Schumacher wins prestigious Driver Of The Year Award

NHRA Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher has been voted the 2008 Driver Of The Year by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists. Schumacher, who crushed his rivals on the dragstrip, became only the third NHRA driver to win the original Driver Of The Year award in its 42-year history.

In taking a record fifth consecutive Top Fuel world championship, he tied an NHRA record with 15 victories. He also won the third quarter Driver of the Year award.

"What an honor it is to be singled out as the Driver of the Year for 2008," said Schumacher. "I'm happy that the NHRA is front and center again with this award. It's been a few years since Greg Anderson won it (in 2004). Of course, John Force also won it in 1996. You can't forget the living legend himself.

"Needless to say, I wouldn't be receiving any post-season award without the talented team that surrounded me this past season. My crew chief, Alan Johnson, and the entire crew deserve all the credit in the world. There's no denying the fact that we had one of those dream seasons."

Although choosing a Driver Of The Year usually comes down to two or three drivers, this was a particularly difficult year for the panel.

"Usually one driver has a stand out season, but this year there were a handful of guys who were all viable candidates for the award including NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch," said Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver Of The Year Award Foundation.

Professionals, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver, gave Schumacher six votes, while Johnson and Edwards each received five votes. Busch and Tony Stewart each earned one vote.

The Driver Of The Year title is unique because a select panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are the only eligible voters via the secret ballot.

"I want to dedicate this award to all of our hard-working soldiers," added Schumacher. "If not for their tireless effort in defending our freedom every day, there wouldn't be a race season no less a Driver of the Year award. Make no mistake, they're the true heroes."

Schumacher will be presented with a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch next April at the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.

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