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Wed, 15 Dec 2010, 09:38 AM

Speed™ Names 18 Finalists for 2010 Mario Andretti Trophy
Courtesy of Elon Werner

Racers From 10 Different Series Vie for Speed Performer of the Year Title


The 100-pound bronze Mario Andretti Trophy, designed by artist Elie Hazak and presented annually to the SPEED Performer of the Year, celebrates the wide variety of cars Andretti piloted to victory in his decorated career, and this year that same range of talent is on display as SPEED reveals its list of finalists for the honor - 18 racers from 10 different disciplines.

Representing both four-wheel and two-wheel efforts across the globe, the Mario Andretti Trophy goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on his/her sport's biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class.

This year, Jimmie Johnson -- five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and a three-time Mario Andretti Trophy winner -- joins 17 other racers in their quest for the honor, including: Sebastian Vettel (F1), John Force (NHRA), Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP), Dario Franchitti (IndyCar), Larry Dixon (NHRA), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR), Ryan Dungey (Supercross), Joey Saldana (WoO), Bryan Clauson (USAC), L.E. Tonglet (NHRA), Scott Pruett (Grand-Am), Will Power (IndyCar), Jamie McMurray (NASCAR), Fernando Alonso (F1), Sebastien Loeb (World Rally), Valentino Rossi (MotoGP) and Kyle Busch (NASCAR).

The 2010 SPEED Performer of the Year is selected by a panel including racing legends Andretti, Dan Gurney and Sir Stirling Moss, "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha, Ralph Sheheen and Leigh Diffey, writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder and a select group of SPEED motor sports producers.

 Former Mario Andretti Trophy winners and runner-ups:

*  2006 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR. Nicky Hayden, MotoGP 
*  2007 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Donny Schatz, WoO 
*  2008 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Tony Schumacher, NHRA 
*  2009 - Tony Schumacher, NHRA; Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR 

Nine additional "fan chosen" SPEED Performance Awards are open for voting at through Dec. 19, with winners being announced as part of a one-hour television special in February.

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