GLENDORA, Calif. --
Schumacher, from Chicago, had a dominating season behind the wheel of his U.S. Army dragster and becomes only the third NHRA driver to win the DRIVER OF THE YEAR award in its 42-year history. Funny Car icon John Force also won the prestigious award in 1996 and Pro Stock great Greg Anderson claimed the trophy in 2004. Other past winners have included such racing greats as Mario Andretti, who was the first winner in 1967, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Darrell Waltrip.
"What an honor it is to be singled out as the Driver of the Year for 2008," Schumacher said. "I'm happy that the NHRA is front and center again with this award. It's been a few years since Greg Anderson won it. Of course, John Force also won it in 1996. You can't forget the living legend himself.
"Needless to say, I wouldn't be receiving any post-season award without the talented team that surrounded me this past season. My crew chief, Alan Johnson, and the entire crew deserve all the credit in the world. There's no denying the fact that we had one of those dream seasons."
The DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique because a select panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are the only eligible voters via a secret ballot. The vote usually comes down to one or two drivers, however this year proved to be particularly difficult for the panel. In the final tally it was one of the closest votes in the history of the award, with Schumacher getting six votes, while NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards each received five votes. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart, also from NASCAR, received one vote each.
Schumacher will be presented with a trophy and Tissot wristwatch next April at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
Tom Compton Quote -Tony Schumacher Named Driver of the Year:
"It is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to the high level of commitment and teamwork showcased by Tony Schumacher and the entire U.S. Army team during the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season," said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. "It is a prestigious honor that only two other NHRA drivers - John Force and Greg Anderson - have previously won in the long history of the award. On behalf of NHRA and all of its competitors, we appreciate the media that recognized the outstanding accomplishments put together by Tony and the U.S. Army team against some extremely tough competition."
Tony Schumacher 2008 Accomplishments:
DRIVER OF THE YEAR winners:
2008 - Tony Schumacher 2007 - Jimmie Johnson 2006 - Jimmie Johnson 2005 - Tony Stewart 2004 - Greg Anderson 2003 - Ryan Newman 2002 - Cristiano da Matta 2001 - Jeff Gordon 2000 - Bobby Labonte 1999 - Dale Jarrett 1998 - Jeff Gordon 1997 - Jeff Gordon 1996 - John Force 1995 - Jeff Gordon 1994 - Dale Earnhardt 1993 - Nigel Mansell 1992 - Bobby Rahal 1991 - Michael Andretti 1990 - Al Unser Jr. 1989 - Emerson Fittipaldi 1988 - Bill Elliott 1987 - Dale Earnhardt 1986 - Bobby Rahall 1985 - Bill Elliott 1984 - Mario Andretti 1983 - Bobby Allison 1982 - Darrell Waltrip 1981 - Darrell Waltrip 1980 - Johnny Rutherford 1979 - Darrell Waltrip 1978 - Mario Andretti 1977 - Cale Yarborough 1976 - David Pearson 1975 - A.J. Foyt 1974 - Bobby Unser 1973 - David Pearson 1972 - Bobby Allison 1971 - Richard Petty 1970 - Al Unser 1969 - Lee Roy Yarbrough 1968 - Mark Donohue 1967 - Mario Andretti
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