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Sun, 14 Sep 2003, 07:57 PM

Third Quarter Driver of Year Vote
By Norm Forscher





NASCAR Winston Cup's Ryan Newman easily won third quarter Driver of the Year honors by compiling 117 points and 10 first-place votes from a panel of 18 motorsports journalists and fans of Speed TV.

Newman won three races during the quarter and outdistanced CART's Paul Tracy, the first quarter winner, who had 63 points, but no first place nods.

NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon won four of his six races during the quarter, but that was good for only a third place finish with 46 points and three first-place votes.

Points are awarded 9-6-4-3-2-1 for the first six drivers selected by a panelist.

USAC's J.J. Yelley, Winston Cup's Kevin Harvick and IRL's Sam Hornish finished out the top six in that order. Yelley had three first-place votes, 45 points; Harvick 34 points and Hornish 32 points and one first-place vote.

The only other drag racer receiving support from the panel and viewers of Speed TV was NHRA Pro Stock points leader Greg Anderson -- winner of three races -- who received one point.

Patron of the Driver of the Year is Sarasota, FL businessman and sportsman Barry Schmoyer. Further information is at (941) 953-6209.

***

Now, as furnished before, although your correspondent is no long a voting member of the panel, here's how my ballot would have read -- yes, it was prepared before hearing these results.

At least three panelists saw somewhat along the line with me, for Larry Dixon did get those three first-place nods.

1. Larry Dixon. How can you beat four out of six?

2. Ryan Newman. Three wins in the busy quarter, plus he won Richmond, which will be on the fourth quarter results.

3. Helio Castroneves. Two wins and points leader in IRL.

4. John Force. Two wins, a bit of a surge in the quarter.

5. Steve Kinser. Eight wins and leads the points in the busy World Of Outlaws.

6. Kurt Busch. He started the quarter with a win in NASCAR/Winston Cup and finished it the same way.

But that ballot of my six choices, and about a buck, will get you a good cigar.





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