GLENDORA, Calif. -- NHRA POWERade Series world champions Tony Schumacher and John Force were named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Auto Racing All-America First Team.
Two selections were made by the members of the motorsports press association from each of seven categories - Drag Racing, Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At-Large - to complete the first team. The highest remaining vote-getters were eligible for the AARWBA second team and honorable mention team.
Top Alcohol Funny Car national champion Frank Manzo, who had 10 event wins - six national and four divisional - en route to his 10th Lucas Oil national championship, was an At-Large selection on the Second Team.
The driver receiving the most votes overall will be presented the prestigious Jerry Titus Award, recognizing AARWBA's Driver of the Year. Force, a 15-time AARWBA All-America selection with 14 first-team honors, is a four-time winner of the Jerry Titus Award (1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002) and both he and Schumacher have been named by AARWBA officials as contenders for this year's Titus Award along with Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Todd Bodine and Frank Kimmel (Touring Series).
Schumacher was in eighth place and 336 points out of first place after 10 events, but he proceeded to win five of the last 13 events to win the POWERade world championship by 14 points over Doug Kalitta. On the final pass of the 2006 season, he needed to win the Auto Club NHRA Finals and set a national e.t. record and he did with a winning pass of 4.428 seconds.
He set a single-season NHRA Top Fuel record for No. 1 qualifiers (13) and his five wins gave him 35 for his career, tied with Don Garlits for 11th most all-time in NHRA POWERade history (all categories) and fourth most all-time in Top Fuel.
The other drivers elected to the First Team were Sebastien Bourdais and Hornish Jr. (Open Wheel), Johnson and Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Jorg Bergmeister, Rinaldo Capello/Allan McNish and Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz (Road Racing, tie), Donny Schatz and Josh Wise (Short Track), Bodine and Kimmel (Touring Series) and J.R. Hildebrand and Travis Pastrana (At-Large).
AARWBA members have annually selected an All-America Auto Racing Team since 1970. Drivers selected to the team will be honored at the AARWBA banquet, held Jan. 13 in Indianapolis. The banquet is open to the public. For tickets or other information about the AARWBA banquet, call (818) 842-7005 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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