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Fri, 4 Dec 2009, 04:10 PM

Driver of the Year Fourth Quarter
By Norm Froscher





Okay, let's do it a bit differently this time.

The fourth quarter Driver of the Year vote, with which readers of this space are familiar. is due up.

But to prolong the deal, we'll let you pick it, without using names.

Then we'll let you know how the panel voted.

So, here we go,
A. This NASCAR Sprint Cup driver won two races in the quarter, plus two seconds and a third ( )
B. This driver won three races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. plus he had a second. ( )
C. Leaving NASCAR for this NHRA driver, who won three races. ( )

Okay, if you picked B, you get the cigar. A is Denny Hamlin, while C is Robert Hight, NHRA Funny Car driver who also won the season title with the showing.

And B, by now, you must know, is Jimmie Johnson, who captured his fourth straight season Sprint Cup title. That's the first time it had been done. Others, like Cale Yarborough, had won three in a row and Johnson teammate Jeff Gordon has won four titles, but not in a row.

Johnson is now odds on to take Driver of the Year, period.

So just how did this vote go?

***

Johnson waltzed to victory with the panel, gathering 12 first place votes and 130 points.

Kyle Busch was runner-up with one first-place nod and 53 points.

The panel votes for six choices, in order, from all forms of motorsports and the points are awarded same as Formula One, nine for first, six, four, three, and so fourth.

So Robert Hight finished third with two No. 1 votes and 48 points.

Open wheel racer Dario Franchetti was fourth, with 41 points.

Back to NHRA, for the fifth place finisher, Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher, reigning Driver of the Year. with one No. 1 and 38 points.

Schumacher captured his sixth title, by just two points and has to be a contender, if anyone can top Johnson for the final nod.

Hamlin, winner of the Homestead-Miami finale, had 30 points and was sixth.

Others receiving votes were: WoO's Donny Schatz, 21, NASCAR's Mark Martin 17, and Ron Hornaday 12, WoO's Joey Saldana 8, NASCAR's Joey Lagano 6, J.R. Hillibrand 2, Josh Richards 1 and Mike Edwards 1.





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