenseth
â€¢ Goodyear Tires Award (Champion): Jimmie Johnson
â€¢ MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Scott Fox, Hendrick Motorsports #48 team
â€¢ Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Hendrick Motorsports #88 team
â€¢ Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Matt Kenseth
â€¢ MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Matt Borland, crew chief #39 Stewart-Haas Racing team
â€¢ Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Carl Edwards
â€¢ Sunoco Diamond Performance Award (Champion): Jimmie Johnson
â€¢ Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
â€¢ Champion Sponsor Award: Lowe's
â€¢ Champion Crew Chief: Chad Knaus