Mario Andretti Joins SPEED Performer of the Year Voting Panel

icon Mario Andretti has agreed to join the nominating/voting panel for the
annual SPEED Performer of the Year, an award honoring the top performer in all
of motor sports each racing season. The winner earns the Mario Andretti Trophy,
created by bronze artist Elie Hazak.

“As long
as I can be the walking talking personification of this award, I’ll do it
proudly,” Andretti said. “I love watching young stars rise and achieve success.
I am honored SPEED would institutionalize those things that were unique about
my contribution to the sport and create a trophy bearing my name. I am full of
pride just looking at that trophy. It will be an absolute pleasure for me to
help them select a winner and I’ll do it with sincerity and enthusiasm.”

Andretti name is synonymous with racing excellence across multiple disciplines,
and we truly appreciate Mario’s desire to share his experience and passion in
building this award into one of the premier honors in all of motor sports,”
said SPEED President Hunter Nickell.”

joins a panel that includes “Wind Tunnel” host Dave Despain, veteran
broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Sheheen, writers Robin Miller and
Tom Jensen and versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder.

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was the inaugural winner of
the award last year and leads a diverse group of nominees for this year’s
trophy, including back-to-back World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion
Donny Schatz, AMA Supercross champ James Stewart, IndyCar Series champion Dario
Franchitti, four-time Champ Car World Series titlist Sebastien Bourdais, MotoGP
champ Casey Stoner, Formula One rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton, Grand-Am Rolex
Sports Car Series champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, USAC National Midget
Series champion Jerry Coons Jr., USAC sprint car driver Jon Stanbrough, F1
champion Kimi Raikkonen and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series runner-up Jeff Gordon. The
winner will be announced on the one-hour SPEED Performance Awards special on
SPEED in February along with the winners of the fan-voted SPEED Performance

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