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Wed, 27 Nov 2002, 01:35 PM

Savoie Leads Finalists for Eastern Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

GLENDORA, Calif. -- Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Angelle Savoie headlined the nominees for the Al Holbert Memorial Driver of the Year award presented by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA), it was announced recently by Ernie Saxton, president of the EMPA.

Other nominees include stock car driver Tony Stewart, open wheel racer Sam Hornish Jr., sprint car driver Steve Kinser and short track racer Frank Kimmel.

Savoie, who earned her third consecutive NHRA crown in 2002, equaled Shirley Muldowney's feat of winning three NHRA titles by a female driver. Savoie, the winningest female driver in NHRA history with 28 career victories, won six events in eight final round appearances aboard her Mohegan Sun Suzuki. She also qualified No. 1 at seven of the 14 Pro Stock Bike events. In May, Savoie set the Pro Stock Bike elapsed time record at 7.049 seconds in Englishtown, N.J.

Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Gary Scelzi was the first drag racer to win the Al Holbert Memorial award in 1997 after clinching the Top Fuel championship as a rookie, while 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force was recognized as EMPA Driver of the Year in 2001.

The winner of the Driver of the Year award will be presented on Jan. 19, 2003 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, Pa. In addition, the EMPA will honor the Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year and will induct members into the EMPA Hall of Fame. Bruce Larson, 1989 NHRA Funny Car champion, is a finalist for the Hall of Fame.

More than 200 member of the media, reporting on a wide variety of motorsports events, participate in the voting process for the EMPA Driver of the Year. The award is named in honor of the late Al Holbert, an outstanding sports car and Indy Car racer from Warrington, Pa.

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