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SCHUMACHER NAMED DRIVER OF THE YEAR: NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher has been named the 2008 Driver of the Year. Schumacher had a dominating season behind the wheel of his U.S. Army dragster and becomes only the third NHRA driver to win the 42-year-old award, presented annually by the Driver of the Year Foundation.

Funny Car icon John Force won the award in 1996, and Pro Stock great Greg Anderson claimed the trophy in 2004. Other past winners have included racing greats Mario Andretti, who was the first winner in 1967, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Darrell Waltrip. Schumacher raced to 15 victories and won his fifth consecutive and sixth overall NHRA POWERade Series world championship crown during a record-breaking 2008 season. He was also named the Driver of the Year third-quarter winner. 

“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.”

A select panel of 18 journalists and broadcasters in the United States determine the award winner via secret ballot. The vote usually comes down to one or two drivers. This year proved to be particularly difficult for the panel, however. In the final tally, it was one of the closest votes in award history with Schumacher getting six votes, NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards each receiving five, with Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart, also from NASCAR, receiving one vote each.

“Usually one driver has a standout season, but this year there were a handful of guys who were all viable candidates for this award,” said Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation. Schumacher will be presented with a trophy and Tissot watch next April at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama.

FORCE HEADLINES SAE ENGINEERING ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS: NHRA legend John Force was awarded the MSEC Motorsports Achievement Award this past week at the eighth SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference (MSEC) in Charlotte. Force received the award for his work to establish The Eric Medlen Project, a project to design a safer race car and to create a safer competitive environment named for the late racer.

The award is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership or contribution to motorsports during an extended period of time. Force was also joined at the conference by Dr. John Melvin, a biomechanical research scientist who worked on the Eric Medlen Project in the beginning. The SAE Award recognizes organizations that have developed a product or process considered an outstanding contribution to state-of-the-art motorsports engineering.

SCHUMACHER, PEDREGON MAKE 2008 AUTO RACING ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM: NHRA POWERade Top Fuel and Funny Car champions Tony Schumacher and Cruz Pedregon topped the list of NHRA drivers selected for the 2008 All-America Racing Team. Both Schumacher and Pedregon were selected to the First Team and join such names as Open Wheel drivers Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon, Stock Car racers Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson and Touring Series drivers Justin Allgaier and Johnny Benson.

As well as being voted to the First Team, Schumacher is one of three former winners nominated for the Titus Award, which is given to the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of category. Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin, Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson and Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Frank Manzo were also nominated to the Second Team, with former Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson receiving honorable mention honors.

Just in time for the holidays, the "2008 NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship Year in Review" will make the perfect gift for the number-one NHRA fan in your family. All the drama, passion, heartbreak and excitement that were welded together into the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season can be experienced again with the "2008 NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship Year in Review."

This must-have documentary follows the battles for the four 2008 NHRA POWERade world championships from start to finish. Hosted by acclaimed NHRA announcer Bob Frey, the DVD will contain more than 90 minutes of in-depth interviews with drivers who had memorable moments during the season, as well as plenty of side-by-side racing action from all 24 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events.

Also included are special never-before-seen bonus features. The "2008 NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship Year in Review" DVD will deliver all the action you can handle at 300 mph.

Pre-order the "2008 NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship Year in Review" DVD for $19.99 (USD) in the United States and Canada plus shipping, handling and applicable taxes. The scheduled release date for the DVD is mid-December 2008 for the holiday season. Pre-order your copy today by visiting


RUNNING INTO AN OLD FRIEND…ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD: During a USO-sponsored tour of U.S. military installations in Kuwait and Germany, former Pro Stock world champion Jason Line met up with Rick Friday, an old friend who had served with Line at King Salmon, Alaska, when Line was stationed there during his stint in the Air Force. The two friends had not seen each other in nearly 18 years.

“This just once again defines how small the world is,” Line said. “To travel overseas and basically run into someone who I had served with in the Air Force what seems like eons ago was one of a number of highlights of a great experience.”


24: That’s the number of national events scheduled for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, beginning February 5–8, 2009, with the Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, and ending at the same historic Southern California dragstrip, November 12–15, 2009, with the Auto Club NHRA Finals, also at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California.


… that drag racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits will return to NHRA competition in 2009, but not with one of his iconic Top Fuelers. Garlits, a longtime Mopar devotee and racer, has purchased the first production Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicle and plans to race it in NHRA Division 2 competition. He is aiming to make it to the 2009 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to commemorate his 60th year in drag racing.