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Johnson honored as SPEED Performer of the Year

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2008) - Legendary racer Mario Andretti awarded two-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson his second consecutive Mario Andretti Trophy as the 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year, as part of last night’s second annual SPEED Performance Awards, hosted by Danica Patrick and Tommy Kendall.

Johnson earned six first-place votes from the 15-member panel after winning 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2007, including four in a row during the Chase.

“I’ve said it before, but Jimmie Johnson’s only flaw might be that he makes it look too easy,” said racer and SPEED Performer of the Year panelist Tommy Kendall.  “While he does have the best team in the business behind him, there is no one better right now at setting himself up for when it counts and then driving the wheels off it when they back the Brinks truck up to winners circle.  He is a standout in a series full of standouts.”

The SPEED Performance Awards will re-air Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. ET.

The Mario Andretti Trophy is a three-foot sculpture by renowned bronze artist Elie Hazak. It features eight cars, including six of the most important in Andretti’s rise to superstardom, as well as an array of artistic symbolism that captures the essence of the trophy’s namesake.  The trophy sums up Mario’s entire journey.  It encompasses all the significant chapters of his career.  It’s all represented – all the eras, major victories and championships. 

Earlier this year, SPEED announced that Andretti will be a voting member of the SPEED Performer of the Year panel, beginning with the 2008 award.

SPEED is the nation’s first and foremost cable television network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 78 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the fastest-growing sports cable networks in the country and, the home to NASCAR on SPEED and an industry leader in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services. For more information, please visit SPEEDtv.com, the online motor sports authority, which re-launched in new widescreen format on Feb. 6.