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Tue, 23 Sep 2008, 01:18 PM

Driver of the Year Third Quarter
By Norm Froscher

In virtually any competition, a perfect record, regardless of how many different victories are posted, nets the campaigner the top prize.

NFL or NBA playoffs, for instance, or even baseball.

So it also is with auto racing.

It's hard to beat six for six -- or six wins in six different races.

So drag racer Tony Schumacher, who accomplished that feat in the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, eclipsed the field of nominees for the third quarter Driver of the Year vote.

Because of their limited -- compared to some venues -- schedule, drag racers normally have a tough time competing in the balloits with NASCAR and open wheel contenders.

However, outstanding nand once in a lifetime seasons netted both John Force and Greg Anderson the year end title.

But back to "The Sarge" and his perfect third quarter record of six wins.

Schumacher pulled in 10 first-place votes and a total of 111 points from the blue ribbon media panel to out-distance NASCAR' s Jimmie Johnson, who had two first place votes and a total of 74 points on a scale of 9-6-4-3-2-1 for the six drivers voted by each panelist.

"Obviously, it's an honor to be singled out for an award like this," said Schumacher.

"But, of course, I'm not having the kind of season that I'm having without my outstanding crew chief (Alan Johnson) and my team.

"In my view, they're the best that's ever been assembled in the history of the sport. I'm proud to call them my teammates.

"Here's hoping that we'll finish the season in strong fashion and that we'll be holding another POWERade trophy come mid-November."

Johnson won three NASCAR Sprint Cup races during the quarter.

The other first-place votes went to open wheel compefitor Scott Dixon and Sprint Cup's Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch (two first place votes) and open wheel's Helio Castroneves, one each.

Dixon was third (67 points) Edwards fourth 62 points), Busch fifth (49 points) and Castronevis sixth ( 19 points) in the balloting.

Their wins were Dixon, three IRL victories, Edwards won two races plus two Nationwide races, Busch took two Nationwide races and a truck race and Castronevis two IRL wins.

Others receiving support in the balloting were NASCAR's Johnny Benson,10 points, Ron Hornaday 4 points, World of Outlaws Donny Shatz, 3 and Frank Kimmel 3 and Rafael Matos, 2, and Marcus Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Craig Dolansky 1 each.

A fourth quarter ballot will be taken and then a secret vote at the season's end will determine the 2008 Driiver of the Year.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending Driver of the Year.

The Driver of the Year Patron is Florida businessman and sportsman Barry E.Schmoyer. The award may be reached at (941) 379-2318.

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