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Johnson wins 2010 Driver of the Year

CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 15, 2010)—Jimmie Johnson was voted the 2010 Driver of the Year by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists.

He’s now tied with Jeff Gordon as the only other four-time Driver of the Year. Mario Andretti, the first annual winner, and Darrell Waltrip are tied with three awards apiece. The honor is America’s original race driver’s award.

Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif., made NASCAR history this season with an unprecedented fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Johnson, the Driver of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2009, also won the first quarter 2010 Driver of the Year award.

Feted in Las Vegas at the NASCAR Annual Awards banquet before an enormous crowd of industry, media and fans, Johnson still was a little surprised when advised that he won the DOTY again.

“It’s an honor to win the award again,” Johnson said. “Among such tough competition; with the voting panel, who it is and how well versed they are in motorsports. It’s a huge, huge honor.”

“This year’s pre-vote teleconference was one of the most spirited debates that I can recall,” said Barry Schmoyer, Driver of the Year president.

Other drivers such as the NHRA’s Funny Car champion, John Force and Kyle Busch, who raced and won in NASCAR’s top three divisions, had their advocates.

“As many people have said already, it will be a long time before anyone will set the bar as high as Jimmie Johnson,” Schmoyer added.

Journalist and broadcasters, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver, gave Johnson 10 votes, Force - the 1996 DOTY winner - received seven votes, and Kyle Busch received one vote. 

In its 44th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the original award of its type that encompasses all of the racing series and all of the drivers in the United States. A panel of 20 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the United States are eligible to vote. Two votes were not tabulated this year.

Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch, which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later.