Indianapolis, IN August 29, 2002--The staff and management of Los Angeles-based Car Craft Magazine, a member of the Primedia publishing family, this evening presented the 35th Anniversary All-Star Drag Racing Team as selected by the magazine's 400,000-plus readers. In addition to votes received from online balloting additional votes were received from the readers of NHRA's "National Dragster," IHRA's "Drag Review" and a special Selectors Panel made up of deserving racers, members of the aftermarket and media communities and racing officials.
"We were almost overwhelmed by this year's voter turnout," reported Car Craft Publisher Jim Adolph following the awards banquet at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in Indianapolis. "This was the second year we utilized internet balloting along with our traditional sources of votes, and we were very gratified at the number who responded. Each year the program seems to get just a little bit bigger in terms of voter participation, which works to everyone's advantage. In some respects I guess you could say that the greater number of voters, the more meaningful it becomes to be a part of the All-Star Drag Racing Team, because this isn't something you earn on the track. You're selected to the All-Star Team by your peer group and your fans, and that, to us, is really important."
In addition to 26 reader-determined driver, mechanic, builder and sponsor categories the staff of Car Craft Magazine determined the winner of the Person of the Year award, which was presented to Funny Car driver Gary Densham and his crew chief, Jimmy Prock for their accomplishments over the previous 12 months.
"Densham and Prock were the 'feel good' story of the year," Adolph said. "He's a former Southern California school teacher who's been racing for a long time. He's won four times in the last year, but more important than those wins were how they impacted the sport, and believe me, it was big. Gary's a popular driver, and Jimmy's obviously a very talented tuner, and from the audience reaction when their names were announced, we made the right choice."
The other major award selected by the publication's staff was the Ollie Award, emblematic of one's career-long contributions to the sport, with this year's winner, Ohio mail order magnate Jeg Coughlin, Sr., epitomizing the concept. For more than 30 years Coughlin has been a mainstay not only in the aftermarket, but in NHRA drag racing as well. A former competitor in the Top Fuel ranks, when Coughlin's personal driving career ended he fielded some of the sport's best in Funny Car and Pro Stock, finally turning the driving - and the day-to-day operation of the business -- over to his four sons, Mike, John, Troy and Jeg, Jr.
In honor of the All-Star Drag Racing Team's 35th Anniversary the staff of Car Craft also presented several Special Recognition awards. Three went to long-time supporters of the All-Star Drag Racing Team program, aftermarket giants Hooker Headers, Moroso Performance and Mr. Gasket/Hurst Corporation.
Two others were presented to individuals who'd been named to the All-Star Team numerous times during their illustrious careers: Don "The Snake" Prudhomme on his 40th Anniversary in drag racing, and to "The King of Speed," Kenny Bernstein, in recognition of his retirement after a stellar career as a driver. Finally, two new major sponsors entering the sport were recognized for their early contributions to NHRA drag racing. POWERade for their series sponsorship, and Lucas Oil Products for their having taken over the sponsorship of not only the NHRA sportsman series, but for their involvement with individual teams as well.
A complete list of the 35th Anniversary All-Star Drag Racing Team follows.
Top Fuel Driver Larry Dixon, Jr.
Top Fuel Crew Chief Dick LaHaie
Funny Car Driver John Force
Funny Car Crew Chief Austin Coil & Bernie Fedderly
Fuel Racing Chassis Builder Mckinney Corporation (Murf Mckinney)
Fuel Racing Sponsor Budweiser
Pro Stock Driver Warren Johnson
Pro Bike Rider Angelle Savoie
Pro Modified Driver Fred Hahn
Pro Racing Crew Chief George Bryce
Pro Racing Engine Builder & Sportsman Engine Builder Reher-Morrison Racing Engines (David Reher)
Professional Chassis Builder RJ Race Cars (Rick Jones)
Pro Racing Sponsor & Sportsman Racing Sponsor Summit Racing Equipment
Top Alcohol Dragster Driver Duane Shields
Top Alcohol Funny Car Driver Frank Manzo
Competition Driver David Rampy
Super Stock Driver Dan Fletcher
Stock Driver Monty Joe Bogan, Jr.
8.90 Sportsman Driver Rod Fuller
9.90 Sportsman Driver Scotty Richardson
10.90 Sportsman Driver Donald Webb
Sportsman Chassis Builder Worthy Race Cars (Ben Worthy)
Equipment Manufacturer Holley Performance
Automobile Manufacturer Pontiac
Persons Of The Year Gary Densham & Jimmy Prock
Ollie Award Jeg Coughlin, Sr.
Special Recognition Awards
Lucas Oil Products
For Additional Information, Contact Yolanda Cortez (323) 782-2324